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Another year, another planting. It feels good to turn winter’s settled soil and plant spring seedlings for a summer harvest. Turning the soil mixes the nutrients and readies the ground for planting. For the boys and us, planting teaches the importance of sustainability and regenerating our mind, body and spirit.
Coach Snyder, the athletic and summer camp director at Turning Point (the boys’ school), shares our passion for games and gardening. He oversees Dirt to Dish, an organic, farm-fresh school snack program. And this year, with summer camp’s healthy snacks in mind, we planted crops that crawl (strawberries, cucumber and melons), crops that climb (sweet peas and raspberries), crops that burrow (carrots, radishes and onions), crops that thrive with sunshine (tomatoes) and others that appreciate a little shade (lettuces and herbs).
In this age of instant gratification, gardening is the opposite. It’ll take a few months and a bit of work to grow the seedlings into plants that mature enough to bear fruit. But in anticipation of a bumper crop, here’s a simple recipe for slow roasted tomatoes. They’re delicious in pasta, salads, on pizza or served warm on a round of crusty bread. Allow each person the pleasure of gently smashing their baked tomato on the bread, then drizzling with a fruity olive oil and naturally brewed soy sauce before devouring.
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Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic and Herbs
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves minced fresh garlic
1 pound small vine-ripened tomatoes, leave on the green stems if possible
4 to 8 slices of toasted French bread
Handful of fresh basil, oregano, thyme or your fresh garden herbs of choice
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Naturally brewed soy sauce, to taste
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add the olive oil and heat until rippling, add the garlic, stir and turn off the heat. Place the tomatoes in the skillet and bake in preheat oven for 20 to 25 minutes. The goal is to heat the tomatoes just enough to intensify the flavors, but maintain the shape of the tomatoes.
Carefully remove the tomatoes from the skillet and place one tomato onto each toast round. Spoon the garlic and olive oil from the skillet over the tomatoes and top with fresh herbs. Have cruets on the table of olive oil and soy sauce for each person to customize.
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