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april, i hardly knew you

Recipe: roasted cherry tomatoes with mint

Okay, April just sort of whizzed past me over here. I feel as if I’ve been slogging through the month with my head down to meet all manner of deadlines. This weekend was when I could finally (sort of) look up and around and wonder at the month that was. We got outside to enjoy some untracked snow in the backcountry despite the crazy warm temperatures (50°F) and the unrelenting sun. Whew! There is always that one day in spring that takes some getting used to – the transition from winter to summer.

jeremy admires the view of the high peaks in the distance

breaking trail

skiing out as the sun begins to set

And it looks as if April is not leaving without a fight. There is snow forecasted for the last day of the month. I can’t help but worry after the delicate spring blooms and birds that have been trying to make an appearance each week only to get the snowy smackdown from Mother Nature. I imagine anything that has learned to survive in the mountains these many years is half expecting this dance between fire and ice.

our neighborhood fox keeps it on the down low no matter the weather

We had a warm weekend, which was perfect for throwing open the windows and the deck door. Kaweah loves when the deck door is open. She stands just inside the door, just outside the door, and then eventually right across the threshold because that is the best thing ever (in her mind). Our neighbors came over for dinner Sunday evening. It turns out that all four of their birthdays are in April, so I made some celebratory cupcakes.

flourless chocolate hazelnut cupcakes with chocolate ganache frosting

little cakes on a little stand

and a plate of coconut macaroons drizzled in dark chocolate

For dinner, something on the grill seemed appropriate. We served barbecue chicken and a bunch of vegetable sides. One of those sides involves roasted cherry tomatoes with mint, which I had to make last week for a client shoot with Modmarket. Modmarket’s fare is fresh, simply prepared, wholesome, and incredibly good – so I enjoy working with them. They had given me a small container of these minted roast tomatoes, but I made more just in case I needed extras.

all you need: cherry tomatoes, salt, mint, olive oil, pepper

rinse and pat dry

It’s such a simple and basic preparation: toss with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, roast. I do this with a lot of vegetables, but I had never tried it with cherry tomatoes. Tomato season hasn’t arrived here, but we are starting to see decent looking (and more importantly, tasting) tomatoes in our produce sections.

add some olive oil

season and toss

roll them out into a baking pan

Roasting brings out the sweetness and intensifies the flavor of vegetables. For tomatoes, they begin to straddle the line between the plump juiciness of a raw tomato and the richer depth you get from sauces. The texture of the tomato flesh breaks down and yields easily under pressure. It’s almost buttery. Buttery candy. Once the tomatoes are out of the oven, shred some fresh mint and toss it with the hot tomatoes.


shred the mint leaves

sprinkle over the roasted tomatoes

gently toss together

The thought of mint and roasted tomatoes did not pique my interest when it was discussed during the planning meeting, nor did it trigger anything during the photo shoot. However, once the session was done and I popped a roasted tomato into my mouth, I stopped in my tracks and turned around to grab another. The mint takes it in a direction that is orthogonal to what you’d expect and it is fantastic! It’s so versatile too. I’ve since enjoyed these in salads, solo, with other vegetables, over rice, on crostini… I’m sure they’d be amazing on pasta. We served our dinner guests some roasted asparagus (without the lemon zest) with the roasted cherry tomatoes and everyone raved about them. Total keeper.

great on its own

plays well with others (like roasted asparagus)

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Mint
[print recipe]

1 lb. cherry tomatoes
2 tbsps olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tbsps fresh mint

Preheat oven to 425°F. Rinse the cherry tomatoes and pat dry. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and toss with olive oil to coat. Sprinkle sea salt and black pepper over the tomatoes and toss again. Pour the tomatoes into a baking dish or small roasting pan and arrange in a single layer. Roast the tomatoes for 10 minutes until the skins begin to split. Remove from oven. Chiffonade the mint and sprinkle over the tomatoes, tossing to distribute. Serves 2-4.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

heirloom tomato and corn salad heirloom tomato salad mexico city style roasted corn with chipotle mayonnaise tomato jam

23 nibbles at “april, i hardly knew you”

  1. Lisa Ann says:

    Please, please, please, publish a cook book just like your blog. Please hurry. Don’t leave out the trails, mountains or your lucky puppy. I wish I could dip my hands into my computer screen snag a tomato. Then reach back in a pull out a book that is your recipes…or just your blog in book form.

  2. Kristin says:

    Oh wow…that sounded delicious immediately to me, and the photo with the asparagus made me want it even more! I will go out & whisper to my mint today to try to encourage it to grow faster, although we are getting a similar weather smackdown later this week. And I agree with Lisa Ann…a cookbook would be so great, even though it could be pricey because you have so many wonderful recipes and we’d want so many of your fabulous photos included.

  3. Susanne says:

    Okay, I’m totally making this tonight! Thanks, Jen!

  4. Trolleira says:

    Oh great, with mint!! I so will try this. Normally I let them roast with olive oil, balsamico vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper – but mint!!! wow, great idea.

    Greetings from Brazil!

  5. Christine says:

    I second the cookbook comment! You bring a smile to my morning whenever I see a new post!

  6. Cindi says:

    Oh those cupcakes… but the roasted veggies are a nice healthy balance. The pix are just gorgeous, Jen

  7. Chef V says:

    Indeed! I don’t know what I’d do with out my Monday morning posts!

  8. L. says:

    Yum! This reminds me of a surprise favorite recipe I gleaned from one of Mark Bittman’s “100” (salads, appetizers, etc.) lists. Grapes (I slice them in half), lots of olive oil, salt and pepper, feta, and chopped fresh mint. The combination of savory, minty, and sweet just can’t be beat, and it’s so simple to make. So I can see why this dish might work so well.

  9. Sherry says:

    That looks so pretty! It makes me wish I can stomach eating tomatoes but it’s one of those fruits/vegetables that I can’t stand the taste of unless it’s masked by the taste of vinegar and sugar…

  10. Kurt says:

    I love oven roasted tomatoes but have never seen this type of preparation. It looks great and sounds great. I’ll give it a try in the near future. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  11. JulieT says:

    I agree with Lisa Ann’s comment. I hardly ever cook, (being solo) but I love reading your blog and every recipe that I’ve tried of yours is a wonder. That you would have to be the photographer for the “Use Real Butter” cookbook is a given. Such talent! But of course that is what we dig here in Boulder County. Can you believe snow in the forecast AGAIN??!#&

  12. angelitacarmelita says:

    I have never thought of tossing mint w/my roasted tomatoes, but as my tomato plants go into the ground, and the farmers market’s (weeks away) begin delivering tomatoes, I will keep this in mind. It looks fantastic. With regards to a cookbook, I could do without it as long as you never stop blogging and taking these breath-taking photographs and sharing all of it with us. We love us some URL!!

  13. Deborah Dowd says:

    If these taste as good as they look they must’ve been amazing! I do cherry tomatoes sauteed quickly with chopped shallots, then add a splash of sheery, a tsp of sugar and some red pepper flakes- delicious!

  14. Katie says:

    Oh that looks so good! I usually pair tomatoes with basil but I will have to try mint.
    How did you get your coconut macaroons to look so smooth? Mine usually turn out with jagged coconut strands like your original recipe – not that I find that to be a problem. Is that super-fine coconut? I.. I want to touch it…

  15. Ann says:

    you’ve outdone yourself! Spring on a plate – makes me want to jump off the couch and go make a batch of my own!

  16. Kathy Swanson says:

    COOKBOOK? Hum, that would be a definite YES!

  17. Bridget says:

    I’m so glad you mentioned the mint thing! I’m not the biggest fan of mint in savory dishes, and I was thinking basil and tomatoes would be classic, parsley would be nice…but if you say the mint is that good, I’m eager to try it. (Plus I’m a terrible gardener and it’s one of the few things I can’t kill.)

  18. Bridget says:

    Also that is a very cool fork.

  19. farmerpam says:

    I think one of the things I like best about your blog is that you’re NOT pushing a cookbook. Please don’t whore yourself out and get on THAT bandwagon. I like that I’m not looking at advertisments, just stunning photos, Colorado updates, touching stories, (Yeah, “cancer is a jerk”, that post came the day after my sister passed away from the C word) and REAL life. And Kaweah, of course. Your recipes always work. And I love that you’ve shared and turned us on to your culture through some amazing recipes. ( How could I have not known about those pork buns before? I crave them, little pillows of goodness that they are.) You’ve made me think about my own grandma, long gone, and challenged me to remember and try to make some of the food she made. Thanks for sharing and not selling.

  20. Brynnie says:

    This dish looks incredibly simple and OM-azing (with an extra dash of “Om”!). Thanks for the mention of Modmarket, Jen. I visited the Lakewood location last June while in Denver on a business trip, and have been trying to remember the name of this healthy, sleek eatery ever since so I could send my son, who is a Denver-ite, there for some great nosh. He will love it. This post is somewhat tardy because I have been finishing a brutal semester here in Northern Arizona (Prescott)… today I’m catching up on all my URB backlog. A sidenote: I loved your tribute to your sister, thank you for that. The photo reminded me of visiting my brother (RIP Erik 10/10/57-12/23/97) at Caltech when he was a freshman and I was an almost-middle schooler. I was in awe of that place and still starstruck when he graduated there in 1980. Thanks for nudging my memory bank, and may all our memories of our sweet, lovely departed siblings live on timelessly. <3

  21. jenyu says:

    For those wanting a cookbook – I seriously doubt any publisher would be willing to publish *my* kind of cookbook which is probably one the biggest reasons I refuse to write one. I think if I ever endeavored on such a project, it would be on my terms (and self-published because I have quite a bit of loathing for the publishing industry). That’s why I love blog formats – I get to put whatever I want on it! And I get to interact with such wonderful people <3

    Lisa Ann - you're so kind xo

    Kristin - ahhhh, lucky you for having a garden. I hope your mint is going gangbusters.

    Susanne - Hope it was a hit!

    Trolleira - hello!

    Christine - thank you! <3

    Cindi - love you, girl xo

    Chef V - ;)

    L - that sounds lovely. I'll have to give that one a try - thanks!

    Sherry - yeah, I know tomatoes don't sit well with everyone (including my husband). But maybe you should try L's recipe with grapes!

    Kurt - you're welcome!

    Julie - I love the snow in the forecast!! :)

    angelitacarmelita - wow, I love that you grow your own tomatoes. And yes, the blog is far more important to me than any stupid cookbook!

    Deborah - that sounds great. Thanks for sharing that recipe!

    Katie - yes, it's a pretty fine shred coconut (I got it in the bulk section at Whole Foods) and then I use a scoop to make the balls. But I like the shaggy ones too because the random strands get brown and crunchy! :)

    Ann - :)

    Kathy - ah ha ha!! Too funny. You can enjoy Joy's cookbooks :)

    Bridget - Dude, I've killed mint before (many times). I suck at gardening.

    farmerpam - I am truly sorry to learn about your sister's passing, my dear. It makes me so sad that so many of us share in our experiences with cancer. And yes, there are just way too many people out there trying to get those book deals via blogging. It makes my stomach turn. I kinda want to say "why don't you work on producing interesting and genuine content?" But that's just me being snarky... xo

    Brynnie - xxoo

  22. Tanya says:

    I am just commenting here because it’s where I stopped and decided to make a comment. From reading your blog for years (since i found you browsing a tutorial for a rag quilt), I have gathered that you are one of the most real people I’ve ever known (and I dont’ even know you). You’re such a great person, and you’re talented beyond belief. You love your dog and your husband and family and friends so much. You have such a passion for so many things. The people in your life are so lucky to know you.

    That’s all. I just wanted to comment that you are a wonderful human being. I’m trying to not sound creepy, but I don’t think I’m succeeding. Oh well. It’s just a comment.


  23. jenyu says:

    Tanya – what an incredibly sweet comment. Thank you. You’re not sounding creepy at all :) xo

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