Oven-Dried Tomatoes
Three half-pint jars

4 pounds plum tomatoes
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 225F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Cut the tomatoes in half and gently sqeeze out the seeds and liquid using your finger to assist the seeds on their way. Lay them close together on the baking sheet cut side up. Combine all the herbs and spices except for the orange zest and bash them in a mortar or lay them between two sheets of saran wrap and crush them with a rolling pin or heavy frying pan. When they are coarsely crushed mix in the orange zest and crumble the spices evenly over the tomatoes.

Roast in the oven until dried (but still bendy), approximately 4 to 6 hours. They'll look a bit like dried peaches or apricots when they're done. Check them around the 3 1/2 hour mark and take out any that are done while the rest continue to cook.

Pack the tomatoes into sterilized jars and pour over enough olive oil to cover. The recipe calls for half pint jars and should make enough for 3 jars. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 3 months. The oil will become seasoned as it sits and can be used itself to lend an interesting touch to different dishes. The oil may congeal, if so just let the jar come to room temperature before using. If you're not making this as a gift you could store it in tupperware, it will just need to be used up a bit sooner.

-Sally Pasley Vargas, Food for Friends: homemade gifts for every season