18 October 2011

The Roast of Tomato McPomodoro, esq.

Who doesn't love tomatoes (aside for those who are deathly allergic to them)? With over 7500 varieties, these chubby little red a55holes really seem to have latched onto our culinary apron strings* and permeated our digestible landscape like someone passing bad gas in an elevator, except it lasting 500 years.

Sometimes, I don't love them because 1) like rabbits, they multiply in such abundance during that short harvest period that you can't eat them fast enough, 2) there's only so much tomato sauce one can eat before imploding, and 3) you can't play Scrabble against them without making a mess.

[Oven-roasted tomatoes ready to eat.]

Luckily, you can roast these bastards down to size for later consumption through our barren winter months (though evidently, not barren of snowfall).

For three pounds (3-4 lbs) of fresh tomatoes (I used Romas as they are meatier and less juicy and because I had a buttload of them from the CSA basket, but you can use whatever you like —  adjust the roasting time).
  1. Clean them.
  2. Halve them lengthwise.
  3. Toss tomatoes with a generous spoonful of coarse salt, pepper,  +/- 3/4 cup of olive oil  as many cloves of garlic as you want (whole, or crushed or minced -- it doesn't matter cause the vampires won't come near them anyways).
  4. Spread them on parchment lined baking sheets with the cut side up (evaporates better). Drizzle with more olive oil. You will probably want to use parchment or aluminium foil because it's a biznatch to scrub clean otherwise.  
  5. Slow-roast them in the oven at 275F for about 2 hours or 300F for 1h45 or 225F for 4 hours —  it really depends on how patient and hungry you are, and how you like the tomatoes (burnt or less burnt).
  6. Once they're as done as you like it, let them cool, and then eat them. 
You can store them in jars and keeping them either frozen or storing them in the fridge (for up to a week, maybe two —  depends on how dry the fruits are).

* In the early 1500s, tomatoes (pomodoro) were introduced to Italy but used as Martha Stewareseque tabletop decoration because it was thought they were poisonous, and only the very poor Neapolitans ate them. Who's laughing now?

08 October 2011

Keeping vampires away -- with pizza!

So my other job as a vampire hunter, as you know, takes up a bit of my spare time.

And of the brazillion pizzerias in Montreal, ranging from upscale to substitute for cardboard weather-shields even hobos wouldn't even use, there are a number of places where a part-time vampire hunter like myself can kick back and refuel.

Take for instance one of the newer spots – Pizzeria Magpie – in our (now famously famous) Mile-End neighbourhood; their Bianca pizza is perfect for vampire hunters: roast garlic, bechamel, ham, fresh basil, parlsey, dill and coriander. A must for regular humans and vampire hunters alike! 

[Oh how this Bianca pizza warmed my cold, black heart.]

Here's a shortcut for roasting garlic in the privacy of your own vampire-hunter lair.
  1. Take a head of garlic.
  2. With a sharp knife, slice off the top without separating the cloves.
  3. Place it on aluminium foil and drizzle a moderate amount of olive oil over the head of garlic.
  4. Wrap up the aluminium foil and bake it in a toaster oven for 10-20 minutes (depending on size of oven).
  5. Remove from the toaster oven, open packet and let cool.
  6. Squish them out of the garlic sheaths. Eat them on toast, pizza, in sauces, pop them in your mouth, or store them in a tightly covered container, preferably covered in oil. 

[Roast garlic squeezed to perfection.]

As for Magpie, I'd head back when I'm feeling peckish for some tasty vampire-hunting fuel. as it is in the mid-range price-wise, and only AFTER I collect my fang-bounty.

BTW, here's my business card for anyone interested in vampire removal services:

Pizzeria Magpie