Where’s the Beef—-steak?

Tomato, Squash, and Red Pepper Gratin

In this case the beefsteaks come in the form of juicy ripe tomatoes.  Combined with other fresh garden vegetables, quinoa, and eggs this casserole is a meal in itself.  We are making an effort to go meatless at least one day a week, so when I found  this recipe I decided to try it out.  It turned out to be  so hearty and satisfying all you need add is a green salad.

Quinoa is the new darling of the grain world and if you have not tried it yet this dish “hides” it so well you will not know it’s there.  Quinoa has double the protein and fiber of rice so I felt that I owed it to myself to give it a try.  I must admit I was not overly taken with it when served plain, but when combined with other ingredients it is enjoyable with its nutty flavor.   If you know someone who is a little hesitant to try something new,  this recipe will be a good way to introduce them to quinoa.

TOMATO, SQUASH, AND RED PEPPER GRATIN

SERVES    6

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 pound yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced basil, divided**
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme**
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat milk ( 2%)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese; Gruyere, Swiss or other good melting cheese.
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup seasoned croutons
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, cut into 8 slices

** If fresh basil and thyme are not available you may use the following dried herbs:  1 teaspoon basil and 1/2 teaspoon thyme.

DIRECTIONS

1.   Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare an 11 x 7 inch glass or ceramic baking dish by coating with cooking spray.

2.  Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add 4  teaspoons oil; swirl to coat.  Add onion; cook for 3 minutes.  Add bell pepper; cook 2 minutes.

3.  Add squash and garlic; cook 4 minutes.  Place vegetable mixture in a large bowl.

Stir in quinoa, 1/4 cup basil, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper.

Egg mixture with dried herbs, added.

4.  Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, milk, eggs, and cheese in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add milk mixture to vegetable mixture, stirring until just combined.  Spoon into prepared baking dish.

5.  Place seasoned croutons in a food processor; pulse until coarse crumbs form.  Instead of that, I like to put them in a zip-lock bag and pound lightly with a meat mallet to form coarse crumbs.     (no extra dishes to wash!)

Ready for the oven.

6.  Arrange tomatoes evenly over vegetable mixture.  Top evenly with crumbs.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until topping is browned.  Sprinkle with remaining basil before serving.

  

SOURCE:   Cooking Light,  August, 2012

Stuffed With Good Stuff

Looking back over my more recent blog postings I was struck by how many contained the word “stuffed”:  Stuffed Peppers, Stuffed Zucchini, Stuffed Mushrooms.  I didn’t realize until now how many vegetables I prepare with a stuffing that seems to make the base veggie  as well as the stuffing itself so much better–one enhances the other.  Well, if you can stand another such recipe this one uses those nice big tomatoes fresh from the garden.   You know, the ones that could be a meal in themselves.

These big boys are juicy and tender, and contain a filling on the order of a salsa, but better because of the cheese and breadcrumbs.  I served them with a fillet of tilapia, lightly crisped with a cornmeal crust, and a mixed greens salad.  This was so good my husband has requested that I make it all again very soon. I only made two but next time I will make the full recipe of four, as I think they would make a great lunch just rewarmed in the microwave.  The nice thing about this recipe is that you can make only half, or double it and make 8 if you’re feeding a larger group.

TOMATOES STUFFED WITH CORN AND BLACK BEANS

SERVES     4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4  beefsteak tomatoes, or large heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels ( from one ear of corn)
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts separated, and thinly sliced.
  • 1/2 to 1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar, divided
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs, divided.  I used prepared seasoned bread crumbs, 1/2 cup total, divided.
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • salt and pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Coat an 8″ square pan with non-stick spray.

2.  Cut top 1/2 inch from each tomato, and scoop out flesh and seeds.  Turn upside down on paper towel to drain while you prepare the stuffing.  Don’t waste a bit of these delicious tomatoes–use the flesh you scoop out here to make a simple bread to go along with your meal.  (see below)

3.  In a medium skillet heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat.  Add corn and scallion whites and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the jalapeño, black beans, 1/4 cup cheddar, 1/2 cup bread crumbs (or 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs) and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix the filling ingredients all together.

4.  Turn the tomatoes right side up.  Sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper, and spray or brush the skins with olive oil.  Place in baking dish.  Fill the tomatoes with corn mixture.  Combine remaining 1/4 cup cheese, 1/2 cup bread crumbs (1/4 cup seasoned crumbs),   and 2 teaspoons oil.  season with salt and pepper and divide among the tomatoes.

5.  Tent loosely with foil and bake 10 minutes.  Uncover and bake until tomatoes are soft and breadcrumb topping is deep golden, about 5 minutes more.

PAN CON TOMATE

This is a simple Spanish appetizer, and the name means Bread with Tomato.  Here’s how to make it:

Spread reserved tomato flesh on rustic bread–a crusty loaf, split in half lengthwise.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of herbs (any).  Bake in a 450 degree oven until the edges are brown and crisp, about 10 minutes.  Watch carefully  so it doesn’t get too browned.  Serve with more olive oil for dipping.

SOURCE:   Everyday Food