Tag Archives: sun-dried tomatoes

Sun (oven) Dried Tomatoes

Every year, starting around the last week of August, we are awash in tomatoes.  Beefsteaks, Romas, cherry tomatoes, you name it.  We plant a little bit of everything.  And for at least a month I eat a tomato at every meal.  I make salsa.  I make soup.  I make spaghetti sauce.  I make my mom take some.  (She says our garden tomatoes are the best she’s ever had, by the way.)  I’m constantly looking for new recipes in which to use my bags and bags of tomatoes.

And before you ask – no, I don’t can.  Why?  Because at the moment I don’t have the time to add one more thing to my plate, nor the money to buy all the stuff to start up.  Next year.  Every year I say next year.  I’m also a little more than a little worried that I’ll do it wrong and accidentally poison my whole family…

So until I get over my fear, and find some time and some money, this is what I do to make sure my tomatoes don’t rot in my kitchen.

When you make sun dried tomatoes yourself they turn out sooooo much better than the ones you buy at the store.  I make mine “dry” now (like the ones in the bags, not the ones in the jars packed in oil).  You can do them drizzled with oil and stored in a jar in your fridge but they spoil faster that way.

I’m gonna preempt this next part by saying this is the kind of endeavor you want to take on over the weekend.  At least your first time through.  The time element is quite variable depending on the size of your tomatoes and your oven itself.

Take your clean tomatoes and remove any remaining stems.  I tried to group them by size but it’s not even slightly necessary that you do that.  Cut them in half lengthwise, season them with salt (and pepper if you like a little bite), and place on a cookie sheet cut side up in a 200 degree oven.

Leave them in there until they are dried but not hard – like a raisin – chewy, with just a little plumpness left in them.  Most of these ones were done when I took this shot.  Some were not.  I know this because I picked them up individually to test them.  This is one of those things that you really have to go by feel.  When you can pick them up and the bottoms are firm (not squooshy, not hard) they are ready to come out.  Don’t worry – the temperature is so low you’ve got some wiggle room on the time.

The time varies greatly depending on the size of your tomatoes and on your particular oven.   I think mine runs a little cool because it always takes my oven longer than I think it’s supposed to.  If you have full size Romas, like the size you might pick up in the grocery store, you probably want to put these in before you go to bed.  I’ve read this takes about five hours but my smallest ones probably took eight.  The bigger ones took more like 14 hours.  At least for your first time…check them every hour or so starting around five hours to be safe.   (Like I said – weekend project.)

And here they are all done!  Try not to eat them all at once.  I actually ate two right off this plate after taking this picture.  The flavor of sun dried tomatoes is so very different from a fresh tomato.  So much more concentrated.  Sweeter.  Almost candy-like.  You have to try them to understand.

Once your tomatoes are cool, simply put them in a ziplock bag and toss them in your cupboard.   You can use them wherever sun dried tomatoes are called for in recipes.  Use them in pesto.  Chop them up and mix them into mayo for a gourmet spread.  Put them out alongside some olives, some bocconcini, some prosciutto and you have a first class antipasto.  Add them to pasta sauce, serve them with eggs, in sandwiches, there are a million uses.  They make adorable crostini (recipe teaser!)  And you know I adore them on my Balsamic Steak Gorgonzola Pizza.

Give it a try, I promise, they’re amazing.
Enjoy!

Sun (oven) Dried Tomatoes

Roma tomatoes

Kosher Salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Clean and stem tomatoes.  Cut tomatoes in half and season with salt.

Put tomatoes cut-side up on a cookie sheet and dry in the oven until dried chewy like raisins, several hours at least.  Test for doneness by pinching between your fingers.  The bottoms should be supple but firm – not squooshy and not hard as a rock.

Allow to cool completely before sealing in ziplock bags.  Store like you would any other dried fruit in your cupboard.

Makes as many as you want.

2 Comments

Filed under Homemade Ingredients

Balsamic Steak Gorgonzola Pizza

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit this is one odd looking pizza.  Bear with me.

I’m starting to think if I ever get myself published in the way way distant future, it will be writing a pizza cookbook.  Just pizzas.  I have soooo many ideas.  Every week I am inspired with new ideas for specialty pizzas.  Not that probably all of them haven’t been done somewhere before…we are a pizza loving country after all.  But still…

This week’s pizza was inspired by my most favorite Olive Garden dish of all time – The Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo.  It’s fettuccine with Gorgonzola-laced Alfredo sauce, medium rare steak medallions, sun dried tomatoes, more crumbled Gorgonzola, finished with a drizzle of Balsamic Glaze.

(Insert Homer Simpson yummy food noise.  Haaaaauuuuuuuggghhh.)

We used to go to the Olive Garden fairly regularly years ago.  You know, before we had kids.  They actually have gluten free pasta options now so yay for the OG!  We would totally go more often if we ever went out to eat at all.  I’ve always loved it there… the breadsticks, the soups, the salad.  I’m not actually a huge pasta fan but there’s something there for everyone .

So anyway, if you know me you know I rarely order the same entree twice.  There is just so much gustatory wonderfulness to experience out there.  I am always  eager to try something new…except when it comes to the Olive Garden and this dish.  I have probably ordered it half a dozen times.  It’s just that good.

So why not make it into a pizza?  No reason – let’s go!

Let’s start out by rolling out our prepared dough on a sheet of parchment paper.  You can make it from scratch.  Or you can do it this way if you’re doing this GF.  Or you can pick up a ball of dough from the deli.  S’all good.

Onto our dough we are going to add this stuff – some of which I realize is not recognizable to anyone but me.  We’ve got half a sirloin steak, cooked medium rare (you do yours to your liking of course), garlic oil, Balsamic Glaze, some thinly sliced red onion, a wedge of Gorgonzola, a tub of pizza cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes.  (You can totally disregard that pumpkin which will probably be in the background of all my shots for the next two months.)

You still have garlic oil left over from the last time we made it, right???  I didn’t either.  But I was dying to make more so I did.  Just put 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes, and 4 sliced cloves of garlic over low heat until it’s bubbling.  Leave it bubbling for 10 minutes and set it aside to cool.

We’re gonna take about a quarter cup of that luxurious garlic oil and spread it all over our rolled/patted/stretched out dough.  Why not just use Alfredo sauce for the base?  Eh, because I didn’t want to.  Is that a good enough reason?

Next we’re gonna throw on some sun-dried tomatoes.  We’re putting them underneath everything else so as not to dry them out further in the oven.  Some of these I bought at the store.  Some I made myself from the 10 billion tomatoes I had in my garden over the summer.  Mine were way better.  Just sayin’.

On top of that we’re going to add 6 oz pizza cheese and the red onions.  You can use the whole 8 oz tub if you want.  I’m just a little neurotic about the “no more than 8 total ounces of cheese on my pizza” thing.  Now let’s slide our pizza onto a hot pizza stone/pan in our 450 degree pre-heated oven.

While the pizza is baking we’re going to slice our steak up as thinly as we can.  Just LOOK at that beautiful medium-rare goodness.  If we threw that in a super hot oven for 12 minutes our steak would turn into leather.  So we’re going to throw it on at the end.

Here is our pizza straight out of the oven!  But wait,  don’t turn off your oven just yet!  Now we’re gonna throw on the steak and the Gorgonzola.

Back into the oven for another 60 seconds.  No longer!  We just want our steak warmed, not further cooked.  Drizzle with the balsamic glaze to finish.  (I made my own glaze by reducing a whole bottle of balsamic vinegar on the stove down to half a cup.  You can also just buy a bottle of glaze at the store.  That’s what I’ve done for years.)

So many wonderful elements in this pizza.  The garlic and the balsamic, the Gorgonzola and the dried tomatoes.  And the STEAK.  Nom nom nom.  This pizza is a flavor powerhouse.

Enjoy!

Balsamic Steak Gorgonzola Pizza

1 lb ball prepared pizza dough (GF recipe here)

8 oz Sirlion Steak, cooked to your preferred doneness and sliced thinly

6 oz shredded pizza cheese (mozzarella/provolone)

1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes

2 oz Gorgonzola Cheese, crumbled

1 Tbsp Balsamic Glaze

Garlic Oil

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Instructions:

Prepare your pizza dough as directed (bringing to room temp first if it was in the fridge).

Make your garlic oil.  In a small saucepan, heat olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes over low heat until boiling.  Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.  Set aside until ready to use.

Place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees.  If using a non-stick pizza pan do the same thing but put it in upside down.  I don’t know why exactly but I’ve read that advice a million times.

On a sheet of parchment paper stretch or roll out your pizza dough to about 1/4″ thickness.  (Roughly the diameter of a large commercially baked pizza, about 12-14 inches across.)  If you’re using gluten free pizza dough you may want to go a little thicker as it does not rise nearly as much in the oven as a wheat-based dough will.

Spread garlic oil on dough, leaving a rim for the crust.

Top with pizza cheese, onions, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Carefully slide pizza onto your hot pizza stone, parchment paper and all (or onto your non-stick pan making sure you turn it right side up first).  Bake 12 minutes.

Remove pizza from oven and top with steak and Gorgonzola.  Put back in oven for 1 minute.

Drizzle with Balsamic glaze and serve.

Serves 8.

6 Comments

Filed under Main Dishes