I’m writing this from Croatia where my food photography workshop is in full swing. Everything here has been wonderful so far, (and I’ll write more about all the details later), but one thing that has stuck out above all others is the beauty of the fall season here. The oak trees are laden with green unripe acorns, the leaves on the trees and shrubs are in the in-between-phrase where streaks of gold and crimson can be seen on the forest green leaves, and the thunder storms roll in at night, making you curl up tightly in your warm bed and listen to the cracks and whooshes of the clouds tucked safely away inside. It is the ultimate autumn.
Before I left, I put together a little fall harvest party to have some friends help me pick the last of the produce from my garden. You don’t need to have a garden to have a harvest party, though, and can just buy a bunch of the last of the summer goodies from your farmer’s market or from the grocery store. The point is to enjoy the last flavors of the wonderfully huge and wide-ranging bounty of summer fruits and veggies. I made a bunch of dips and spreads from the garden to enjoy during the festivities and used my tasty Naturebox snacks as the dipping vehicles. There’s one spread I’ve been making all summer long and freezing in little resealable baggies because I can’t bear the thought of having 6 more months without it, and that’s roasted tomato butter. I paired this with Naturebox’s asiago and cheddar cheese crisps, Italian bistro pretzels, and garden tomato crunches for a little meditteranean vibe. The garden-fresh dips and spreads worked perfectly with these crunchy little delights, since Naturebox had simpler more wholesome ingredients that pair really well with the delicious magic of roasted tomato butter. They have a ton of other absurdly tasty snacks, too, that make for perfect fall gathering appetizers. I’m also a huge fan of the pumpkin spice nom noms, mini cocoa Belgian waffles, and gingersnap cookies. There’s hundreds of snacks to choose from, so you can really get really creative with the different combinations of flavor pairings.
So, what is this magical tomato concoction? I’ll tell you! You basically just cut roma or cherry tomatoes in half, drizzle them with olive oil, roast them at a low heat until they shrink to about half the size and give up their moisture, and then puree these concentrated discs of tangy tomato flavor into a smooth and spreadable butter. I’ve been putting it on sandwiches instead of mustard, I’ve been using it as a dip for chips and crackers, and I’ve found that it also makes a realllly flavorful tomato paste substitute in recipes that call for tomato paste. But sometimes I just eat it with a spoon as a snack because it is that good. I’ll be sad to have to wait until next to make more of it, but luckily I have a whole freezer out in the garage with little baggies full of the stuff to get me through the dark days of winter that lay ahead. For now I will just long for it here on the other side of the world while I enjoy the beginnings of fall 🙂
This post was sponsored by NatureBox, but all thoughts and opinions are my own, per usual! 🙂
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place them on a baking sheet, inside facing up. Rub the exposed interior with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Place the pan in the oven and roast until they have reduced by half in size and are a deep dark red (about 40 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the romas). Remove and allow to cool for 20 minutes before placing the tomatoes in a food processor or blender and blending at a high speed until a smooth thick paste forms. Scoop it out into a bowl, cover, and keep refrigerated when not in use. Can be used as a dip, condiment, and as a substitute for tomato paste.