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October’s Third Thursday: A Tomato Odyssey October 21, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, Garden, random stuff, Third Thursday.

Welcome to October’s Third Thursday!


As of this month, can you believe we’ve now been doing Third Thursdays every month for over a YEAR?  I didn’t really realize that until I’d already planned this post, or, I don’t know, we’d have done something special for the Thirteenth Third Thursday.

Not that this post isn’t special – oh, perish the thought!  After all, we’re actually breaking into my stash of this year’s sun oven-dried tomatoes!


So the other day, I went looking for a recipe for sun-dried tomato pesto – and do you realize that most sun-dried tomato pestos are made with oil-packed tomatoes?

I’ll be honest – I bought those one time for something.  I used a couple, and I, um, I ended up eating the rest out of the jar.   So I try to avoid keeping things like that (and like marinated artichoke hearts – oh YUM!) in the house.

I may be weak as water, but at least I know my limitations!

So there I was, looking for a sun-dried tomato pesto recipe that called for dry, not oil-packed tomatoes.

PhotobucketGoogle led me straight to a blog called Not Eating Out in New York – and I’ve got to approve of that!

This pesto – like most pestos – was so simple to throw together, it’s almost embarrassing!

Seriously, it took more time to assemble the ingredients than to actually make the stuff!

We’ve got 2 cups of “sun” dried tomatoes, which we chopped a bit.  (Makes it a little easier for the Cuisinart to do its thing if the tomatoes aren’t HUGE slabs of leathery fruit, you know?)

PhotobucketWe simply added the tomatoes, along with a couple of cloves of garlic (the really good stuff from the market!) and one good-sized shallot.

Then I zested a lemon into the mix.

The original recipe said to use a “handful” of fresh basil or parsley.  I opted to go with the parsley, since we still have a plethora of basil pesto in the freezer from last year.

(I know, but really, how much pesto can you really use in one year?)


So anyway, I’m not sure how big the original blogger’s hands are, but my handful of parsley was mighty generous.

A couple of (heaping) tablespoons of pine nuts (which I keep in the freezer – of course!) and a splash (a teaspoon or so) of balsamic vinegar, pinches of salt and pepper, and we’re ready to start chopping.

Not actually pureeing – just a few quick pulses with the regular blade, to start.

And once the tomatoes (and other stuff) are coarsely chopped, then it’s time for the olive oil.

Let me tell you about the olive oil.


I have been known to scoff (kind of) at olive oil snobs.

I mean, oil is oil, you know? Sure, olive oil is “supposed to be” healthy, and we all know “moderation in all things” and blah blah blah.  But when it comes down to it, I’ve found the “extra virgin olive oil” I’ve tried to be somewhat overpowering in most instances.  And not in a good way.

The sheep can enjoy their  “EVOO” – ever hear of the Emperor and his new clothes?  Yeah.

Ah, but then.  An epiphany, if you will.


I picked up a bottle of Greek olive oil at the public market – olive oil with an expiration date – and even a  “packed on” date.  And I realized – THAT was what all the fuss was about!

So I’m just going to say this – don’t waste your money on the supermarket “EVOO” stuff – leave that for the sheep.  Seek out a vendor with good olive oils – ideally, an actual person with actual knowledge.

And then save that oil for only the best recipes – like, oh, maybe pesto.

But don’t save it too long – oil left open doesn’t last forever, especially the good stuff!

PhotobucketSo, with the food processor running,  we drizzled just a half cup of the really good extra virgin olive oil and let it run until it was thoroughly combined.

And that,  as they say, was that!

Only really, it wasn’t quite.

First, we had to check for seasonings (a little more salt and a couple of additional grinds of black pepper were in order), and we had to actually sample it.

It was . . . different.  I’d never had tomato pesto, only basil, and I was surprised by how sweet it was!  I suppose I shouldn’t have been – there’s a reason I have to cram those dried tomatoes into the back of the freezer right away – otherwise I’d stand and eat them like candy!  The flavor of this pesto was, well, it was vibrant!  Sweet and fruity, thanks to the tomatoes and good oil, yet definitely savory.

We measured out the 1/4 cup we’d need for our soup, and I simply packed the rest into an ice cube tray – it’ll reside in cubes in the freezer (probably next to the basil pesto) until we can make up something else cool and exciting to do with it!

If you’d like to play along with our Third Thursday challenge, leave a comment with a link to (or description of) your Third Thursday project – tell us what you’re up to!  For loose guidelines, or if you want to check out some past Thursdays, they’re right here! 



1. sjbraun - October 21, 2010

Well, congrats on going over a year! Time does fly. Interesting info on olive oil, and your pesto looks divine!
Here is mine – such as it is …

Aw, thanks! And your jelly certainly looks. . . interesting. 😉 I added a couple of suggestions over on your blog. (I’m just full of good ideas – for other people!) 😆

2. Lucky - October 21, 2010

Thanks for the idea on my blog about the turkey.

This post reminded me that I too crammed some oven dried tomatoes in my freezer this summer. I should pull them out and make some pesto. I used all of my pine nuts on my basil pesto, so maybe I can sub almonds which I have a lot of. What do you think?

Actually, while I was looking for a recipe for tomato pesto, I saw several that called for almonds rather than pine nuts – I don’t see why that wouldn’t work quite nicely!

3. This soup just makes me feel so virtuous! « Dark Side of the Fridge - October 28, 2010

[…] remember that tomato pesto I made the other […]

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