Party Excess

David and I threw a baby shower bbq for our friends this afternoon. We made everything from scratch; my couscous salad (I substituted spinach with swiss chard), a pasta salad with homemade pesto from last year's basil overload (we froze pesto in glass jars, and this was our last one... good thing it's almost basil time!), and a coleslaw that my Mom always makes for picnic-y events, which everyone loves. In addition, Chef D made his famous ribs and we grilled up some chicken that we marinated in dijon, garlic and olive oil (recipe courtesy of Chef D's Mom).

Oh, and there was fresh hummus with lemon and garlic scapes, pita chips, fruit salad and crudites for snacking. (And the soon-to-be Mom requested ice cream sundaes, so, we had those, too)

Have I mentioned that there were only 14 people at this party? David and I prepared food for about 40. This is what happens when a girl of Italian heritage marries a Jewish boy...there is ALWAYS enough food.

After a whole week of trying to eat as much food as possible out of the fridge in order to make room for the party food, I am now faced with one cooler of vegetables that I had to move out of the fridge PLUS a fridge full of leftovers. Ironically, I've ended up with more vegetables than I started with, which means I've got my work cut out for me.

Although it's not yet tomato season here in Western MA, we picked up tomatoes at our grocery store for the pasta salad and for our crudite platter, and we ended up with quite a bit left over. I'm not particularly fond of eating fresh grape tomatoes, because I don't like biting into something that is so squirty! However, I devised a quick roasted tomato recipe last year that's come in handy, and everyone who eats it requests the recipe. I'm not comfortable referring to it as a sauce, spread, or topping, so I'm really not sure how to label it! I've used the roasted tomates to make a baked chicken parm, as a brushcetta-type topping for bread, and as a pizza sauce.

In fact
I've got the oven cranked up to 400 degrees right now, and I can smell the tomatoes roasting away. I'd suggest making a ton of this sauce so you can freeze and use it throughout the year, either when tomatoes are plentiful, or when you've purchased too many for a party and you no longer want them taking up precious space in your fridge...

Recipe: Garlic-Roasted Tomatoes
I've used both grape and cherry tomatoes in this recipe. You can roast as many tomatoes as you'd like. Just make sure they can all lie on one on a rimmed baking sheet or pan.

You'll need:

grape or cherry tomatoes
cloves of garlic, peeled
(about 2 cloves per cup of tomatoes)

olive oil

kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400degrees.

Toss tomatoes and garlic with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt in roasting pan. Roast for 30-40 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice, until tomato skins are brown and wrinkling, and juices are filling the bottom of the pan. Remove from oven and let cool in pan. Transfer to a food processor (I've also used a blender) and process, until tomatoes and garlic and combined, but still chunky.

I prefer to store the tomatoes in a glass canning jar (like Ball's). If I'm not planning on using them within the next week or two, I place the jar in the freezer, and then defrost when I'm ready to use.

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