Cheery cherry tomatoes.
We-ll. Apparently, a touch of moroseness doesn't go over well at all. It's too bad, because really, I'm not all sweetness and light all the time. It would be impossible, and then I'd be freakish like Sandra Lee, who actually scares me more than just a little bit. She's gotta be on something.
Anyway. We'll go back to food, as really, it's been ages since I've cooked though I've been all willy nilly posting pictures of food I've had at restaurants. I've not been very inspired to make anything, at least, not until I read The Amateur Gourmet's entry on Friday, which featured rigatoni with cherry tomato sauce. I've made this plenty of times before, and it's such a delightfully easy sauce to make. Plus, I suffer from massive lycopene cravings like all the time, but I refuse to buy tomatoes in the supermarket because I've been spoiled by lovely lovely summer heirloom tomatoes. Unfortunately, they're not *quite in season yet, so I've been suffering for a long time now. However, it's quite easy to make cherry tomatoes good, and I'm glad that I was reminded of it.
So after a rousing game of tennis - I hadn't played in six years, and not competitively since high school (save intramurals freshman year of college, and the only reason my partner and I got to the semifinals is that everyone defaulted on their matches), and I forgot how much I enjoyed it. Okay, not so much forgot but more it's damn hard trying to find tennis partners, for some reason. And I don't like playing on indoor courts - you toss the ball up to serve it, and you don't see sky! No, you see ugly ceiling! It's not right! So we had to wait until the weather was nice enough to play outside. Anyway, after a good game of tennis, where our new rule is, "play until you lose all the tennis balls", I decided to make this nice and easy dinner.
Pretty, aren't they? All round and red and plump. Erratically sweet, unfortunately. Not heirloom, sigh. I popped a couple into my mouth - one would be nice and sweet, another would be a little on the blah side. No matter. I was going to fix that. (Yes, I realise that they are grape tomatoes and not cherry ones, thereby rendering the title of this post a little bit irrelevant, but I suck at titling and cheery cherry sounds better than cheery grape.) Several good glugs of olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar, half a head of minced garlic, salt, pepper, and a nice stay in a hot oven later..
... And you have this. I can't even tell you how good the kitchen smelled. There's nothing like tomatoes and garlic, happily roasting away in the oven. From there, you throw in some pasta and basil (a small plug here for Dorot's frozen basil cubes, which you can pick up at Trader Joe's. Yes, I too prefer fresh basil, but whenever I buy it at the market I end up wasting too much of it, so until I start growing an herb garden in my new apartment, I'm using these frozen basil cubes which really make life so easy. They also have parsley and garlic at Trader Joe's, and they're infinitely useful for tossing in stir fries or pasta sauces)....
.. et voilà. Look at how pretty it is. The pasta became infused with all the extra oils and juice which was very nice. I accidentally left the tomatoes in the oven a touch too long, because, erm, someone wanted ice cream and there was none in the house, but that just served to brown their tops a little, adding a deeper roasted flavour.
So easy to make when you don't really feel like cooking! And it definitely satisfies all those tomato cravings. At least until I can get my hands on some good heirloom tomatoes. Mmmm. Growing heirloom tomatoes, incidentally, will not make me want to date you. Just pointing that out. But that's another story for another time.