Well hello there! It’s been a minute. Pandemic life, amirite?
Honestly, I can only partially blame my nine month (but who’s counting?) absence on the pandemic. Sure, the absolute insanity of working in public education and trying to keep things afloat, professionally and personally, took its toll at times. Between COVID-19 and all that has happened in our country and the world, I don’t think a single one of us managed to make it through the days since March 2020 without some serious low points. But to tell you the truth, the past 15 months have really given me time to evaluate who I am, what’s important to me, and what my goals are for what feels like a new phase in my life. I’ve discovered new interests, examined what I believe and who I want to be, and reconnected with hobbies that are integral to my identity.
I’ve come out of this season a changed person. I’m proud of that proclamation. And so, you’re going to see an expansion of what I share here on Apple a Day. This blog has always been my space to share memories, stories, and glimpses of my life through recipes and time in the kitchen. I’ve missed it. The about section of this space says “I went from a girl who didn’t mind cooking simple meals to a woman who loved to cook (and bake!).” That’s still true, but I’m more than just that now. Quarantine gave me time to really get lost again in the universe of books. It gave me a chance to deeply grapple with my knowledge of and beliefs about the country and the world I live in. It caused me to truly consider what health land wellness looks like and why I can’t take my health and wellness, or that of my family and friends, for granted. It allowed my weary mind, body, and heart to pause, rest, rediscover my need for a creative outlet, and develop a deep sense of wanderlust. In a circuitous way, it made me whole again.
But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Let’s start with the very beginning. (A very good place to start, as one of my all-time favorite movies advises us.) Let’s spend some time–not too much!–in the kitchen making a deliciously simple recipe. With some of summer’s freshest, ripest tomatoes and herbs, a few spices from the pantry, zesty lemon, cool, creamy yogurt, toasty slices of French bread, and some chilled rosé, we’re going to make an appetizer that’s perfectly suited for those first small gatherings for which we all have a renewed sense of gratitude.
Make summer’s best cherry tomatoes even sweeter by roasting them with pantry staple spices, spreading them over cool, creamy yogurt, garnishing with herbs from your garden, and enjoying them with the loved ones you’ve missed so much.
Ottolenghi’s Charred Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Cold Yogurt
from Ottolenghi Simple
adapted by Joanne Eats Well with Others and me
12 oz cherry tomatoes
3 TBSP olive oil, plus more for drizzling bread
¾ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 lemon, shaved to get 3 strips of lemon skin, then zested to get 1 tsp zest
flaked sea salt and black pepper
1⅔ cups full-fat Greek yogurt (you really do want full fat here)
1 tsp red chile flakes
fresh basil and mint, shredded, to garnish
grilled or toasted bread, for serving
- Heat oven to 425° F.
- In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes with the olive oil, cumin, sugar, garlic, thyme, oregano, lemon strips, ½ tsp flaked sea salt, and a grind of black pepper. Toss to combine, then transfer to an 8×8-inch baking pan. Place in the oven and roast 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the yogurt with the lemon zest and ¼ tsp flaked sea salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- When the tomatoes are done roasting, turn the broiler to high and broil for 6-8 minutes until starting to char. If using the oven to toast the bread, you can place it under the broiler at the same time. Otherwise, grill the bread while the tomatoes cook.
- Once the tomatoes are done, spread the cold yogurt on a serving platter or in a wide bowl. Spoon the hot tomatoes on top, along with any juices and herbs from the pan. Garnish with the chile flakes, basil, and mint. Serve with bread, crisp, chilled wine, and lots of laughter with great friends.
yield: 4 servings