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So, I was fully not intending to make meatballs two weeks in a row but as I stated in my last post John Becker told me to and when one of the editors of Joy of Cooking tells you to cook something you don’t ask questions. Plus this week was utterly insane and I was relieved to have something simple to experiment with.

As you can see form my meatball post I didn’t make a sauce. This is because I absolutely loathe store bought red sauce and while I have a pretty great recipe for it it takes hours that I simply did not have. So when given the idea of roasting up a bunch of tomatoes and garlic and calling it a day I was sold. And good lord was it delicious

Slow-roasted tomatoes

4 to 5 large ripe tomatoes cut into 3/4 inch slices
1 teaspoon each confectioners sugar, salt, and black pepper
Olive oil
Chopped herbs of your choice

I arranged the tomatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkled them with the sugar (I just cane sugar, came out just fine), salt and pepper, drizzled them with olive oil and topped them with basil. Popped them in my toaster oven at 250 and forgot about them for about 2-2 1/2 hours. I basically waited until they looked and smelled so delicious I couldn’t handle it anymore.

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I may have eaten a few while they were cooking. You know, for science.

Roasted garlic

4 heads of garlic
Olive oil

Roasting garlic may be my favorite thing in the world. It takes almost no effort and it’s so delicious it should be illegal. Chop off the top of an entire head of garlic so the cloves are exposed, drizzle with olive oil and wrap tightly in tin foil. If roasting 4 heads alone (as in, without the tomatoes) bake them at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. I put these in along with the tomatoes and they finished at the exact same time.

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Chop up those tomatoes and sweet roasted garlic cloves and simmer them with your meatballs for about 10 minutes.

Seriously delicious and totally beautiful. I fully intend to have roasted tomatoes and garlic on hand at all times for the rest of the summer.

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Everyone say it with me now. Thank you, John Becker!

Today I challenge myself. Well, not today exactly. Later this week. Probably more like Sunday.

I challenge myself to teach myself to cook. Classic American, Italian, Indian, Asian, I want to attempt to master my favorite dishes and get myself back in the habit of cooking on a regular basis. There are a few problems:

1. I live alone and leftovers feel like a burden to me.
2. I’m a writer, i.e. I am constantly broke.
and 3. I have no oven and my electric range is a joke.

But I’m going to try. I’m going to crack open my favorite cook books and my grandmother’s recipe cards and practice until I have it right. Probably force-feed some friends along the way.

Some recipes I will follow verbatim, others I may alter due to my access to certain ingredients, budget, or taste.

I want to keep the rules of this challenge to myself open ended so I have the ability to explore and experiment as much as possible without worrying about limiting myself.

My first cookbook selection will be from the classic Joy of Cooking. My first endeavor? The perfect meatball.

Stay tuned.