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dstr8

Slow roasted tomatoes

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Ok...going to our local farmer's market tomorrow for round 2 which will include added photos.  For now you'll just have to use your imagination :D

 

* Small to medium size Early Girl tomatoes cut in half longitudinally (from the stem down); I'm sure Roma's would work too...just need to be ripe and sweet

* KK heat soaked and idling at 200*F

* Metal heat deflector set on the middle rack

* Place the cut tomatoes cut side up on the upper large grate (mine's a 23"; adapt accordingly :))

* Slow roast/dry for 6-hours +/- and until the tomato halves have reduced in size by about 50% or so but still have some thick juice left; the juice will be syrupy thick.

 

I didn't want these smoked, which surely would be super great too, so I used a mix of hardwood lump (oak and hickory) and KK coco-char; clean tasting!

 

I did my first batch last weekend and they were so fantastic...they're gone :).   Sweet and unctuous!   In fact I think I'm going to try using them in homemade ice cream for something different.   I used them in a calzone this week and lettuce salads.  But this sky is only limited by your imagination.

 

Pics coming on Saturday.

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That sounds great. I smoked an aluminum pan full of tomatoes once and it was very good, but I've never tried coking them this long. I will have to try this soon with our garden harvest.

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I'm interested in trying this. How soft are they when done? I'd like to smoke enough to make it worthwhile, but I'm worried about storing them. How do you store them, and can they be stored one on top of the other or would they fall apart with the weight of another tomato on top? Any knowledge would be appreciated.<br />

<br />

Thanks!<br />

<br />

<br />

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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I've been doing these slow roasted tomatoes in the oven for a long time. It never occurred to me to do them on the KK and I'm anxious to try as soon as my tomatoes start coming in. I store them in a mason jar with olive oil, herbs and garlic and usually then cut them up to use them. If you want to keep them whole, they won't fall apart inasmuch as the texture is more like a sun dried tomato than a fresh tomato. They are delicious!! I also make a batch of tomato paste in the oven and freeze it in small packages, which is likewise a slow roast. I think I'll try that on the KK as well for an extra burst of summer flavors during the freezing winter months. Thanks for the great ideas, Dan!!  

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I'm interested in trying this. How soft are they when done? I'd like to smoke enough to make it worthwhile, but I'm worried about storing them. How do you store them, and can they be stored one on top of the other or would they fall apart with the weight of another tomato on top? Any knowledge would be appreciated.<br />

<br />

Thanks!<br />

<br />

<br />

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

 

I like them dried until the juice is congealed but not completely dried out.  I freeze them single layer on top of a parchment lined baking sheet.  Then once they're frozen solid I vacuum seal them in bags, again, single layer for easy removal of how many I later need to use.  

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Its a great way to put the heat soaked KK and remaining hot coals to further use after a previous cooking session.  And given its on the downslope it just hums along at 175-200*F!

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I started out literally following Tom Colichio's recipe from "Think Like a Chef" (more or less same as http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/roasted-tomatoes-and-garlic ) then went through a phase where we roasted in a giant cazuela in our KK-predecessor. Eventually we settled down to processing 80-120 lbs of tomatoes per year in a dehydrator (two stacks of eight trays each, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000CEM3WM, lined with fruit roll trays http://www.amazon.com/Nesco-LSS-2-6-FD-28JX-FD-61WHC-FD-75PR/dp/B00004W4V9/ smeared with olive oil).

 

We haven't opened a can of tomatoes in about a decade. I'll admit I'm fussy, but I have a gag reaction when I taste canned tomatoes in a $60 restaurant meal, which is one reason we don't eat out much. Canned tomatoes, even the $6 cans from Italy, are atrocious compared to home "roasted" tomatoes. I'm not even a fan of home canning, which made sense before chest freezers but not now.

 

My advice here: Go as fancy as you like, as long as you have the patience to put up your entire tomato supply for the year. Doing something precious for 10% of your supply, and eating out of cans for the other 90% of your supply, doesn't make sense. We were driven back to simplifying our procedure so we could process 25 lbs at a time with minimal effort.

 

Our procedure: Bring a giant pot of water to a boil. Wash tomatoes, blanch in batches 40-60 seconds and cool, to loosen skins. Cool. Skin and core, slice into uniform slices and place loosely (leaving airflow) on dehydrator trays. Salt lightly, e.g. 1/2 tsp per tray. Dry to taste, press into a bowl to stabilize juices. Weigh 225g or so into small vacuum chamber bags, seal with $30 impulse sealer by burping out air. Freeze in chest freezer for year.

 

We aim for a 4:1 reduction, so two pounds of tomatoes yields one packet, ideal for many sauces over a pound of fresh noodles (we grind our own flour for this, our most common dinner including tonight). By feel these are "gooshy" but not dry, and will release juice to just cover, after pressing into a bowl before making packets.

 

This process improves tomato flavor, just as drying other foods such as mushrooms intensifies flavors. Some years we just don't like how fresh tomato salads taste, but these partly dried tomatoes are still excellent. Concentrating fresh tomatoes by cooking down in a sauce is an entirely different effect, and not as good.

 

I'm baffled that I don't know of restaurants that lay in a year's supply this way, selling off the excess e.g. at Eataly. This is such an easy way to gain a dramatic advantage in one's cooking.

 

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I'm with you on anything tomato in a can.  I grew up with a large garden in our backyard...all day canning sessions for tomatoes, fruit, etc.  Nothing you can buy compares.

 

I have the same problem with canned roasted chile peppers...they all suck (jarred or can, same difference, because of the need to increase acidity for roasted canned peppers...)...something else I do in batches and use the deep freeze.

 

And ditto on most restaurant experiences!

 

Amazing the sacrifices "we" make for convenience ;)

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I'm a little slow today. Not getting the "pressing in a bowl to stabilize juices" part??

 

Hey Syz, I'm not that hardcore, man. I'll make my own pasta, but grinding the flour, too? Serious! Have the technology (Vitamix dry blades), but have only made rice flour in it so far (for tempura). Think I'll stick to my King Arthur pasta flour for the time being.

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"pressing in a bowl to stabilize juices" part??

 

Have the technology (Vitamix dry blades), but have only made rice flour in it so far (for tempura).

 

Some pieces of tomato will dry more than others, despite best efforts. Pressing into a bowl and storing in the fridge overnight puts off the work of packaging till more convenient, and allows the wetter pieces to moisten the drier pieces. If one presses hard into the bowl, enough juice will form to nearly cover contents. This is a good rule of thumb if one hasn't weighed before and after, to judge a roughly 4:1 reduction.

 

I own a Vitamix which is ideal for grinding rub ingredients, and I've owned other primitive grain mills. We settled on the Wolfgang Mock grain mill which uses millstones, and produces fresh flours of a similar consistency (after sieving out bran) to what one buys. There are two analogies here with coffee mills. First, many people use blade grinders (think: VitaMix) for coffee but others strongly prefer a good burr grinder (think: Mock), and for some applications such as espresso one is forced to use the better technology. Second, many people think nothing of grinding coffee beans fresh each morning because it is a drug. Grinding flour is no more work with the right equipment, one just doesn't have the drug-induced motivation.

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Syzygies: Understanding that there are  many variables that effect the outcome, roughly how long and at what temperature do you dry the tomatoes in the dehydrator to get the 4:1 reduction?  

                                                                                                                                                        Susan

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We have found no advantage to temperatures lower than max'ing out the dial on the dehydrator. Variables include slice sizes, spacing for airflow, and salt (be uniform in every possible way, or tend more frequently, pulling some pieces early).

 

Think eight hours, perhaps fewer or more. We manage to go to a morning farmer's market, and have completed tomatoes in the bowl in the fridge before bedtime.

 

The fruit roll liners simplify cleanup (and prying off overly dry fruit) but aren't strictly necessary. We soak the trays outdoors in one of those blue barrels you'd see filled with beer and ice at a large party, then hose them off onto the lawn, at which point they look basically clean but generally get a ride in the dishwasher. I've also managed to clean them indoors in a NYC apartment, fussier work but not out of reach.

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Now I get the "stabilize juices" part. Makes excellent sense.

 

While I grind my coffee every morning (burr grinder), because there is a noticeable difference in flavor, not sure that I'm ready to go that far yet for flour. Partly because I have coffee every morning, but don't bake bread or make pasta every day - a few times a month, maybe. Is there really a taste difference between good commercial (King Arthur) and home ground? Plus, is sourcing the grain hard? I'm a homebrewer and can get lots of different grains, but they aren't what you'd make most flours out of, for example, barley.

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Funny you mention homebrewing. We're so near the distribution center for http://morebeer.com/ that I stop in for odds and ends. Last time, I bought some malt, and I've been using 3% in my sourdough breads, including today. Too much has a strange effect on the dough, but a bit adds a wonderful aroma.

 

In cooking, it can be hard to sense a 6% difference, but compounding a dozen 6% differences is doubling, which one can sense. I'd say we live for the days we can get anything to come out twice as good as before; those days are rare.

 

Roasting or drying one's own tomatoes is by itself a doubling, over opening any can I've ever tasted. Laurie and I frequently debate what we'd keep if we could save exactly one kitchen quirk we've picked up over the years. The answer is always the same: We'd keep our tomatoes, and buy flour. We have other quirks (easy, now!) but none in contention with these two.

 

Nevertheless, home ground flour is dramatically different from what one can buy. One is buying e.g. organic hard red winter wheat berries at a health food store (just don't look at the aisle after aisle of homeotoxins and the crackpots buying them, on the way back to the bulk bins) and grinding the whole berry, then sieving out the bran. Any bought flour is a carefully constructed product involving aged components of grain, none of which can easily spoil. There is a parallel here between freshly squeezed orange juice, and a supermarket carton of orange juice.

 

Our flour smells alive in ways that bought flour does not; the most likely suspect here is the germ, whose oils are both great for health and flavor, and go rancid in days. To understand commercial flour, consider a subject in which one is an expert, and think of the gulf between a lay understanding of the processes involved, and the understanding one obtains after putting the proverbial 10,000 hours. Commercial flour is easily this involved; there are 600 page PDF treatises online that I've glanced at, trying to solve individual problems.

 

One individual problem is that bought flour is aged, while home ground flour cannot be similarly aged without going rancid. This affects bread doughs; "green" flours lead to flattened "flying saucer" loaves because the glutens fail to develop properly. The easiest workaround is to add on the order of 40 parts per million ascorbic acid, which has a marked effect on the dough. (This isn't far off from a person taking a typical pill, which is why I'm never doing that again!) One accomplishes this by mixing a 20:1 reduction with white flour, taking that mixture and making another 20:1 reduction to obtain a 440:1 dilution. (Check: (20+1)^2 = 441.) I used 15 grams of such a mixture in today's bread dough. 

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^ very interesting Syzygies!   The difference in fresh vs commercial "prepared" flour makes sense (now)...thanks for posting this up!

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So, Syz, when you gonna start making your own brews? Great hobby! Being doing it steadily for over 10 years now, but I brewed my first batch back in 1980, right after Jimmy Carter signed the bill making it legal again! It was a kit from an ad on the back page of the Parade magazine. I still have the plastic tub from that kit! In contrast, my contractor is coming over tomorrow with the plumber to give me a final estimate on building a dedicated brew room in my basement. Once that's built, I'll probably double my brewing output and will likely up my game from partial mash to full grain mash brewing.

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Its that time of year again...my Two-Three is sitting at 175ºF and the tomatoes are getting heat and a light smoke kiss from the lump oak.   

 

 

IMG_3455.JPG

Edited by dstr8
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