I had a hard day the other day. One of those days when I’m hurt, feeling a little less than usual, unseen and like there was a scarcity to joy in general.
Oh yea… it was ugly.
I couldn’t really shake it. My state was one of those things that you just have to let run it’s course. Grieving something can be that way, and although sometimes just sitting around is all one can do, I needed something to engage in that wasn’t so much a distraction, but a pathway *through*.
In my kitchen I had a plethora of grape and cherry tomatoes that needed attention.
Rather than trying to push this aside, I took my world of emo woe ( I’m telling you… it was ridiculous ) with me into the temple of my kitchen. It was my offering of truth. I was battered emotionally and still I must sustain myself, my man.. out bodies and worlds.
It’s at times like this that the simple act of returning to the heart of our basic nourishment actually nourishes us heart and soul. On an instinctual level, I knew this.
It wasn’t about walking in distracted, it was about walking in stripped bare. From this place my prayer can only be, “I’m open to be fed.” It’s actually not even that conscious of a prayer anymore… like muscle memory, the soul knows where to turn when all else falters.
There is a raw succulent beauty to food in its whole form. The tomatoes were plenty. The color lit up the room. Every time I sliced into one of them the juices seeped out all over the cutting board. Then scent made my mouth water. I had garlic, rosemary, thyme, and of course the tomatoes.
So, surrendered to the sanctuary of my kitchen, I was enraptured sensually and it was a soothing balm for my heart bruises.
All I had to do was be present in the small tasks of slicing, stripping herbs, mixing them all together by hand. The time passed and all I had was the simple rhythm and the sensory gift. It was a meditation. After some time, having fallen fully into to the task at hand it all sang to me in low loving whispers:
There is abundance, there is joy, your soul and body will always be sustained.
When I was done and the tomatoes were in the oven, was it all solved and gone? No. But I left my kitchen buoyed by gratitude and enough of a shift in spirit that I knew in my bones, I’d be moving out at the other end of it all just fine.
Oven Dried Tomatoes
This recipe is simply a note on what I did. The amounts are entirely up to you, and as long as you keep to the temperature of the oven and the timing, you can actually add whatever you want to your tomatoes and make as little or as much as you want. These end up being roasted, partially dehydrated and packed with amazing flavor that you can then add to so many dishes.
- 78 Grape and Cherry Tomatoes, organic from the CSA, sliced in half
- Bundle of fresh Thyme, leaves stripped, keeping a few of the more tender branches
- 5 long sprigs of fresh Rosemary, stripped
- 5 minced cloves of Garlic
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, generous drizzles
- Dried Oregano sprinkled over the mixture, lightly and to taste
1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
2. Mix all the ingredients and spread out on cookie sheets. Make sure all tomatoes are slice side up
3. Place in oven for 2 hours and then begin checking to see how they are doing. Depending on tomato size and oven temperature, they might need a bit more time. Monitor, see how they are fairing. You want them to be half dehydrated, but still containing those now concentrated juices.
4. Pull out of the oven, set aside to cool
5. Store in a Mason Jar or a Hermetic Jar by place all the contents of your cookie sheets in the jar and then filling with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to preserve.
6. VERY IMPORTANT!!! This is not a canning process. Your tomatoes will keep in oil for a few weeks, but I wouldn’t keep them longer than that. Refrigerate.
Can be used in pizzas, salads, pasta dishes, appetizers, spreads and anything else you can imagine. They flavor is… amazing.
Ashley Bee says
I hope whatever you’re going through passes soon and leaves you with a sense of strength. Cooking always helps me, too.
Elena Rego says
Thank you Ashley. It passed, as all things do, but it was so soothing having this to turn to in order remain present.