Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella in Olive Oil

So, I was outside watering my flowers this morning, when I noticed that some of them were looking a little straggly. I grabbed some scissors and started snipping away at them. I remotely remember a slight tugging at my hair, but really didn’t pay attention until I stood up and felt a definite tugging. I felt my hair, and there was nothing there. I noticed a cobweb hanging from my bird bath, and realized that my hair must have gotten caught in the web, and that’s what I was feeling.

Yeah, that was it.
A cobweb.
It was then that I noticed some movement on the side of my glasses.
It was no cobweb!
It was a spider hanging from the string of his web off the side of my head!

Okay, so it’s here in my story that I’m going to probably exaggerate a little…

But this spider was huge! I swear it was tarantula size (not really, he was smaller than a pea..), tugging away at my hair as he swung from his web rope from my head. I think that I made that blood curdling scream (doubtful, I really don’t scream). My heart started palpitating. There could have been a little black out, but I don’t remember (most likely not).

And I know for sure that I did the dance.

I did the spider dance long and hard, making guttural noises that could only come from an animal being attacked. I’m sure that the sounds coming from me resonated through the woods, that people and animal alike, stopped what they were doing to wonder what living being could possibly make that terrifying noise (all of that very true..)…

I’m certain most of you know that when you go to brush a spider off of the top of your head that he hangs on his web rope from your hand. And when you shake your hand to get him off, he just swings back and forth as if he’s on some sort of amusement park ride… until he finally flies off… and your spider dance morphs into a kind of running in place for another minute or two while you shake your hands and wipe them on your shorts, whimpering and trembling. Right?

And then I composed myself.
Checked my hair to make sure that there weren’t any more spiders…
Looked around the yard to see if there was anyone watching me besides my dog.
And then went back to nonchalantly watering my flowers as if nothing had happened. (Not true. I was on full spider watch until I finished.)

I swear that I belong in my kitchen more than I belong in a garden. I still have the heebee jeebies from that episode a few hours ago! While I do love an uneventful work in the garden, I prefer to be in the kitchen enjoying the rewards of the summer, and creating recipes.

I’ve admitted to being a glutton with the cherries this year, and it’s happening again with tomatoes. I found a lovely variety of cherry tomatoes, that turned into a sweet delight after being roasted in the oven with some garlic, jalapeños, and fresh thyme. Packed in olive oil with fresh mini balls of mozzarella, these tomatoes make such a delicious topping for toasted garlic baguette slices, or tossed with pasta, grilled chicken or fish topper…or…if you’re like me, eaten out of the jar with a spoon…. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…This is exactly why I insist that you should always, always carry a spoon in your pocket!

Making these marinated roasted tomatoes is so quick and easy, that you’ll want to keep them in your refrigerator for the rest of the summer!

Life is good…when it’s not filled with spiders. Did you know that a cobweb is just an abandoned spider’s web?

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella in Olive Oil
Safety Note: They will only keep for about a week in the refrigerator, and very important: Make sure that they’re always covered with olive oil, even if you have to top it off periodically throughout the week!
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fresh mini mozzarella balls
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Olive oil (enough to fill the jar of tomatoes)
  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
  2. On a large baking sheet, combine the cherry tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, smashed garlic, thyme springs and olive oil. Make sure that everything is completely coated with the olive oil. Generously sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
  3. Roast in the oven uncovered for about 2 - 2½ hours.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  5. Slice the jalapeños.
  6. Pack the roasted tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño slices, mozzarella balls, and fresh thyme into a quart size jar. Top with olive oil until it completely covers the tomato mixture.
  7. Store in refrigerator for up to one week.


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