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i *want* to like sundried tomatoes....

alkapal Sep 18, 2008 07:29 AM

but i can't buy any that taste good. they are tasting "muddy" to me. maybe i need to try different brands, but when it is two or three crummy ones in a row, i hate wasting my money!

how do you use them? do you reconstitute in just water? are some brands fresh-tomato-ier tasting? your favorite brand? packed in oil, or simply dry?
any good recipes that feature them?

i have had good ones in restaurant dishes, but it is *not* happening at home! help!

  1. diablo Sep 21, 2008 06:37 PM

    Hi alkapal. I use sundried tomatoes packed in oil usually. Or I reconstitute at home and store in olive oil in the fridge. This is one of my fave recipes using SDTs. It's a copycat, but that may be a good thing for you since you say you've only enjoyed them in restaurant dishes. Hopefully this link works....


    1 Reply
    1. re: diablo
      alkapal Sep 22, 2008 05:55 AM

      diablo, my sister just loves carrabbas' chicken bryan.

      thanks all for the hope, encouragement, ideas, recipes..... keep 'em comin'!

    2. s
      sabrina0 Sep 21, 2008 06:20 PM

      I feel this way also, but this smitten kitchen post intrigued me... may have to try it!

      1. Vetter Sep 21, 2008 10:05 AM

        They make wonderful mayo or aoili-- blitz some soft ones, or ones packed in oil (no crappy dried herbs and garlic in canola oil, though!) and put them in garlicky aoili, and try that on a turkey sandwich. Mmmm.

        1. Jetgirly Sep 21, 2008 08:43 AM

          I use sundried tomatoes mixed with other things, not on their own, and have never had a problem buying cheap bulk ones at the health food store and rehydrating them in boiling water. If the tomatoes are going to be the main event, I would use slow-roast instead. If you don't have tons of time you can start roasting them in the evening, then turn off the oven, keep the door closed and wait for them to be finished come morning.

          1. d
            Deborah B Sep 21, 2008 07:57 AM

            I think the brand makes all the difference. I enjoy Pastene which are packed in oil.

            1. Chew on That Sep 19, 2008 09:35 AM

              I had a delicious sun dried tomato spread the other day...I'd try a spread or using them on a pizza first. It will ease you in! I used to hate them too but these two dishes made me like them!

              1. Boccone Dolce Sep 18, 2008 04:21 PM

                How did you try them?
                I prefer mine cut teeny tiny and sprinkled into orzo, made into a paste and slapped inside a bnls/sknls chicken breast with a large hunk of mozzarella and baked, made into a faux pesto and stirred into gemelli, chopped and served on a slab of goat cheese. Every single one of these I use the packed in oil kind.

                1. j
                  jencounter Sep 18, 2008 09:18 AM

                  For sun-dried tomatoes, I prefer those packed in olive oil. If you're looking for intense tomato flavor, try oven roasting them. I blogged about it here http://jengotablog.blogspot.com/2008/...

                  Caution for those who are sensitive: some bad language in the entry linked. Otherwise, enjoy. I know I did.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: jencounter
                    egusto Sep 18, 2008 09:39 AM

                    I enjoyed your blog Jen... I gotta try these!

                    1. re: egusto
                      jencounter Sep 18, 2008 09:43 AM

                      I ate so many that I got a stomach ache.

                    2. re: jencounter
                      alkapal Sep 22, 2008 05:50 AM

                      jen, nice blog.
                      about your excesses of veggies, namely zucchini (your hash and oven-roasted tomatoes looked great): have you seen the post about cooking veggies in the waffle iron? if you haven't, here it is: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/446954

                      1. re: alkapal
                        jencounter Sep 22, 2008 07:37 AM

                        Wow, I haven't! Thank you.

                    3. Gio Sep 18, 2008 08:09 AM

                      I used to buy them but recently have been roasting my own, low and slow. They are much sweeter and less acetic. Sliced in half from stem to stern....I season them with a little sprinkle of sea salt, herbes de Provence and EVOO. Sometimes instead of the SS I use Penzey's Sandwich Sprinkle. They get packed in a jar with a little more olive oil and live in the fridge till needed.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Gio
                        karykat Sep 21, 2008 08:49 AM

                        We do something like this (dip in olive oil, cut, and slow roast with garlic, fennel seeds and thyme sprigs). We start with a hot oven and keep turning the heat down over a span of hours. Supposedly this replicates old village bread ovens in Italy as they cool, per Lynn Rosetto Kaspar.

                        Then we freeze these in small amounts and live off them all winter. They make fantastic sauce for over pasta with or without meat. And great bruschetta.

                        I have one large batch in the freezer and am going to the farmers market this morning for more tomatoes.

                        1. re: Gio
                          ScarletB Sep 21, 2008 08:51 PM

                          I discovered slow-roasted a few years ago and it's such a fabulous way to use tons of late-season tomatoes. The other night I slow roasted cherry tomatoes, but accidentally over roasted them, and they were so good!!! They turned out kind of like sun-dried tomatoes, but like candied sun-dried tomatoes. We couldn't stop eating them. Tonight I tossed them in pasta with goat cheese sauce and pine nuts. Now I just want to make more!

                          1. re: ScarletB
                            jencounter Sep 22, 2008 07:37 AM

                            I just did the same thing last week and again, another stomach ache!

                            My husband calls them tomato crack because I just can't stop eating them once I start.

                            1. re: jencounter
                              ScarletB Sep 22, 2008 12:35 PM

                              So good! I'm lamenting that I don't have enough cherry tomatoes, which is pretty ridiculous considering the mounding bowls we've been going through the last month plus. Never again will I have too many tomatoes, especially the cherries!

                        2. sammyw Sep 18, 2008 08:08 AM

                          I'm with you, I'm not a fan either. But I do adore oven roasted tomatoes. There not a strong & have much more flavor in my opinion, and they're surprising simple. My hubby made some a while back if your interested in trying: http://sammyw.wordpress.com/2008/08/1...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sammyw
                            alkapal Sep 18, 2008 08:14 AM

                            one word: AWE-some! (no, two: awesomely delicious!)

                          2. JenBoes Sep 18, 2008 08:08 AM

                            I like the sun dried tomatoes that come in brine. I think they are much better than the ones you have to reconstitute.

                            1. Veggo Sep 18, 2008 07:54 AM

                              I usually buy the Bella Sun Luci 3 ounce plastic packages. They need some re-hydration but when I fold pieces into chicken salad or a braising liquid or a brothy sauce like a Veracruz, there is enough moisture to return them to a nice edible texture. A little goes a long way...

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Veggo
                                alkapal Sep 18, 2008 08:00 AM

                                hey veggo, the snake hit the mail truck in a tube day before yesterday! ;-)

                                1. re: alkapal
                                  Veggo Sep 18, 2008 08:08 AM

                                  Cool! Snake's in the mail!

                                  1. re: alkapal
                                    Veggo Sep 18, 2008 02:03 PM

                                    Update: Snake arrived today. I have been besieged by the major art auction houses, but I'm not in this for the money. I have promised it to the Smithsonian.

                                    1. re: Veggo
                                      alkapal Sep 18, 2008 03:46 PM

                                      well. mr. veggo, i am sorry that it was pretty much a worthless piece of paper... (seriously!!) but the love was there.... ;-) (i hope that you did not have hopes up about pbs's auction show!)

                                2. MMRuth Sep 18, 2008 07:40 AM

                                  I don't use them often, but when I do, I buy them at the deli counter at the grocery store -they make them there.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: MMRuth
                                    alkapal Sep 18, 2008 07:48 AM

                                    you know, mmruth, maybe the tomato dishes i've had were oven-roasted, and not sundried...

                                    1. re: alkapal
                                      MMRuth Sep 18, 2008 07:56 AM

                                      Frankly, I'm sure these probably are too - in Manhattan, I doubt they have a place to lay them out in the sun!

                                      1. re: MMRuth
                                        Veggo Sep 18, 2008 08:04 AM

                                        I did some research a while back to probe the efficacy of drying my own because twice a year we have wonderful tomatoes in Florida, and sun-dried are so expensive. The necessaries to avoid insect infiltration and other subtleties are more than I want to take on, so it's back to the grocer...

                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                          coll Sep 19, 2008 02:51 AM

                                          I know a pizzeria owner who used to dry tomatoes for his paste up on the tar roof over his store,

                                          1. re: coll
                                            alkapal Sep 19, 2008 06:02 AM

                                            tar certainly gets very hot, doesn't it!

                                            1. re: coll
                                              alkapal Sep 19, 2008 06:16 AM

                                              sammyw, tell your husband that i was inspired to do a riff on his garlicky tomatoes (and this is soooooooo easy!):

                                              cherry tomatoes, halved, set on micro-safe plate, cut-side up.
                                              sprinkled with pecorino romano and panko,
                                              drizzled with evoo in which fresh minced garlic had infused.
                                              a little more panko and a little more cheese, and a little more of the garlicky olive oil,
                                              then a little drop of balsamic on each one.

                                              nuked at half-power in three one-minute increments.

                                              i've got to tell you all, these were really outstanding. (and so easy!!!)
                                              i was in tomato-garlic heaven. they actually reminded me in taste and texture like the garlicky escargot! (even though the only ingredient in common is garlic.) mr. alka raved, too. now, today, i'm going to make them again.

                                              to resurrect a phrase: "try it, you'll like it!"

                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                karykat Sep 21, 2008 08:50 AM

                                                Will try this. It sounds really good and I would not have thought of the panko in there.

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