Deep vacation mode. Conversations and meals with lots of friends and family, most restorative thing I know, plus tasty food when hungry, long walks, naps, good books, what more could a woman want?

Tonight, while putting away groceries for next week’s day care crowd, before a late night walk to the bank to deposit tuition, and a return to get the fall schedules and tuition and contracts in order, I’m roasting tomatoes. It’s hot and muggy, and a four hundred degree oven may not be what the doctor ordered, but it’s vacation and the tomatoes are in their peak and my friend the hostess and gardener extraordinaire has given me directions for roasting which I can follow step by step to ensure success. Then, as she suggests, I’ll put them into ziploc bags in the freezer, for a taste of summer midwinter. If I get the time, I’ll make pesto from the basil, put that down to rest beside the bags of roasted tomatoes, so fall and winter will have a little homegrown goodness to lead me on to spring, round and round and round we go, till we’re back again, home and home and home again, where we stop nobody knows.

Roasted tomatoes

For this batch, I went to Wilson Farms, where I bought a peck of roma tomatoes, each one perfectly red and taut, for only 5.99. Can’t beat that for a bargain.

According to my friend Ferriss, here is how to roast these gorgeous babes:

Slice each one down the middle lengthwise. Lay them out on a cookie sheet. No olive oil or salt and pepper or garlic or onion needed, though I am tempted. Roast at 400 degrees for about half an hour, till the skins begin to crinkle. Take them out and let them cool. After a little while, pull the skins off with your fingers, exposing the luscious flesh. When they have cooled a bit further, enjoy a taste, yum, and put the insides into ziploc bags. Freeze till you need a taste of summer, somewhere in early November is what I’m picturing, when the fall foliage has dropped to the ground and the skies are gray, the table will hold a plate of pasta with roasted red tomatoes, green, green pesto, and smiles all around.

If you want to be even happier while you roast, listen to Kate Wolf, Give Yourself to Love. Not on youtube because she died before all this technology was invented but you can spring for it on itunes and feel the love thing on lots of levels, beginning with a tomato and a song.

And if you want to go one step further away from your troubles, read the poem below before you put away the groceries or wash the dishes or go to the bank.  A little poetry break never hurt anyone.

From Writers’ Almanac, March 10, 2010. I’m not sure the tomatoes will make it to March, but you never know:)

Puttanesca

by Michael Heffernan

Before I gave up wondering why everything
was a lot of nothing worth losing or getting back,
I took out a jar of olives, a bottle of capers,
a container of leftover tomato sauce with onions,
put a generous portion of each in olive oil
just hot enough but not too hot,
along with some minced garlic and a whole can of anchovies,
until the mixture smelled like a streetwalker’s sweat,
then emptied it onto a half pound of penne, beautifully al dente,
under a heap of grated pecorino romano
in a wide bowl sprinkled with fresh chopped parsley.
If you had been there, I would have given you half,
and asked you whether its heavenly bitterness
made you remember anything you had once loved.

“Puttanesca” by Michael Heffernan, from The Night Breeze Off the Ocean. © Eastern Washington University Press, 2005. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

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