Roasted Tomatoes and Red Peppers with Cheddar and Basil

Happy belated voting day!
After work last night, my husband and I drove straight to Sherwood High School and cast our ballots. It felt good, really good. The build up to this election was tremendous, with such epic referendums as same-sex marriage and TBOR, and awaiting the results was unbearable. The term ‘nail-biting’ comes to mind.
I won’t get into the politics of it, though I will say that I am mostly pleased with the outcome. Political opinions are heavy and should not be tossed haphazardly. Most discussions on the subject are simply battles of wit, and have no intention of productivity, from either side. People lash out their ideas with such force that opponents have no option but to retaliate with something stronger, smarter, more apt to sting. These ‘discussions’ are initially aimed a gaining ‘understanding’ of the other side; hearts beating proudly on sleeves, hands itching to be held, and arms eagerly outstretched, poised for a beautiful group hug.
This is a show. A big circus act with elephants, clowns, and bearded ladies, beckoning you inside. There you will sit, audience to an onslaught of regurgitated facts and op-ed quotes as they parade around with the trained little monkeys and piglets in tutus. Afterward, when you’re crying and frustrated, angry and disillusioned, the circus can pack up and drive away, claiming with a wave of the hand that you are just too close-minded to appreciate such modern, worldly attractions.
This is why I don’t argue politics. And I hate clowns.
Anyway. In honor of this momentous day, I give you a patriotic dish. And by patriotic, I mean it’s red, white and blue. Kind of. It’s on a blue plate. But hey, I’m tryin’ here!
Roasted Tomatoes and Red Peppers with Cheddar and Basil
This is extraordinarily easy, and can be made days in advance. Just cook the peppers and tomatoes and throw them in the fridge. When it comes time to serve, top with the cheese and put them under the broiler. I served this over basmati rice and it was delicious.
This can be made for any size crowd, with any amount of tomatoes and peppers.
red bell peppers, sliced
tomatoes, quartered, or halved if on the small side, and seeds removed
dried basil
kosher Salt
pepper (I like pepper mélange, a blend of black, white, pink (Schinus species), and green peppercorns.)
white cheddar cheese, shredded
extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 315 degrees F
Toss tomatoes in olive oil, just to coat. Sprinkle tops with basil, salt and pepper, and toss to coat. 
Spread tomatoes, skin side down, in a single layer in a baking dish lined with heavy duty aluminum foil. 
Bake for approximately 3 hours, or until melted-looking and lightly crisp around the edges. Increase oven temperature to 320 degrees after two hours.
Meanwhile, in a large pan, cook the red pepper in olive oil over medium/medium-low heat until soft, about 20 minutes.
When tomatoes are done, remove from the oven and preheat broiler on high. Add the red peppers to the baking dish and cover with a generous amount of cheese. Cook under broiler for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and browned in spots.
Enjoy on rice, pasta, chopped and mixed into an omelet, on top of a toasted baguette…be creative!
“He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” George Bernard Shaw
“The less government we have the better – the fewer laws and the less confided power. The antidote to this abuse of formal government is the influence of private character, the growth of the individual.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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