Fresh garlic, 1 to 2 cloves per tomato (1 for medium and 2 for large)
Ripe tomatoes (from the farmers market or homegrown are best!), any size will work
Herbs, fresh or dried – your favorites (rosemary, basil, oregano)
Balsamic vinegar, 1 to 2 tsp. per tomato
Whole grain crusty bread
Zucchini (1 medium zucchini for each large tomato)
Finely mince garlic cloves and set aside (see tip below). Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for convection ovens).
After rinsing each tomato, use a sharp knife or tomato corer to remove the area just underneath the stem, making a shallow "scoop"—do not deeply core them. Slice each tomato in half, horizontally, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cut side facing up (and top/bottom of tomato facing down). Sprinkle each tomato with chopped garlic, herbs, pepper and balsamic vinegar and cook until desired texture and flavor has been achieved (30-plus minutes). You can also use a dehydrator for this recipe.
If oven space allows, toast bread and/or cook the zucchini while tomatoes are roasting. To make zucchini boats, slice each zucchini in half from top to bottom, and scoop out just enough of the flesh to make a small well along the length (it will catch liquid when topped with roasted tomatoes). Sprinkle with black pepper and roast until just beginning to get tender. Do not overcook, as the zucchini will continue to soften once removed from the oven and leftovers will reheat much better if initially, they are slightly undercooked.
The Nutrition Professor's Prep Smart/Eat Smart Tip: To maximize the amazing health benefits associated with using garlic in your recipes, be sure to chop it finely (or use a garlic press) and then let it sit for about 10 minutes before cooking or adding any acid (lemon juice, tomatoes, etc.). This waiting time will allow the most healthful compounds to develop, which will then remain active when heated or incorporated with other ingredients.