Tomatoes for roasting? $4. Getting hounded into coming home with 36 eggs when 18 is more than enough? Priceless.
I typically have very little in my refrigerator because things tend to spoil faster than I can get to them, and I usually just buy what I'm actually going to use over the course of a week. This totally freaks my mom out whenever she comes up for a visit. She doesn't understand what life is on the daily without having to spend 25 minutes trying to cram that 7th package of cream cheese in somewhere. Maybe if I stack the milk on top of that casserole, or if I can shove the 5 pound block of cheddar in the freezer... Yeah, that's not how it is at my place.
Something I make a lot of is oven-roasted tomatoes, because they're easy and delicious with practically everything, especially my favorite panino sandwich. I hit the grocery store over the weekend and found hothouse tomatoes on sale: $1/pound. I got about 4 pounds because at that price, you can roast up a ton and then freeze what you won't use in the short term. Another thing on my list was a carton of eggs. Instead of a dozen, I got a carton of 18 because I needed several for a recipe I was making for a friend's party.
So, I was going through the checkout line when the older woman behind me asks, "Whatcha gonna make with all those tomatoes?", to which I recounted the simple roasting recipe. She gave me an approving little nod just about the time the checker ran the eggs through the scanner and told me that the cartons of 18 eggs were buy one, get one free; and did I want to go ahead and get the 2nd (free) carton. I didn't realize they were on sale, but regardless I have no need for 36 eggs. Even if I decided to make multiple cakes for friends and neighbors, that is just too many to have on hand. I could see myself late one night, thinking of the extra eggs going to waste, and would probably end up boiling them all and eating way too many deviled eggs over a very short time span and then never wanting to see another deviled egg as long as I lived; which brought me to the conclusion that if I ever felt that way about deviled eggs there would be no point to go on living.
I politely declined the checker's offer to get the additional 18 eggs and immediately felt the weight of disapproval coming from the tomato lady behind me. Then I heard someone further back in the line yell, "Girl, you better get those eggs! They're FREE! What's the matter with you? You're spending all that money on tomatoes and then go and turn down FREE eggs? Girl, you're a foodist."
I think she meant that in a bad way.
House of Jules Roasted Tomatoes:
4 tomatoes, sliced 1/4" thick
1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line a baking tray with foil and very lightly coat with olive oil before placing sliced tomatoes down. Keep in mind that overlapped tomatoes will take longer to roast, so spread them out as much as you can. Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle or spoon 1/2 of the balsamic vinegar over tomatoes. It won't seem like enough, but you want the tomatoes to roast, so don't use more vinegar than the recipe calls for. Bake for 30 minutes, then drizzle the remaining vinegar over tomatoes, cooking for an additional 30-45 minutes, checking on them several times along the way. Transfer to a bowl and keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. These are great on salads, in omelets, by themselves and especially on my favorite panini (see below), though to be honest you could probably put them on an old leather shoe and it would taste great (I have not actually tried that, though). This recipe, which makes approximately 2 cups of roasted tomatoes, can be doubled (tripled even!) and you can freeze what you won't use in the short term.
Cafe Ino's Americano Panini:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
4 ciabatta rolls
16 slices oven-roasted tomatoes
1 cup baby arugula leaves, roughly chopped into 1/2" strips
4 oz. asiago cheese, (usually found at the specialty cheese counter) thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler (that's my little trick!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash and pat dry (that step is really important!) chicken breasts. Place on a foil-lined baking tray. Rub each with a teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Bake for 15-18 minutes until opaque and firm to the touch. Slicing across the breast, cut chicken into 1/8" slices. Preheat panini grill (if you don't have a panini grill, you can use whatever pan you make grilled cheeses in, with an additional plate or pan weighed down with a couple of heavy cans for the top part of your home-rigged 'press'). Slice off the rounded part of the tops of the ciabatta rolls. Rolls should now be about 1" thick. Split horizontally. Cover the bottom halves of the rolls with an even layer of sliced chicken. Follow with a layer of oven-roasted tomatoes. Season with salt & pepper before adding the chopped arugula. Give each a squeeze of lemon juice and top with a layer of thin asiago slices. Cover with the top of the ciabatta roll and place, two at a time, in the preheated grill with the lid on top. They are done when you can smell the cheese, about 3 minutes.