Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tuesday Tutor with Sharky Oven Gloves

Stuffed Tomatoes
Baked Beef-Stuffed Tomatoes


Each Tuesday I ask a friend to be my tutor for a day. I select one of their original recipes, I follow my friend's recipe instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I sample the results - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe. Learn More



Mel has simply the most interesting jobs of any blogger I've met - she studies sharks! Now, the closest I've ever been to a shark is Nat Geo's Shark Week. Unless you count those trips to the zoo with little miniature sharks. And even then, I won't stick my hand in the water! But Mel not only works studies real sharks, she's even named her blog after them. Sort of.

Besides her marine exploits, Mel also has real passion for food and travel. Much of her blog is devoted to baked goodies - like this Banana, Hazelnut & Spiced Rum Upside-down Cake. I was seriously tempted to try one of her baked temptations, but with so many gorgeous tomatoes flooding local markets, I really couldn't resist these stuffed tomatoes. I've never made stuffed tomatoes before so I was a bit nervous, but I'm glad I took the challenge because these were delicious!

So please give a big welcome to Mel - Welcome, Mel! And thank you so much for being my tutor!



Melanie from Sharky Oven Gloves
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Mel is the author of Sharky Oven Gloves, a blog which generally focuses on from-scratch and seasonal cooking and baking. Mostly baking actually. In "real life," she’s a marine science PhD student who lives in northern rural New Zealand and has "procrastibaking" down to a fine art.

Featured Recipe: Baked Beef-Stuffed Tomatoes


More About Today's Tutor
  1. I work on shark and ray behaviour, which isn't nearly as glamorous as it sounds, but is definitely heaps of fun. I've been fascinated by sharks since I saw some local fishermen catch a hammerhead when we lived in Nigeria. They dragged it up the beach to show us and it was just the weirdest animal that I'd ever seen. My interest was piqued and I found out everything I could about sharks. I was about seven at the time, and have wanted to study sharks ever since. Ultimately I'd love to work on hammerheads, but for now I'm perfectly happy to work on adorable eagle rays and swell sharks.
     
  2. Unsurprisingly, I frequently get given shark-themed gifts, including the fabulous pair of shark-shaped oven gloves after which my blog is named.
     
  3. I'm half-French, half-Scottish. My appreciation of good food and sitting down to enjoy it was totally shaped by my French mum who, as far as I can remember, always cooked or baked from scratch, as well as my whole French family who always ate seasonal produce from their garden, something which clearly made a huge impression on me without me even realising it.
     
  4. I'm super lucky to currently live in rural NZ, where it's incredibly easy to eat both locally and seasonally, something that I actively try to do. Not only do we have a brilliant local farmer's market but loads of my labmates have fruit trees and they always bring any surplus in to share around the lab. I usually take some of this surplus back to the lab in the form of cake. The arrangement works out perfectly for everybody.
     
  5. When I was little, apple crumble was my favourite thing ever, largely because making the crumble mixture was my job and I used to love getting my hands all messy. I still do actually. And I hope I never grow out of it – creating a mess is half the fun of baking!



How to Make: Baked Beef-Stuffed Tomatoes
For a printable recipe and complete list of ingredients and steps, see the original recipe

9 Large Ripe Tomatoes
You will need at least 8 large, ripe tomatoes (I used 9). Beef-steak tomatoes work well.

Cap Removed from Tomato
Cut off the tops of each tomato (but try to keep the matching tomato and top together for later).

Pulp Removed from Tomato
Scoop out the tomato innards and reserve for later. I discovered a small ice cream scoop works well. Avoid damaging the integrity of the outer tomato structure.

Tomatoes Sprinkled with Kosher Salt
Sprinkle the inside of each tomato with kosher salt.

Tomatoes Draining on Lined Baking Sheet
Turn the tomatoes upside down to drain on a lined baking sheet. Let the tomatoes drain for about an hour.

Torn Bread in Food Processor
For the filling and topping, you will need fresh bread. I used the food processor to coarsely grind about 1 1/2 cups of bread.

Crumbled Bread in Glass Measure
Add 1 cup of coarse bread crumbs to a measure.

Milk Added to Crumbled Bread
Add 4-6 Tablespoons of milk to the bread and mix to moisten the crumbs. Let the bread soak up the milk while you prepare the remaining filling ingredients.

Homemade Breadcrumbs
Grind the remaining 1/2 cup of bread into fine crumbs and reserve for later.

Olive Oil in Saute Pan
In a large saute pan, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.

Diced Onions
While the oil heats, dice 2 medium yellow onions.

Sauteed Onions
Add the onions to the pan and saute for 4-5 minutes until softened.

2 Cloves of Garlic with Garlic Press
Mince or press 2 cloves of garlic.

Minced Garlic Added to Sauteed Onions
Add the garlic to the pan and saute for a minute or two.

Chopped Fresh Rosemary
While the onions and garlic saute, chop 2 Tablespoons of fresh rosemary.

Bunch of Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
Chop a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley.

Stuffed Tomato Filling in Food Processor
Add 1 1/4 pounds of ground lean beef to the food processor fitted with the steel blade; to the beef, add the moistened bread, rosemary, parsley, 1 large egg, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper.

Stuffed Tomato Filling Mixture Combined in Food Processor
Pulse to combine the filling until well mixed.

Sauteed Onions Added to Meat Mixture
Transfer the filling to a bowl and add the sauteed onions and garlic to the meat mixture.

Onions Mixed to Stuffed Tomato Filling
Thoroughly combine.

Stuffing Tomatoes
Fill each tomato with the beef filling, pressing down to ensure the tomatoes are completely stuffed. Nestle the tomatoes in a baking dish - try to use a baking dish that's barely large enough so that the tomatoes can support each other.

Tomatoes Topped with Breadcrumbs and Butter
Sprinkle approximately 1 Tablespoon of the reserved breadcrumbs over the top of each filled tomato and place a shaving of butter on top of the breadcrumbs.

Stuffed Tomatoes Capped with Tops
Place the tomato caps back on top of each tomato and press down slightly to ensure the cap remains in place. Spoon the reserved tomato pulp between each of the tomatoes.

Stuffed Tomatoes, Baked
Bake the tomatoes for 45 minutes at 400F.

Stuffed Tomatoes
Serve immediately.


Thoughts while scarfing...
  • With such a simple ingredient list and a complete lack of cheese (you know how much I love cheese), I was a tiny bit nervous that the filling would be somehow lacking. I was wrong. The filling is perfect. The rosemary transforms the beef and tomato into such a warm and comforting dish - perfect for fall. I can't stress this enough - try these tomatoes!
     
  • The filling did get a little bit dense as it cooked. This is the first time I've made stuffed tomatoes, so maybe that's normal. But part of me thinks adding a wee bit of freshly ground parmesan cheese might loosen things up. Or maybe a little gruyere (Mel's suggestion). (I will attempt to add cheese to almost anything!)
     
  • Mel recommends serving these stuffed tomatoes with couscous or rice - I actually enjoyed mine with a bit of bread for soaking up the flood of juice from the tomato. I could also easily see serving this with a side of orzo pasta (especially for those who are rice-adverse).
     
  • Mel recommends adding the tomato caps during the last 20 minutes of baking to avoid burning the caps, but I kind of cheated and left them on for the entire bake time. Fortunately, nothing dreadful happened - although the breadcrumbs on top didn't really crisp. But I was far too busy enjoying the tomatoes to give it a second thought.

13 comments:

  1. Good morning Mark! Hope your week is off to a great start! Wish I had some apple cider recipe to contribute, since I LOVE apple cider, but I don't; therefore, I contributed an apple dish. :) Thanks for a great blog hop and have a wonderful week!

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  2. Nice to meet you Melanie! What an interesting job! If I had your job I would give shark gifts too. :) Great recipe! I see meat stuffed bell peppers a lot, but never tomatoes. Great tutorial Mark! I definitely need to try these!

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  3. I can't complain - the week is off to a great start & I hope the same for you, MJ. Apple cider is one of my favorite beverages and I'm really hoping there will be at least a couple recipes (I need more ideas!). But I love the sound of the apple snack and I never realized cinnamon stops the browning process...

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  4. Isn't Mel's job awesome? And I love the idea of owning a pair of sharky oven gloves :) I'm so glad you enjoyed the tutorial (I had a great tutor) and I highly recommend these tomatoes. I personally liked them much better than stuffed peppers I've had in the past (but then I may not have had good stuffed peppers!)...

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  5. One of these days I need to do an apple cider cocktail! I do know one. ;-) Good stuff, as always, and loads of fun - thanks for organizing.

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  6. I've never stuffed a tomato - I should someday. This looks terrific. And great to meet Melanie, who is new to me. What a fun job she has! And a great tutor.

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  7. I would love to visit Mel at her job and get a *little* closer to hands-on with some sharks ;) And now that I've stuffed a tomato once, I feel like it's something I have been doing a lot longer...

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  8. Oooooh, a cider cocktail! I love the sound of that, John. I'd definitely give it a go...

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  9. So glad that you chose this dish and that you loved it as much as I do – it's one of my favourites! I really love that you used different colours of tomatoes and I'd love to try your suggestion of adding cheese. I love cheese! But I'll have to wait for tomatoes to come into season here though…

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  10. Great to meet Melanie and read about her far-from-ordinary job. Although I don't eat meat I appreciate the love and attention that goes into dishes such as this, where it is all about the quality of the ingredients. I've stuffed tomatoes with chermoula-spiced mackerel, rice and loads of herbs. No cheese, but very hippy!

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  11. I was fortunate to have a great tutor :D And I was also very fortunate to find such lovely red and yellow tomatoes - when I saw them, I couldn't resist. Thank you again for being such a lovely tutor, Mel!

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  12. Ooooh, a mackerel/rice stuffed tomato sounds very tasty, Kellie! I know my mom used to stuff peppers with a ricotta/pecan/vegetable mixture which I recall was a good substitute for meat... I'm glad you enjoyed getting to know Mel and I'm happy the meat didn't put you off :)

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  13. it’s nice blog on Oven Gloves you can learn more on gloven.co.uk please check.

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