Thursday, June 16, 2005

YoU SaY ToMaTo, I SaY ToHmAtO

Not sure if you all noticed but I love vegetables and another one to add to that long list of I must haves are tomatoes or tohmatoes, whichever way you want to call them. Besides eating them fresh, I love them roasted as they go soft and gooey inside.

Roasted tomatoes are really easy peasy and the best thing is all you do is chuck them in the oven and you can go do other stuff while it cooks down. All you need to do is some good quality tomatoes - cut in quarters, garlic cloves (left whole), some herbs (dried or fresh), salt and pepper. I love lots of garlic, they taste sweet after you roast them so I always chuck in a lot. Just toss all that in some olive oil and plonk them in your oven, at say gas mark 5/200C for about half and hour to 45 minutes depending on how cooked down you want them.

Once done, I squeezed the soft garlic out from the cloves then mash them up to make some kind of sauce. Toss the roasted tomatoes and mashed garlic into your cooked pasta (whichever shape you want - it's small spiralis for us this time round). Add the pasta water (water from the pot you boiled your pasta in) to toss to create some moisture. You can also drizzle some olive oil to loosen it up. Shred some basil leaves for additional flavour and grate lots of parmesan cheese over your pasta. The flavours are light and not so heavy compared to the normal tomato sauce.

Besides adding them to pasta, I also use roasted tomatoes in a variety of ways; crack in some eggs to cook at the last minute so they're soft and the centers are still runny - extremely yummy with some bread. For those who have eaten at those char chan teng (Hongkong style cafes) where they serve baked rice, I do my veggie version of it by putting roasted tomatoes on top of cooked rice, drizzle some barbeque sauce and then top it with cheddar cheese which is melted under the grill. The char chan teng places use mozzarella cheese which is more stringy but I don't like the taste so I use cheddar instead.

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