Baked Tomatoes and herbs for Tomatoe Confit

If you were visiting here at the settlement yesterday you would have heard the sounds of children laughing, sweet music playing and smelled the aroma of Tomatoes cooking.

We had several events happening at the same time, our outreach department had their annual Back To School Blast, the children had a blast playing on the slip and slide,winning at games, eating cotton candy, and receiving new backpacks and school supplies. While the children were having fun , their parents were given the opportunity to take part in Grow Appalachia’s latest class presented by Kristin Smith from the Whitley County Extension Office. The class was titled, “Preserving the taste of Summer”.  Kristin brought several different kinds of  HeirloomTomatoes for the participants to try,
she brought, Black Cherry, Sungold, Lightbulb, and Cherry Midget tomatoes.
Some of the tomatoes were especially juicey, as I found out when I bit into one and juice squirted all over me and the four year old standing in front of me. OH BOY!, I thought I was in trouble with the four year old but he just looked at me and started laughing.

Herbs used in the Tomatoes Confit and  Pesto
Some of the class

June, Jill and Sarah help Kristin

Helping to make Tomatoes Confit
Trying different types of Tommy Toes 
Kristin sharing Tomatoes

1.Start with 2 pounds of tomatoes (Heirloom are best!).
2.Wash and dry them, then slice them in half. Pour enough decent quality olive oil in the baking dish so that it just covers the bottom of the dish, somewhere between 1/4 cup and 1/3 cup.
3. Sprinkle in coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper, add a few branches of thyme and /or a few sprigs of rosemary. Then line the bottom of the baking dish with the tomatoes, slicedside down. Don’t be bashful; it’s ok to really pack them in.
4. Peel and slice 3 or 4 garlic cloves, slice them in half lengthwise and tuck them between tomatoes. Springle the tomatoes with a bit moe salt and a small sprinkling of sugar (less than 1 teaspoon) and add a few bay leaves.
5. Bake the tomatoes in a 350 degree oven until they are soft and cooked throughout (a paring knife should pierce them easily), which should take at least 45 min.
6. Once they’re soft, remove, remove them from the oven and let stand until room temperature. You can scrape the tomatoes and jucies and herbs into a container and refrigerate them for up to 4 or 5 days or use them right away. They will actually improve as they sit.
7.Use them to toss into pasta, slightly chopped, pizza or to start a tomatoe sauce.