I often smoke tomatoes in the oven over hickory chips with olive oil, sea salt, and cracked black pepper. This process takes about an hour, but when time or weather does not permit, this short cut works fine.

Oven Smoked Tomatoes
makes 1 dozen

    • 1 dozen Roma tomatoes, cut in quarters and placed on a rimmed baking sheet
    • 1 tablespoon sea salt
    • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper

Mix 1/2 a cup of olive oil with 3 tablespoons of liquid hickory smoke and drizzle over cut roma tomatoes then sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes.

Tomato Coulis
makes 2 quarts (freezes well and is great to have on hand)

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 medium onion
    • 3 medium carrots
    • 3 cups canned, diced tomatoes in juice
    • 1 dozen smoked Roma tomatoes (recipe above)
    • 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeno
    • 8 each fresh basil leaves
    • 5 cloves garlic
    • 2 bay leaves

Head the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cut the onion into 8 pieces and carrots into 4 pieces and saute for 5 minutes.

Into the same pot add the tomatoes, jalapenos, basil, garlic, and bay leaves. Cook over medium heat for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and pour into food processor. Use the pulse button of the processor to coarsely puree the sauce (you don't want it soupy).

Cast Iron Vegetables

    • 1 eggplant, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
    • 4 zuchinni or yellow squash, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon dry basil
    • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • Spray oil

Spray 4 individual springform pans or one 1 quart springform pan with spray oil. Mix all the spices together in a bowl. Toss sliced eggplant and zuchinni in large bowl with olive oil and herb mixture.

Heat cast iron skillet until it is "white hot." (You can not have your skillet too hot.) The idea is to quickly cook your vegetables, similar to "blackened fish".

Spray a little spray oil in the skillet. Sear vegetables until cooked on both sides. This takes about 35 to 40 seconds on each side. Skillet will cool off a bit as you cook so it may take a bit longer. You want the vegetables to be tender when you bite into them.

Let sit for half an hour then unmold and serve with the Smoked Tomato Coulis.

Variations and other uses for Tomato Coulis:

•This makes a wonderful base for cream of tomato soup. Just add one part chicken stock, one part coulis, and one part cream.
•You can add one part cream to one part coulis and use as a pasta sauce.
•The coulis is an excellent base for a gazpacho. Add diced cucumber, red onion, and tomato juice to get the proper consistency.