Sometimes, the simplicity and the earthiness is what makes a recipe special to me, not the long list of ingredients and complex steps to achieve the results. No doubt, traditional multi-tiered recipes have their merits, especially around holiday traditions and wintertime, but summers are for wholesome simplicity.
No one else in the household likes or appreciates tomatoes like I do. The youngest will quaff ketchup if I let him, the older child will turn up her dainty nose on all things tomato, and the other adult will accept adequate amounts of tomato sauce on pizza or pasta. Which leaves me as the sole consumer of copious amounts of all varieties of fresh tomatoes in season in the family.
Although this summer's heat wave didn't excite me to turn on the oven, the lure of roast tomatoes overpowered my disinclination.
Caramelized deeply thanks to balsamic vinegar and a sprinkling of brown sugar plus olive oil, this plate of roast tomatoes with fresh mozzarella pearls and home garden fennel and basil was my special treat, for no reason except to celebrate the start of the tomato season, in my mind.
And, since no one else cares for fresh tomatoes from the home garden, I decided to grow my snack tomatoes in the Upside Down Hanging Contraption that was popular a few years ago. I have some Yellow Pear, Sweet Cherry, and Grape tomatoes in there, plus some tomatillos just for the fun of it. They are barely surviving, but, am hoping they'll give me plenty to munch on over the next few weeks.
Any old recipe would do for roasting tomatoes, the thickness of slices might affect the results. My preferred method for this batch was to cut the vine tomatoes into quarter-inch thick slices, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, sprinkle some minced garlic, salt and brown sugar, spray some olive oil and roast in a 460 ° F oven.
Italian basil is flowering and going to seed already in my garden. Between fresh homemade pesto and adding it to tomato sauce and other recipes, it has been a sweet companion throughout. Basil, Fennel, Oregano, Mint, Rosemary and Lemongrass are the only herbs I use frequently as they are readily available in my backyard. The one plant I've always wanted but haven't had success so far is Curry Leaves (Murraya Keonigii). Maybe someday...