Friday, August 6, 2010

Take those tomatoes and stuff 'em!

The inspiration for this dish came to me as I was thinking  about tomatoes and various things people use to stuff them. I have a deep appreciation for both crab and scallops, so decided to use both for this really easy to make meal.

I picked up the tomatoes, lettuce, celery, and goat cheese from my local farmers market, and I used Monterey Jack cheese as well as the scallops and crab meat.

First, I cut the tops off the tomatoes and set them aside. Well, that's not completely true. I set some aside and ate the rest with a bit of salt on them. :-) While munching tomato tops, I scooped out the tomatoes then chopped up some celery which I had decided to add for both color and crunch. A dish like this definitely needed some texture, and celery came to the rescue nicely. I then shredded the Jack cheese and crumbled the chevre (goat cheese), then set both aside.

That done, I sautéed the scallops in butter with a touch of olive oil (olive oil helps the lycopenes in tomato become soluble and thus more easily absorbed into the body) and just a dash of white wine. Once done, I tossed in the crab, celery, and Jack cheese and mixed them together just long enough to warm the crab and slightly melt the cheese.

Next step was stuffing the tomatoes, which was easy. I added the chevre to two of the tomatoes just before popping it into the oven. Chevre is a creamy cheese that melts easily, so I didn't want to add it too soon and have it become too watery. I covered two of the tomatoes in shredded Monterey Jack and covered the two with chevre with slices of the Jack cheese simply so I could tell them apart since my son doesn't like chevre. I placed all four tomatoes on a stone pizza sheet and put them in the oven at 250 for about ten minutes... just long and hot enough to melt the cheese without softening the tomatoes too much. I cut the tops I hadn't eaten in half for garnish and served them on a bed of lettuce.

This slightly indulgent dinner was quick and tasty. I'm looking forward to making it again, though I'm considering other meats with which to stuff the tomatoes, perhaps ground beef with cheddar cheese and a little onion and green pepper? We'll see!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Grilled pizza!

One of my goals every summer is to turn on my oven as little as possible. It heats up the house, which is the last thing I want in the middle of a Colorado summer. As a result, I spend as much of my summer as I can putting things on the grill. I'd heard about grilled pizza, so I figured, why not?

The recipes I found all involved making the crust from scratch, which normally I'd be all over, but by the time I decided I wanted to grill my pizza, I was way too hungry to wait. I decided instead to use a pre-made crust from Rustic Crust. It's a healthy, tasty crust, and it isn't all that pricey; a definite good thing. After that, it's pretty easy: first, start up the grill. While the grill is warming up, prepare your pizza. I started out with pizza sauce from Eden Foods. I like Eden Foods particularly since their cans are BP-A free (the only company with BP-A free cans).

After that came pepperoni from Applegate Farms, cheese from Organic Valley, onion from my local farmers' market, and some fresh pineapple. At this point, the grill was ready.

One thing to definitely keep in mind when you put the pizza on the grill is to not put it directly over the heat source. If you have a gas grill, turn off one burner and put the pizza over that burner. If you're using a charcoal grill, move the charcoal off to the side. You definitely don't want to burn the crust...burned pizza crust just sucks. Once the grill is ready, just put the pizza on the grill, close the cover, and let it cook for about 8-10 minutes, just long enough to melt the cheese and heat up the toppings.

The pizza itself ends up with a nice, crispy bottom and a smoky flavor you just can't get from popping it in the oven. It's quick, easy, and a recipe I plan to repeat.