Well, let's start with the good: I love slow-roasted tomatoes. Sweet baby tomatoes, baked for over an hour and drizzled with organic olive oil. Served with grilled chicken, rice, and spinach-ricotta pastries. As a kid who smothered everything in ketchup but loathed raw tomatoes, this is big.
I feel like a fool admitting this because I can now eat a tomato like an apple and love them in all forms. Slow-roasted might be my new favorite although this is said without having tasted fried green tomatoes ("Towanda!"), which are next on the list. Pop a generous batch into an oven and pull them out again an hour or two later, and that sweet, innocent fruit is magically made-over into a sultry, sassy little beast just waiting to shock you with flavor. I can only imagine how wonderful they will be in the peak of summer.
So, on to the bad: phyllo dough is my nemesis. Every time I try to make something with the stubborn stuff, I curse and spaz and promise never again. It's my own fault because I have little patience with bringing it to room temperature and you can all stop wagging your fingers at me, I know. First rule of phyllo.
Yet I managed to get it layered, buttered, and spread with spinach, ricotta, and toasted pine nuts. If you had witnessed the whole process, you would call that victory. The pastries could have used a little longer in the oven (note for next time: always follow your gut closer than recipe guidelines) and a bit more salt and pepper. But all was forgiven after they were put on a plate next to warm, juicy tomatoes and the swooning began. Swooning by boyfriend and 12 year-old brother translates to grunting and face-stuffing but swooning nonetheless.
Somehow I was able to sneak a piece away and hide it in tin foil for a little follow-up breakfast love. It is considered breakfast material since it's a pastry after all, isn't it? Oh goody. I was going to do it anyway.