If you happen to be stuck indoors because a Polar Vortex has descended and it's seven degrees outside, and your garage door breaks so you can’t leave the house until the repair guys come, and school just announced a 2-hour delay, making it futile to bring your kids to school for the remaining 15 minutes, then I have a great activity for you to try.

Make your own sun dried tomatoes! Besides tomatoes, a little oil and salt, all this requires is that you are home for four or five hours while they bake in the oven. Your reward will be a batch of the sweetest, tangiest, tomatoes which will taste 100% better than the leathery store-bought ones. Trust me, these are definitely worth the effort.

And hopefully by the time the tomatoes are done the temperature will have risen to at least two digits. The kids will still be home from school for the day but thinking about all the mouth-watering dishes you can add these tomatoes to will surely boost your spirits. Okay, that’s a stretch, but since the garage door will certainly be fixed at least you can get out of the house!

How To Make Your Own Sun-Dried Tomatoes

2 lbs of Campari or plum tomatoes

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt 

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice tomatoes in half and toss with the olive oil.

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Spread them out cut side up on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and place in oven.

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Bake until the tomatoes are slightly charred, at least 4 hours. If you have more time, you can bake these even longer but I prefer to have a little juiciness left to them.

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Tomatoes can be refrigerated for up to two weeks. Store them in a glass container and add some more olive oil. They are great tossed in a salad and the tomato infused oil can be used to make salad dressing.

Now that you have invested all this time in these beautiful, flavorful tomatoes, here is a great recipe to make using them:

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Ingredients

1-cup sun-dried tomatoes (see above)

1/2-cup fresh basil leaves

1/4-cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1/4-cup blanched slivered almonds

1 clove garlic

1/4-cup olive oil

Squeeze of fresh lemon (optional)

Salt & pepper

Note: Pine nuts are traditionally used in a pesto but are very expensive. Almonds are a great substitute and give this pesto a slightly crunchy texture.

In a food processor, blend the tomatoes, basil, Parmesan cheese, almonds and garlic to a chunky paste. Scrape down sides; add olive oil, lemon and salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until oil is blended.

Serve with chips or toss with some fresh pasta. Enjoy!

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And the VERDICT is: 

Matthew (age 6): “It’s just too much of one flavor…”

Liam (age 4): “I like the chips!”

Dylan (age 4): “I will only lick it once”

This might be a better sell with the girls in our weekly Mah Jongg game. But at least I got one taste and a lick!

Views: 11

Tags: Sun-dried, pesto, tomato

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Comment by Elaine S on January 31, 2014 at 6:09pm

Love getting comments like these! Thanks so much for reading - hope you enjoy the recipe!

Comment by Janice Perry on January 31, 2014 at 11:53am

I am inspired! I am definitely making these.

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