Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Heirloom Tomatoes Stuffed with Couscous

The kids in California are back in school.  I repeat: the kids in California are back in school.  Um, what?  Where did summer go?  And also, why do kids start school in August?  In Virginia, we couldn't start school until after Labor Day so that the kids who worked at Busch Gardens could continue their gig until Labor Day weekend was over.  (I'm not sure if this is gospel, but that's at least what they told us.  It seems suspect now.)

Summer means many things to me, including summer movies.  Other than at Christmas, summer is essentially the only time when the good movies seem to hit theaters.  Every summer growing up, my mom gave both me and my brother  summer coupon books with the things we were allowed to do all summer.

We got a breakfast out, a couple of lunches out (I always choose Pizza Hut for the buffet, disgusting!), and of course, we each got to choose two movies each summer to see.  You had to think ahead using these coupons.  Don't use up your two movie coupons in June, because what if something good comes out in August?

Without the internet, I'm honestly stumped as to how we were able to forecast that summer's movies.  I guess we just saw the previews on TV and in the theater.  What was life like before Rotten Tomatoes?

We were able to choose a snack at the movies and I always went with Snow Caps.  Unlike my Pizza Hut decision, I am pretty proud of that one, looking back.  I am not proud, however, of my decision to use one of my summer movies on Waterworld.  Twelve year-old me failed with that one.

Other than movies, summer also brings wonderful juicy tomatoes that are perfect for this easy and delicious recipe.  Only use your ripest tomatoes (better over ripe and under ripe here), or else it will be impossible to scoop out the insides.  The couscous gets a wonderful flavor from the yogurt, harissa, and shallots.  Be sure to make this recipe while vibrant tomatoes are still available.  And be sure to catch a couple movies before all the good ones are gone.  I highly recommend The Help.  It's definitely worth using a coupon for.

Heirloom Tomatoes Stuffed with Couscous
From Super Natural Every Day

6 medium-large ripe tomatoes, preferably heirloom
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1-2 tablespoons harissa, depending on how spicy you prefer it
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for serving
10-12 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 shallots, minced
Fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup couscous (whole wheat, barley, or regular couscous)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a baking dish that fits your 6 tomatoes snugly, if possible (I had to use one that was a little large, and it worked fine).

Use a serrated knife to cut the top 10 percent of each tomato off.  Over a bowl, scoop the flesh from each tomato.  Let the juice and chunks fall into the bowl.  Be careful not to poke any holes in the side of the tomatoes.  Place the tomato shells in the greased baking dish.

To make the filling, combine 2/3 cup (5 oz or 140 g) tomato chunks and juice (break up any large chunks with your hands), yogurt, harissa, olive oil, most of the basil, the shallots and salt.  Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning as needed.  Add the couscous and stir to combine.  Spoon the filling into each tomato shell until nearly full.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the couscous is fully cooked and the tomatoes start to shrivel a bit.  Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining chopped basil just before serving.

1 comment:

  1. Your memory is correct and VA still sends kids back to school in Sept. due to the law that was named after King's Dominion....It's in Richmond so the Assembly cared more about it, but Busch Gardens reaped the benefits, too.


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