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IMG_3415Last night’s garden harvest!

I looove roasted tomatoes. The fire-roasted tomatoes take tortilla soup to a whole new level with their smoky sweetness. We’re still harvesting several pounds of tomatoes from our garden every day – IN OCTOBER! I am finding all sorts of crazy things to do with them because I haven’t had time for much canning (or cooking for that matter) lately. It doesn’t get much easier than roasting the tomatoes, and, trust me, roasted tomatoes are much richer tasting than their non-roasted counterparts, especially for the soup and stew months ahead. So use this little trick to make some roasted tomatoes of your own.
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Oven-roasted tomatoes
Adapted from Food in Jars

Ingredients

Tomatoes of any variety – I have used this method with cherry tomatoes, Romas, heirloom varieties; all of which have turned out beautifully
A generous amount of olive oil
Fresh herbs of your choice (basil would be obvious here, but anything works. I also used a jalapeno for one batch that I’ll plan to use in chili)
Salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. If using cherry tomatoes, just throw them in a glass baking dish. If you’re using a larger tomato, slice (or dice them – your preference) the tomatoes and lay them out in a glass baking dish. Dice or shred the herbs or peppers, and throw them in the baking dish. Pour the olive oil generously over the tomatoes (you want all of the tomatoes to be doused in olive oil) and salt and pepper. Put in the oven for 4-6 hours*. I’ve been doing these after dinner, so I usually put them in for two hours. Check on things, stir them around, put them in for another two hours. And then turn off the oven and let the tomatoes set in the warm oven overnight. Then I pack them into freezer-safe glass jars in the morning and throw them in the freezer. The whole process takes about 12 minutes of hands-on time, less if you’re using cherry tomatoes.

*Tip: the juicier tomatoes may take longer. You want to let them go until they begin to brown up just a bit like the ones in the picture.

 

 

We had lots of people come up to be a part of the new community garden by helping us build a shed out at the garden for the 2013 Weekend of Service. We were blessed with a perfect day and plenty of flexible, construction-savvy volunteers. As I told everyone during the morning’s briefing, this shed is the start of something big at Grace. We will look back on October 13th as a turning point in our efforts to connect our people with where their food comes from. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for next year’s garden!

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I apologize for my absence here – it has been a crazy and exciting few weeks. Last week, our creation care ministry was approved as a Partner of Grace Church, which is a tremendous vote of confidence in our new ministry and opens many, many doors for us going forward. Then last weekend was our Weekend of Service, in which we had over 400 people participating in caring for creation around central Indiana. Over the weekend and in the days since, I have felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for what God is doing at Grace and beyond when it comes to His command to us to care for His creation. I thought this poem of Wendell’s was appropriate:

Learn by little the desire for all things
which perhaps is not desire at all
but undying love which perhaps
is not love at all but gratitude
for the being of all things which
perhaps is not gratitude at all
but the maker’s joy in what is made,
the joy in which we come to rest.
Wendell Berry, Leavings

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