This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging - one of the longest running food blog 'events' on the web. This week it is being hosted by Chriesi from Almond Corner. Weekend Herb Blogging was created by Kalyn and is now organized by Haalo, WHB is now in its 4th successful year of showcasing every week delicious (and often unusal) foods prepared using herbs, fruits and vegetables by bloggers around the world.
More on tomatoes after after the post . . .
Given the summer that wasn't here in Ontario it took a LONG time for our tomato plants to furnish us with some ripe tomatoes. Because our garden is small we only plant cherry and pear tomato plants. All some they were prolific, producing huge quantities of green tomatoes but nothing ripe. Then with a few weeks of warm, sunny weather they all ripened at once!
On Saturday we were looking for something that we could make that might use some of this bounty up. We came upon this recipe at the epicurious site. The tomatoes are roasted with olive oil, vinegar, and garlic - resulting in a delicious, full-flavoured sauce. It is amazing the difference that roasting the tomatoes makes - taking the flavour to an entirely new level of goodness.
The nice thing about this recipe is that much of it can be done ahead - the most labour intensive part is prepping the tomatoes (and I an loath to call THAT labour intensive because it really isn't). This can be done in advance (the recipe says 2 hours but you could make it the day before, refrigerate it, and bring the tomatoes to room temperature while making the pasta). This would make it a perfect week-night staple.
We loved this recipe! Don't leave the pine nuts out; they added a great crunch to the dish and the nutty flavor blended with tomatoes and olives very well.
Pasta with Kalamata Olives and Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce
2 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 pound farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
1/2 cup halved pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives
1/4 cup drained capers
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Combine tomatoes, oil, garlic, vinegar, and crushed red pepper in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast until tomatoes are tender and juicy, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Stir in oregano. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Return to pot. Add tomato mixture, olives, and capers. Stir over medium heat until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add feta and stir until melted and creamy, about 2 minutes. Divide pasta among 6 plates; sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.
From southdreamz . . .
There are many health benefits of eating tomatoes. Tomatoes contain compounds that have been proven to help prevent cancer, heart disease cataracts and many others.
New research is beginning to indicate that tomatoes may be used to help prevent lung cancer. Two powerful compounds found in tomatoes-coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid-are thought to block the effects of nitrosamines. These are compounds that not only are formed naturally in the body, but also are the strongest carcinogen in tobacco smoke. By blocking the effects of these nitrosamines, the chances of lung cancer are reduced significantly.
When choosing your tomatoes, be sure to pick those with the most brilliant shades of red. These indicate the highest amounts of betacarotene and lycopene. Though raw tomatoes are great for you, cooking them releases even more of the benefits. Lycopene is located in the cell wall of the tomato, so by cooking in a bit of oil, this healing compound is more fully released. In addition cooking the tomato in olive oil allows your body to absorb the lycopene better. Don’t worry about the availability of fresh tomatoes. Tomatoes don’t lose any of their nutritional value in the high heat processing , making canned tomatoes and tomato sauce are both just as viable and beneficial as fresh tomatoes.
Tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C and in lycopene, a protective factor against prostrate cancer. They are also a source of potassium - essential for balancing our sodium intake and for proper cell performance as well as for regulating blood pressure.
They contain folate, niacin and Vitamin B6 (an anti-inflammatory) and Vitamin K (which aids the body's fight against osteoporosis).
Tomatoes are second only to potatoes in terms of the quantity of vegetables we consumers eat, so, scientists are now trying to grow tomatoes with a wider range of health providing qualities. The first anthocyanin-laden tomatoes were produced in 2004 at Oregon State University. Anthocyanin is one of the compounds that makes red wine healthy.
The latest informed speculation on the health benefits of tomatoes concerns lung cancer.
Tomato Health Facts
- Eating tomatoes, ketchup, tomato sauce and tomato paste-topped pizza more than two times a week can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 21 to 43 percent according to Dr. Edward Giovannucci of the Harvard University School of Public Health.
- "The only nutrient that turned out to have significant preventative value (against prostate cancer) was lycopene," writes Dr. Giovannucci who also found that lycopene was most efficiently absorbed into the body when accompanied by dietary fats (limpids).
- "Cooking tomatoes in oil encourages intestinal absorption and results in a two-to-threefold rise in plasma lycopene concentrations," said Dr. Giovannucci. "Tomato sauce is one of the best lycopene sources."
- Men who eat two or more servings of tomato products average a 35 percent reduction in prostate cancer risk.
- Tomato products are beneficial in aggressive cancers that have also spread to other parts of the body.
- The best food sources of lycopene according to the Tomato Research Council in New York City: ( Amount of lycopene in one ounce) Tomato Sauce, Spaghetti Sauce, Ketchup (5 mg); Tomato Soup, Canned Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Vegetable Juice (3 mg); Minestrone Soup, Vegetable Soup, Pink Grapefruit (1 mg)
- Lycopene helps women guard against cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia, (CIN), tumorous tissue growth in the cervix according to research from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
- Lycopene is a powerful inhibitor of the growth of breast, endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) and lung cancer cells.
- Tomatoes are good for the eyes. Lycopene, the most abundant carotenoid in the blood serum, was found to be the key antioxidant that guards against ARMD ( Age-Related Macular Degeneration), a condition that may cause blindness.
- Tomatoes are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Potassium
- Lycopene is an inhibitor to heart disease.
Other Health Benefits of Tomato :
- A large consumption of tomato can help improve skin texture and color.
- Tomato is a good blood purifier.
- Tomato helps in cases of congestion of the liver (protects the liver from cirrhosis) as well as for dissolving gallstones.
- Tomato is a natural antiseptic therefore it can help protect against infectionNicotinic acid in tomatoes can help to reduce blood cholesterol, thus helps prevent heart diseases.
- Vitamin K in tomatoes helps to prevent hemorrhages.
- Tomato contain lycopene (the red pigment in tomato), this pigment is a powerful antioxident that can also fight cancer cells.