Sharing Food and Memories with Friends and Family

July 15, 2014
Irene Saiger


Oven-Roasted Herb Tomatoes

photo-2 copy 2It was the summer of 1972,  I was 16 years old and I was going to Israel for the first time. The trip was organized by Hadassah, six weeks long, we were to spend a week on kibbutz, a week on Gadna (pre-army training camp) at Sde Boker, and the remaining month touring.  After we arrived, we drove to Jerusalem and were taken to our residence, Beit Riklis on Mt Scopus.  There was a brief orientation after which we were sent to our rooms and told ” lights out.”   But we were 16 year olds, naïve and foolish, and it didn’t take long before we decided to sneak out.  We began walking down the road  but our adventure soon ended when a Volkswagen pulled over and the driver, a middle-aged man, asked who we were, what we were doing, and where we were going.  He yelled at us, and made us pile into the car so he could return us to the safety of the dorm.  That was the first, but not the last, time that we got into trouble that summer, a summer filled with adventure and new experiences, exactly as it should have been. Of course, I remember the food as well, my first taste of Falafel, of ice-cold Choco, of perfectly diced Israeli salads made with ripe red tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers, the centerpiece of those incredibly lavish Israeli breakfasts (my normal breakfast of Frosted Flakes and milk was no match). For weeks now, Israel is never far from our thoughts.  We worry, listen to the news on an hourly basis, and check in with family and friends who live there.  I spend time reminiscing, thinking about that summer, and the year that I later spent on Kibbutz Usha.  I think about how lucky I was to have those experiences, as were my husband and children during the time they spent in Israel.  I think about how different this summer is, and hope that very soon, Israeli teenagers will once again be living in peace, and American teenagers will once again be taking their first trips to Israel, getting into trouble, and having a summer filled with adventure and new experiences, exactly as it should be.

photo-2 copy 3

Sde Boker 1972

photo-2 copy photo-2 Oven-Roasted Herb Tomatoes When I spent time with our family friends on Kfar Meishar, a Moshav outside of Gedera,  I was always amazed at how quickly delicious salads would appear on the table, with what appeared to be little effort.  With a surplus of tomatoes in the garden,  many of which I used for Israeli salad, I decided to roast some.  I sliced them, placed them in a glass dish (avoid using metal that could react with the tomatoes) sprinkled them with a small handful of chopped herbs, also from the garden ( I used sage, oregano, rosemary and tarragon),  added 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced, a little sea salt and  drizzled Israeli olive oil over the top. They were a great addition to a breakfast of fried eggs, feta cheese and olives. Bake at 325 for about 1 1/2 hours. Enjoy, Irene

14 thoughts on “Oven-Roasted Herb Tomatoes

  1. Hi, Irene.

    Welcome back. It has been a while and I missed your stories. Happy that you wrote about Meishar. We both have wonderful memories of Manya and Sonya and the families. I hope ever yom will be alright.

    Love you,
    Your shvester

  2. HI I, sounds delicious!!! But, I do think when you roast in a glass pan, dry, with not moisture, is when you run the risk of the glass exploding when it hits a cold surface ( at least that was my experience). Maybe a metal sheet with parchment over it, maybe an enamel pan?? other ideas? SO fun to have all the tomatoes and herbs from you beautiful garden. xo, barbie

  3. P.S. Have you ever looked at Save A Child’s Heart Holon Israel?

  4. Love the photo! Your story, as always, is so graphic and adds so much to the recipe. Can’t wait to try it.
    I’m with you on the wish that peace in Israel, a long lasting one at that, can be achieved as soon as possible. Meanwhile our youngest granddaughter in Tel Aviv is loving getting together with her neighbors for these impromptu gatherings on the stairs (following the sirens)……

    • Thank you Ruth!! So nice! It was incredibly easy and can be used in so many ways!! So sad, you must be worried all the time. I am sorry that I have forgotten to ask how they are coping? I have not heard of it but I will look it up. Is Varda connected to it in some way?


  5. Looks delicious and i just bought some wonderful tomatoes at the farmers market! Hope there is peace in Israel soon All the best Jessica

  6. You’re making me hungry for a 2nd dinner, don’t do this to me!

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