Dog Days of Summer

I have a confession to make, and it’s a weird one. Strangely, I’ve heard of several other people who have this same problem. (Hi, Sandra!)

photo 11.jpg

Are you ready for it?? I don’t like raw tomatoes, BUT I am obsessed with homemade tomato sauces, tomato soup, cooked diced tomatoes, salsa, stewed tomatoes, and sundried tomatoes. Ketchup really isn’t my thing (It’s the Chicago in me), but sometimes my tomato cravings get so intense that I will walk to the nearest store to pick up tomato-based goodies. My tomato cravings happen especially when it comes to tomato soup. Right around 2nd or 3rd grade, my tomato-obsessed friend, Justine, and I would go over to her house after school to play. Before our playtime commenced, we would demand tomato soup and popcorn as a snack. What oddball kids we were.

Clearly, I have no problem with cooked tomatoes in any way; I think raw, uncooked tomatoes have a totally different flavor. Raw tomatoes are brighter, tangy, acidic, and juicy in a not-so-great, want-to-throw-up kind of way. So when my boyfriend excitedly showed up with 15 Roma tomatoes, because he got them all for $1, I didn’t know what to do. Roma tomatoes are notoriously great for making Salsa, but I’m not sure if gnawing on some Romas is appropriate. 

Tomatoes are in season in the heat of summer, and one of my favorite things to do is go look at the mounds and heaps of tomatoes at farmer’s markets. There’s just something about the stacks of the round, juicy, bright orbs that makes me happy. To me, they seem to signify the end of summer, the start of a transition into fall, which is arguably my favorite time of year. (Changing leaves, football, corn mazes, pumpkins, crisp mornings, and Thanksgiving all in one season.)

Sometimes there are so many tomatoes at the farmers market in August that it is not uncommon for vendors to let you take home a whole basket for only a couple bucks. They would rather them go to a happy family and get eaten than have them rot for the sake of a profit. Farmers are good people. Its one of the things I miss about living in Iowa the most.

For these Romas, I decided to dehydrate them and make them into a chip, an incredibly healthy and savory snack food. Since the dehydrator merely draws out moisture, these tomatoes are, shockingly uncooked yet extremely palatable. They’re similar to sundried tomatoes, but they can be made overnight in your home instead of drying them outside with the use of a sundial and guard to keep away pesks. ;) Please note that because of the high moisture content, these take awhile to dehydrate, so plan accordingly. These chips will also shrink in size considerably; they won’t make as much as you think, but don’t worry, they’re still worth it.

Paleo Roma Dill Chips

Makes 1 bowl of chips

  • 15 Roma tomatoes
  • 1.5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. dried dill, or 3 tbsp. fresh chopped dill
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. dried chili powder (I use hatch chili powder, yummmm)
  1. Slice tomatoes about ¾ inch thick and place them in a strainer or colander. Place colander in the sink and let the water/juice naturally drain away from the tomato slices for about 10 minutes. Shake occasionally to let additional juices drain.
  2. In a bowl, mix all spices with the olive oil.
  3. Add tomatoes and coat all slices evenly with olive oil mixture by stirring with a spoon or using your hands.
  4. Place slices onto dehydrator, being careful not to overlap. Turn on dehydrator and let dehydrate until slightly chewy but dried. My own dehydrator takes about 8 hours, or overnight, but follow the manufacturer directions for your particular model.