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Author Notes: if you follow my blog you know by now how much i love tomatoes. i have for as long as i can remember. as a kid, if we were having something i didn't like for dinner, i would just chop up a tomato and eat it with white rice (didn't know about the no-no carbs back then) or flat bread (same thing) or bite in to a whole salted tomato or two! there are always ripe tomatoes sitting in a bowl on my kitchen counter- i never refrigerate them-i was told by a local chef a few years ago that it changes their chemistry (and flavor). when my son visited his friend's grandparents in the french country side a few years ago, he came home raving about the incredible stuffed tomatoes he'd been served. naturally, i made my own version for him with ground beef and rice (persian style)...he liked them, but they were nothing like the tomates farcies he'd tasted in france. when i came across these amazing organic tomatoes at the market (they are in season and i am so happy) yesterday, i decided to make "tomates farcies". i also made an experimental vegetarian version with quinoa and fennel which was arguably better than the meat variety. some of us had three or four (!!) of these...it was a successful dish. —cookingminette
vegetarian stuffed tomatoes
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 fennel bulb, finely minced
- 2-3 scallions, finely sliced (or chopped chives)
- 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 small bunch chopped fresh dill
- 6-8 ripe roma tomatoes, emptied (inside juices and softer pulp set aside)
- sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1. combine the cooked quinoa with all of the chopped herbs, green onions, very finely chopped fennel, sea salt, pepper, and olive oil. finely chop up the tomato pulp that was set aside (from emptying the tomatoes earlier) and add to the mixture without too much of the juice.
- 2. carefully fill the tomatoes with the mixture, put the lids on loosely, and drizzle lightly with olive oil. bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. ** you can also add 2 tbs of good quality parmesan cheese to the mixture you fill the tomatoes with for additional flavor**
- 3. fresh QUINOA SALAD with fennel: after filling the tomatoes, you should have some mixture left over. add to this the lime juice, baby tomatoes, fennel greens, more chopped dill, and a dash of extra virgin olive oil. serve as a quinoa salad!
french style tomates farcies with grass fed beef
- 1 pound grass fed lean ground beef
- 1 yellow onion, finely minced
- 1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 8 large ripe tomatoes (heirlooms are good)
- 1 large bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- handfuls thyme sprigs (leaves)
- 1 small bunch fresh basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons good quality bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1. cut the tops off the tomatoes, then carefully empty the insides with the help of a small paring knife and a small spoon (be careful not to pierce them). save the softer pulp and juices from the insides in a bowl. allow the empty tomatoes to drain, and keep their lids near them.
- 2. in a heavy pot heat 1 tbsp olive oil, sautee the minced garlic and onions in the oil until softened and golden, then add and brown the beef with sea salt & pepper to taste. break up the beef pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula. chop up about 1/2 of the tomato pulp and add it with some of the juices to the browned beef and cook until the liquid is absorbed. turn off the heat, let the mixture cool slightly, then add all of the finely chopped herbs and mix well.
- 3. add about 3 tbs of good quality bread crumbs and combine well. taste for salt, and adjust.
- 4. with a spoon carefully fill the tomatoes with the mixture all the way to the top and cover loosely with their lids. place tomatoes tightly in a baking dish , drizzle lightly with olive oil, and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes-up to an hour.