Small-Batch Winter Thyme Roasted Tomatoes E.A.T #48

Canning, putting-up, or freezing doesn’t have to just be done in the summer when local, fresh produce is available. Often in the winter there are sales in supermarkets on good quality produce from around the world.

I am a fan of “small batch preserving” whether it is canning, freezing or pickling…..jams, marmalades, sauces….don’t have to be a grand production…but a soothing, easy and fun kitchen endeavor.

In my work as a food stylist I often run into great deals while shopping for photoshoots that I just cannot pass up. Such were these juicy grape tomatoes with the sweetest flavor ever. For the shoot I needed quite a few cartons and as often happens there were lots left over to make a few cans of this stunning and delicious thyme roasted tomato sauce.

Keep your eyes open while winter grocery shopping. Look out for email sales notices that offer price cuts for your favorite vegetables and fruits. Cold weather days, stuck inside? Good times for making a batch to eat, and one to save for later, using my easy-as-this recipe.

Olive oil, tomatoes, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and lots of fresh thyme are all you need, although you may come up with some clever ideas to make this sauce even better?

Roasted until tomatoes start to split open and get a bit of charring then put into clean class jars poking with a long wooden spoon or skewer to release any air bubbles and break down the tomatoes even more to release juices, fresh thyme added to jars….lid on and freeze.

Winter  gorgeous!

One quart for dinner with pasta, one jar in the freezer for later, both fresh and tasty.

Small Batch Winter Thyme Roasted Tomatoes


  • 4-6 pints grape or cherry tomatoes
  • good quality olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a large handful of fresh thyme, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line baking sheets (one or two) with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl toss the tomatoes in a generous splash of olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and most of the thyme, saving some to add to the finished jars of tomatoes.  Spread tomatoes out on baking sheets in single layer.
  4. Roast tomatoes until skins start to pop and char. I like a lot of char, but do what you like. Remove from oven. Pull out any larger thyme stems and toss.
  5. Divide roasted tomatoes between jars. Use a long wooden spoon or skewer poke tomatoes down into jars to release any air bubbles and release more juices. Add fresh thyme leaves to each jar.
  6. If freezing then leave a 1 inch head at the top of the jar to allow for the contents to expand when they freeze. Let cool completely before putting in the freezer.
  7. This is a great sauce for pasta, or for adding to soups. Very good with roasted chicken as well.


Thyme Roasted Hen with Plums, Citrus and New Potatoes

Celebrate Small might be a good motto for Holidays 2020.  A plump roasting hen pulled from the freezer, or bought fresh, along with a handful of fresh herbs is a good starting place.  I added cut up oranges, plums and potatoes in their skins to the pan.

Don’t be so hard on yourself this season. Take a deep breath. A one-pan dinner popped into the oven until it’s ready helps make life a little bit easier. Some days I feel I’m doing good to complete this sort of small task, but eat we must even as the world is whirling out-of-control around us.  Take a quick walk around your neighborhood while your bird is roasting.  Being active makes most things better. A cozy dinner helps as well. 

Serve roasted potatoes and fruit in a bowl with lots of the pan juices. You might think leaving the rind on the citrus is a no no, or combining them with new potatoes along with plums and lots of fresh thyme might be odd, but when they roast together with the hen in the pan juices they are simply delicious. 

I’ve always preferred a roasting hen to a turkey. They don’t take so long to cook, they stay juicier. I roast hens throughout the year always keeping one in my freezer. I buy local hens, grain fed and usually about 4 to 5 lbs for celebrations. Smaller sizes for everyday. 

Thank you for voting for Biden-Harris. Celebrate Small. Take care, wear your masks and be well.

Thyme Roasted Hen with Plums, Citrus and New Potatoes


  • One 4-5 lb roasting hen, rinsed & patted dry
  • 3 lbs new potatoes, cut in half or quarters
  • 6 plums, seeded and cut into quarters
  • 2 oranges, rind left on, cut into thick slices
  • a large handful of fresh thyme, divided
  • Olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of chicken broth


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place roasting hen on a flat work surface and pat skin dry a second time. Rub skin all over with olive oil. Generously rub in 2 tablespoons of the fresh thyme leaves. Place hen in a large heavy pan. I used a 12 inch cast iron, but any large pan with do. Season bird with salt and black pepper. 
  3. Roast the bird for about 40 minutes then add the new potatoes, plums and oranges to the pan. Pour in chicken broth. Continue to roast until the a meat thermometer inserted into the fattest part of the bird reads 160 degrees, another 30-40 minutes. You want the skin to be crisp and dark golden brown. Serve roasted hen cut into pieces with potatoes & fruit on the side. A chilled wine and a baguette for sopping up the juices on your plate is all you need.

Teresa Blackburn Food Styling

January Fortifications with Spicy and Aromatic DIY Infused Vodkas

I know, I know…it’s now January and “we” are supposed to show a bit of restraint. All those resolutions and all. Well it’s cold outside and the sun has not been seen here in Nashville much lately. It’s damp and dark. We need fortification!

Personally I like dark, Winter days. I call this time “hibernation with intent”. I enjoy puttering about and making stuff, such as  these incredible infused vodkas. “Blackberry-Thyme” and “Rose Petal and Pink Peppercorn”. One more full-bodied and hearty, the other more delicate and subtle. Both easy to make and very fortifying indeed.

Delicate rose petals and spicy pink peppercorns….vodka.

Juicy blackberries and herbal-scented thyme….and vodka.

Put jars in cool dark place such as closet. Shake every now and then. If you start the process on a Friday your flavored vodkas will be ready to decant for happy hour the next Friday.

Chilled, like the weather, until icy cold.

Stay cozy, Prost….Cheers…..Saluti….Skal.

DIY Boozy January

  • Print


  • 4 cups vodka
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup dried rose petals (food grade)
  • 1/4 cup whole pink peppercorns



  1. Pour 2 cups of vodka into 2 clean glass jars.
  2. Add to one jar the blackberries and thyme leaves. Push down into the vodka. Cover with tight-fitting lid.
  3. To second jar add rose petals and pink peppercorns. Stir. Cover with tight-fitting lid.
  4. Put both jars in a cool, dark cabinet or closet for 5 days. Shake each jar once a day.
  5. Decant each flavor of vodka by pouring through a fine mesh strainer into a measure cup. Then pour each one into glass bottles with tight-fitting lids. Stick in the freezer for a few hours. A shot will warm you up! I promise.  You can also use to make your favorite vodka cocktails.  How about as a gift? So many options.

Teresa Blackburn.

Winter Squash Roasted with Pomegranate Molasses and Thyme E.A.T. #33


 I am enjoying how we just slipped into Fall…no whimper, no bang…hardly a notice…just an opening of the eye and here we are. Fall foods are abundant. The deep green skins of acorn squash with a brush stroke of orange here and there.  Butternut squash so sweet when roasted turning to a deep rich gold.  Aren’t you glad Fall is here?

This bowl of roasted squash would be great for a holiday side.

 A couple of acorn squash and one butternut squash is quite enough for 4 people. Some fresh thyme scattered about and pomegranate molasses drizzled over before and after roasting gave the squash an amazing glaze with just right crisp edges. . The skin on both squash was soft enough to eat as well.  The key was using smaller size squash, which are easier to cut and naturally sweeter.Are you familiar with pomegranate molasses? It is pretty easy to find these days at larger supermarkets, but more often at import markets. I purchase it in Nashville at K & S Market on Charlotte Avenue.

There is no real recipe, just an easy how-to that can be prepped ahead of all the hustle and bustle. Add an easy roasted chicken, recipe here. It’s all as easy-as-this.

Pomegranate Molasses and Thyme Roasted Winter Squash


  • 2 smallish acorn squash
  • 1 smallish butternut squash
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate  molasses
  • 1 handful of fresh thyme
  • large flake sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Carefully cut all squash in half and scrape out seeds. Cut acorn squash into rings and then cut rings in half. Trim top from butternut squash and cut into pieces lengthwise.
  2. Toss squash with a bit of olive oil. Spread out flat on a sheet pan.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Drizzle squash with 1/4 cup of the pomegranate molasses. Sprinkle on sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss fresh thyme leaves over all.
  5. Roast for about 20 minutes. Squash should be fork tender, but not mushy. Remove from oven. Cover loosely if not serving immediately.
  6. Right before serving drizzle with remaining pomegranate molasses and additional fresh thyme sprigs. Double or triple recipe for a crowd.

Teresa Blackburn    www.


Pondering the Fungi – Shiitake and Crimini Mushroom Cheese Crust Pie

Looking through the latest issue of Donna Hay magazine while pondering what to eat for dinner I turned a page and beheld the most fabulous photographs of savory pies, crusty quiches, deep dish tarts…whatever you want to call them…and knew exactly what we would be having for dinner. A quick trip to the market and a couple of hours, and much pondering later, our Shiitake-Crimini Mushroom-Cheese Crust Pie was in the oven.

While I was taking photographs of the mushrooms and later while the pie was baking I spent some time pondering nature and how fantastic it is that we have environments where these little, almost precious looking, edible fungi thrive.  Relaxing musings.

This  led to me pondering about what would make any foolish person or persons in charge of overseeing the balance of our natural world want to change, damage or undo environmental policies that protect such environments. Anxious thoughts.

This line of thinking led me to reading about the world of mushrooms. I needed a diversion from the political path I was going down while  waiting for my pie to bake.  I was pretty happy to learn how adaptable they are to multiple and risky environments. Fungi can adapt in amazing ways to changes in the earth and still thrive. Happy ponderings.

Which led me to realize we humans are not in any adaptable league with fungi.  Sad thought.

The last 10 minutes of bake time I spent writing a note or two to a few congressman and the White House about their recent disregard for the environment, fungi and life on earth as we know it.  Hopeful Act.

Pie ponderings. No matter how much I cook I still learn new “tricks” that make so much cooking sense.  Such is the making of this crust. Once the springform pan is prepped and the cheese dough is well-chilled I grated it into and over the bottom. It’s so much easier to press down and up the sides. Grating the chilled dough also created a finished baked pie with a ruggedly ragged crust that is very striking. Thank you Donna Hay.

It looks a lot like fresh pasta doesn’t it?

Sauted mushrooms, Gruyère shredded, eggs, cream, fresh thyme leaves fill the crust……

….to be baked to a toasty brown perfection.

This is one of the best things I have made in a while. Crisp crust, velvety filling with the earthy mushrooms and the sharpness of Gruyère cheese. After all that pondering so very satisfying with a salad and glass of wine. Delicious thoughts.

Shiitake and Crimini Mushroom Cheese Crust Pie


Ingredients for crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour with 1 teaspoon salt mixed in
  • 1 1/2 cups cold butter chopped
  • 3/4 cup shredded aged white Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 large egg
  • a few tablespoon cold water if needed
  • parchment paper cut to fit 9″springform pan
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter for springform pan
  • a smear of Dijon mustard for the baked crust

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped small
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt & 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound mixed shiitake and crimini mushrooms, trimmed
  • 1 cup heavy cream, warmed in the microwave
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese (divided)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

Directions for crust:

  1. Place all ingredients except for the ice water in a food processor and pulse until well mixed. Remove lid and using fingers test dough to see if it will hold together. If not, replace processor lid and drizzle in, by tablespoons, cold water until dough starts to hold together. It can still be loose and slaggy.
  2. Dump dough onto a flat work surface and form into a firm ball. Cover with plastic and chill for 1 hour. (This could be done the day before just as well.)
  3. When ready to make pie preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9″ springform pan. Cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of the pan. Place in pan and butter paper.
  5. Grate well-chilled dough over the bottom of the pan evenly. Press in bottom and up sides of pan halfway leaving an uneven somewhat ragged edge.
  6. Line dough with a sheet of parchment or waxed paper, fill with pie weights or beans and bake for 25 minutes on a large sheet tray.
  7. Remove the paper and weights and cook for another 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Turn heat to 325.
  8. While crust is cooking saute onion and garlic, salt and pepper in olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat until onions are softened. Remove and set aside.
  9. Melt butter in same skillet and add mushrooms. Saute until lightly browned stirring often. Remove from heat.
  10. Slowly add the warm cream to the eggs, whisking as you add. Stir in half of the Gruyère cheese and thyme leaves. Add the cooked onion mixture.
  11. Smear the Dijon mustard over the bottom of the baked crust. Sprinkle mushroom over the crust. Gently pour the egg cheese mixture over the mushrooms. Sprinkle remainder of Gruyère and additional thyme if you like over the top.
  12. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, on a sheet pan, or until the center is set and pie is golden brown and puffy. Remove to a wire cooling rack for 30 minutes to cool before cutting. Serve cut into wedges to serve 4 or 6.

Adapted from a recipe from Donna Hay magazine.

Citrus & Thyme Soppin’ Good Roasted Spring Chicken


Dear Readers, Lest you think that I, Food on Fifth, sit around my kitchen all day eating tartlets, upside down cakes, spoon breads and pound cakes I am branching out this week.  As it is Spring here in Nashville in the best and most perfect sense of the word I am sharing our dinner from a week or so ago, a juicy citrus & thyme roasted chicken. A fresh, bright flavor due to all the citrus, very crispy skin, lots of juice in the bottom of the pan served alongside a freshly baked baguette from flour.sugar.eggs. for soppin’ & a bowl of lightly dressed arugula….an easy Spring dinner…oh my, so good.

Here is what you will need:

a good quality, Plump Roasting Chicken (I got this beauty from my local                        CSA, “Fresh Harvest”. This is just the best as you can choose what you want each week, order & pay online and the variety of choices is just astounding…meats, vegs, flowers, cheeses, bread, eggs…all organically grown from farms in the Nashville, TN area.)

 Whole Fresh Citrus – mandarins, oranges, clementines, lemons, grapefruit, whatever you have + 1/2 cup Orange Juice & 1/4 cup Lemon Juice freshly squeezed

Fresh Thyme Leaves (I have a Lemon Thyme in my garden so I used that.)

A few whole, peeled roasted garlic cloves & shallots

Olive oil, salt & freshly ground pepper


Here is what to do:

1. Wash chicken inside and out under cool running water. Pat dry. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan. Cut citrus into halves & chunks. Slice one lemon thinly.

2. Place the chicken in the roasting pan. Using your fingers (gloves if you prefer) gently loosen the skin over the breast of the chicken & insert a few lemon slices & thyme sprigs under the skin. Stuff the inside of the chicken with the shallots, a few sprigs of thyme & chunks of citrus. Tie the legs together using kitchen twine. Rub the outside of the skin with olive oil & sprinkle with salt & pepper & fresh thyme leaves.



3. Place all the citrus pieces around the chicken along with the garlic cloves & thyme sprigs. Pour the orange juice & lemon juice into the pan. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thicken part of the breast reads 165 degrees. I basted the chicken every so often with the pan juices.


Serve pieces of chicken with some of the pan juices & roasted citrus, a crusty baguette for soppin’ and a simple arugula salad.

Oh My, Hello Spring!

Borscht in a Bowl For Cold February Dinners


“Everything I do, I do on the principle of Russian borscht. You can throw everything into it – beets, carrots, cabbage, onions, everything you want. What’s important is the result, the taste of the borscht.” Quote by: Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Russian poet.

Ingredients  to make a pot of heart & body warming Borscht to ward off the Polar Vortex.

2 lbs. baby red potatoes, cut in half

3 lbs. red beets, peeled & cut into chunks

3 shallots or 1 small onion, chopped

Fresh Thyme

1/4 cup olive oil, kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

10 cups chicken stock/broth (divided)

1 generous tbsp Pomegranate Vinegar (from Trader Joe’s)

Serve with: a dollop of sour cream & additional thyme, warm crusty bread

(Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe for Ukrainian Borscht.)


1. Place red potatoes, beets, shallots & a few sprigs of thyme on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Sprinkle overall with a drizzle of olive oil, salt & black pepper. Roast vegetables in a 400 degree pre-heated oven for about 25-30 minutes.

Roasted Beets for Borscht

Borscht Vegs

2. Remove woody thyme stems from baking sheet & scrape all the roasted vegetables into a large soup pot. Add 8 cups of the chicken broth. Place pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes partially covered. If more liquid is needed then add a cup of water while cooking. Remove pan from heat & use a potato masher to “smash” the beets & potatoes together. Leave soup/borscht chunky. Add the 2 additional cups of chicken broth, reheat right before serving. Dollop with sour cream & sprinkle with additional thyme leaves.




Olympic Rings

Stay warm. Share. Think good thoughts.