Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sunny-Time Stuffed Tomatoes

Summer is here… sort of. The Solstice (along with Seattle’s naked-bike-ride Solstice parade) came and went, and so did that fleeting glimpse of sun we had. You may think it’s silly that I talk about the weather ALL time, but that’s what we do here in Seattle. We’re sort of obsessed. When the sun shines, everyone is talking about it. And when the sun doesn’t shine, everyone is talking about that, too. “How ‘bout this weather” isn’t just small talk to Seattleites, it’s a serious, and often heartfelt, topic. This NY Times article (with shout-outs to some of my favorite Seattle eateries!) hits the nail right on the head: “During my stay [the weather] was and wasn’t [good], the rain coming and then going and then coming back, with local residents issuing a running commentary about that. Although they’re touchy about Seattle’s soggy reputation, they do seem unusually jubilant — even evangelical — about drier days.”

It’s true. We really want to convince you that it’s not that rainy in Seattle, that it’s totally sunny and beautiful here. And it IS, a few months out of the year… I swear. But, since it hasn’t been sunny yet, our summery produce has been slow on the uptake. If you know anyone with a garden in Seattle, they’ll tell you about how the weather is affecting their plants. Especially tomatoes. This dreary weather doesn’t lend to ripe, juicy tomatoes. Some of you out there probably have great tomatoes right now. So, this is for you. Everyone else can come back to this post in a month, when places like Seattle WILL be hot and sunny and bursting with fresh, abundant produce.

When I was kid, summers were full of ripe tomatoes from our garden. One summer, my grandma was making the rounds (first to Idaho to visit my aunt, then to Washington to see us). She and my aunt had made tomatoes stuffed with all kinds of good stuff, like bacon, green onions, and cheddar. She liked it so much, that she wanted to share it with us, too. The original recipe was supposed to be baked, but it was so hot out that we just stuffed them and ate them fresh... and they were so good we made them again the next night. I think Grandma ate nothing but stuffed tomatoes that summer.

The last few years, I’ve searched high and low, but haven’t been able to find the recipe. So, last summer—when you could hardly move without bumping into a crate of super-ripe tomatoes—I decided to just wing it. I planned to tell you about it at the time, but then I found this fabulous site, They Draw & Cook, and I wanted to draw the tomatoes and recipe, and submit it for a book. And then I was planning to post the recipe with my drawing for all of you. But then I didn’t finish the drawing, and I had other things, like nectarines, to tell you about. The next thing I knew, tomatoes were no longer in season, and I had yet to share this recipe. This is how far I got on my drawing. I was clearly distracted.

Fresh Stuffed Tomatoes
Serves 2-4

Heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes (2 large to 4 medium/small)
1 cup trim cottage cheese
2 green onions- thinly sliced
1 tablespoon seasoned breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon worchestershire
1 tablespoon mayo
3 slices bacon- cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh dill- chopped
Cut tops off of tomatoes, and scoop out the insides. Dice the insides and toss into a bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in bowl w/diced tomatoes, stir until combined, salt and pepper to taste. Stuff tomatoes with filling. Enjoy fresh on a hot summer night!
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