For the past few years I have cultivated vegetables and herbs in my backyard. This year, with careful attention to watering because we have had a dry summer here in Ontario, I ended up with a treasure trove of fresh produce.
Fresh herbs are preferable in most dishes, and it is such a pleasure to go out a few steps and pick just what you need instead of buying a huge bunch of herbs from the market, most of which you know will likely go to waste. Why is it often so difficult to find portions that are manageable? I detest wasting food. Really, for most dishes do we really require a bushel of dill, cilantro or parsley? As it doesn't keep for all that long in the fridge, into the bin it sadly goes sometimes. I really don't have the space to dry it out, nor do I have room to grow herbs indoors during the winter as my houseplants have taken over the place, and I live with a cat besides.
Another pleasure is an abundance of fresh hot peppers. Spicy foods are so often on the menu in my home, and chilies are a must. The ones from the garden are so fresh, juicy and superior in flavor, and I don't have to go hunting around for the varieties that pack just the right amount of heat or drive to the nearest Indian market to get those cute little green chilies.
This brings me to my next favorite part of this summer's harvest: fresh tomatoes, and lots of them! In the past, I haven't had much success with growing tomatoes, but after taking some advice from my Dad's girlfriend I planted a variety called Early Girl tomatoes. These bright red meaty tomatoes start early and grow well throughout the season. It is now the beginning of September and there are still lovely tomatoes growing on the vine. I've given some to friends, made them into a variety of dishes, eaten them sliced up with a bit of fresh cracked black pepper, and roasted them in the oven. This time, I wanted to make them shine and stuffed them with a mixture of quinoa, cornmeal for a bit of crunch, hot garden peppers and spice for a bit of a kick, black olives, and a generous helping of fresh herbs.
These make for a wonderful appetizer, or turn them into a light meal served with a warm goat cheese salad on toasted bread with pesto. A colorful and delicious tribute to the waning days of outdoor summer dining.
Tip: If you store your tomatoes in the fridge, take them out an hour or two before preparing your dish as this will make it easier to remove the seeds and pulp.
|Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on September 3, 2012
Fresh garden tomatoes stuffed with a spicy and savory quinoa, olive and herb mixture
More stuffed goodness from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Quinoa
Stuffed Mushrooms with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Goat Cheese and Olives
Samosa-Style Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers with Goat's Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes
On the top of the reading stack: Mediterranean Harvest: Vegetarian Recipes from the World's Healthiest Cuisine by Martha Rose Shulman
Audio Accompaniment: Marko Furstenberg - Espenhain