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

Pie For Dinner

I’m Stressed!  I’m experiencing two things that are not compatible with each other.  One is writing this blog where I want to include baked goods, and more importantly reading other blogs where there is all kinds of wonderful baking going on; and two is trying to follow a low carbohydrate diet plan.  Baked goods, generally speaking, have no place on a strict low carb diet.  I need to bake something to bring my stress level down.  I want to stir something or roll out something like pie dough or cookie dough.  Yeah, that would help out a lot!  I don’t need to eat it, just make it.  What to do?

Well after giving this situation a lot of thought,  I decided to make a pie.  Not a dessert pie, no sireee; a dinner pie.  My analysis of the standard pie crust shows that 1/8th of a 9-inch pie contains 13 Gms. carbohydrate, none of which comes from sugar.  This is well under the 20 Gms. I’m limiting myself to per day.  So then I needed to figure out what the filling should be.  I decided on cheeses and fresh tomatoes flavored up with pesto.  With the creative juices flowing, and the stress level coming down, I set to work mixing up the pie dough. Cutting in that shortening and rolling out that dough takes muscle, but I was up for it!

Here then,  ladies and gentlemen, I present to you for the first time, my newest creation:  Fresh Tomato and Ricotta Cheese Pie

INGREDIENTS:

Makes 8 servings

  • pie dough for a single crust 9-inch pie, either home made or store-bought
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 large tomatoes, and 4-5 grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Fit pie dough into a 9-inch pie pan.  Do not prick.  Line with heavy-duty foil.

2.  Bake at 450 degrees for 5 minutes.  Remove foil and continue baking for 8 more minutes.  Remove from oven.  Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

3.   In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, salt and pepper to taste, and egg.

4.  Spread the cheese mixture in the partially cooked pie crust.

5.  Slice each large tomato into wedges, small tomatoes in half.  Remove as many seeds as possible.   Arrange attractively  on top of cheese layer.  Heirloom tomatoes produce vibrant colors ranging from pale yellow, pale pink,   purplish red,  even striped.  No two taste alike.  A tomato is a beautiful thing!  Mixing 2-3 varieties together makes a pretty presentation.

6.  In a food processor, process basil, garlic and olive oil until coarsely chopped.  Drizzle over the tomatoes.  I used my own previously made basil pesto, or you could use commercially prepared pesto here.

7.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  The filling will firm up a little more as it cools, so allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting.

8.  The finished product!  I served this pie with chicken salad on a bed of greens and a cucumber salad with a vinaigrette dressing.  I would also serve this dish as an entree for brunch along with some bacon or ham.  Oh, Yum!  The best part of all folks,  I didn’t just make it —-I got to eat it, too.  I am no longer stressed!

SOURCE:   a Carolyn Original