Friday, October 22, 2010
I finally got around to doing some canning a couple weekends ago. I was going to post about it last Friday, but I came down with an upper respiratory cold. Avery got it as well, but he wasn't as bad as myself and seems to be over it already. I, on the other hand, am still feeling under the weather, but I do seem a bit improved.
Anyhow, while the hubby was off bagging his first deer of the season, I spent the day canning applesauce and salsa with my oldest granddaughter, Harmony. She turned five this summer and started kindergarten in the fall. Harmony has been sitting on the counter helping "Nana" cook since everyone else thought she was too little and that I was crazy for having her up there next to the stove.
Cooking has to be one of the best ways to spend time with children...in my humble opinion. It's a universal language. You don't have to say much if you don't want to, but you can have fun together nonetheless. Each year I have the grands over to make chocolate bark. No matter their skill level or experience in the kitchen there is a task they can master or be in charge of, and it makes them feel so special. (Pictures of this year's gathering will be shared in December.)
I always enjoy a connection with the past when I am cooking. My most prized possession in my kitchen is my Great Grandma Sheldon's pepper grinder. So, borrowing my Grandma Sheldon's old sieve from my mom for the applesauce made the experience all the more special. Here I was sharing the old art of food preservation with my granddaughter while using my grandmother's old kitchen tool. Awesome!
Oh, I almost forgot! We also roasted tomatoes. Harmony is pretty proud when she gets to use a real, bona-fide, sharp knife, and "Nana" let her bask in the lime light that day. If you have never tried roasting tomatoes you just have to. It is SUPER simple, and they taste so amazing. We've plucked ours right off the pan and eaten them like candy, put them on sandwiches, and added them to spaghetti sauce and salsa. There are so many uses for them, and you can just throw them in the freezer. Here's the recipe if you'd like to give them a try:
A bunch of tomatoes, any variety
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Cracked Pepper
a bunch of garlic cloves
Preheat oven to 325
Arrange cut tomatoes in a single layer, skins down, on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Mince garlic and sprinkle over tomatoes being careful to let most of it drop directly on the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place in oven and cook for 2 1/2-3 hours, depending on the size of your tomatoes. It usually takes about 3 for romas that are halved. If you quarter them they'll get done a little faster. Keep an eye on them after about 2 -2 1/2 hours. Take a peek through the window. The juices will have dried up, and some of the tomatoes will start to get dark around the edges.
*Each time I roasted tomatoes I used Roma tomatoes cut in half.
I hope you enjoy making these tomatoes and getting creative with ways to incorporate them in your cooking. They freeze well and keep for a couple weeks in the refrigerator. Maybe you'll even find a little helper to share in the fun and make some of your own memories.