Monday, September 10, 2012

Stuffed Tomatoes

Are your tomato plants so fertile that your garden practically throws tomatoes at you as you pass by? Do the neighbors close their blinds when they see you coming, with produce basket in hand?  Do more BLT sandwiches elicit a groan from your family diners?  Do you have to tape the freezer door shut to hold all the containers of tomato sauce? If so, it must be harvest time for those possessed of green thumbs!  Around the world, the tomato reigns as a member of Garden Royalty, in fact 93% of garden-growing households grow tomatoes, and on average, Americans consume about 24 pounds of tomatoes each year. Following are two versions of stuffed tomatoes: the first is a broccoli-ham filling with rich cheddar and nutty Parmesan cheese accents.  I took a bit of artistic license with the second, an Arab version filled with hashwi, a spicy ground beef, onion and rice mixture, but I'm sure if an Arab cooked stuffed tomatoes, she would do it like this!

Stuffed Tomatoes
6 medium large tomatoes
1 1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets, cooked and drained
1 tab. oil
1/3 cup finely minced fresh onion
1 cup finely chopped ham
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tab. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

-Cut off the stem end of each tomato and with a small paring knife and tablespoon, carefully scoop out the pulp and seeds from each tomato, leaving the outer flesh about 1/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle each tomato cavity liberally with salt and pepper and place on cookie sheet, cavity side down, over sink or large bowl and allow to drain for about 20 minutes.

-Meantime, heat oil in medium skillet.  Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  In mixing bowl, combine broccoli, cooked onions, ham, mayonnaise, lemon juice salt and pepper to taste, cayenne pepper, cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese.  

-Rinse out tomato shells then fill with 1/6 of the broccoli/ham mixture.  Sprinkle tops with bread crumbs and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  

-Place filled tomatoes in ovenproof dish, packed in tightly to keep tomatoes from toppling during baking.  Place in 350 degree preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until topping is browned.  Allow to sit 10 minutes before serving.

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