Not usually a good idea, you say… and yes, you’re correct. I don’t normally consume tomatoes in the winter, as they tend to be rather tough and flavorless. I’m not deluded into the idea that aroma-free “roma” tomatoes or the B.C. Hothouse winter collection is suitable for anything remotely tomato-like. I am a sucker for tomatoes in Seattle starting around August, but especially when our local tomatoes are fantastic in September and October, a huge percentage of my daily budget is sacrificed to the tomato gods.
Most of the winter, I avoid tomatoes entirely. But I occasionally dig in to some adequate canned tomatoes.
Earlier this week, one of our weeknight dinners was a simple spaghetti with tomato sauce, made with fresh basil, onions, garlic. I made it with a little bit of feta and some olives.
Spaghetti with tomatoes, feta, and olives
I don’t ever really stop thinking about food. One morning Hiromi and I were just finishing up breakfast and she asked me what we should do for dinner, and I reflected on my schedule for the day and immediately started making a simple yeast dough, suitable for either pizza or calzone. She picked up some vegetables and cheeses on her way home, including some asparagus, mozzarella and parmesan.
When I got home that night, I started sauteeing some onions, and soaked a few dried porcini in water; I used the soaking liquid and the porcini with a bit of wine to caramelize the onions. I rolled out my dough and layered in onions, asparagus, olives, basil, mozzarella, garlic, and parmesan. I used some decent canned tomatoes, but decided not to make a separate sauce because I figured in the 20–30 minutes in the oven, it would make its own… I usually make a sauce ahead of time, but actually the self-saucing approach worked out quite nicely.
Asparagus porcini calzone
You can’t see the insides because we hungrily devoured the end result without cutting and posing the cross section, but you can see that, even with ventilation ducts, we had a minor eruption or two…