Can you Show me the Way to the Garden, Please?
This time of year offers some of the nicest months in New England. I am fond of it. Summer is usually no longer scorching hot, and humid days are scarce. I like to notice that things become quieter too. Have you noticed how loud summer can be? It never fails to surprise both P. and I. Whether it is the crickets, the cars, people screaming in the street, our neighbors even, or just the sunlight that I find *loud* since it is so much in our faces all the time, I do not know what it is but I always think that summer is much louder than fall, not to mention winter when snow makes everything so nicely peaceful. Seasons do speak and produce sounds! Whereas everything seems to be more agressive in July, in August however, everything seems cooler, even with temperatures in the 80s. They just feel different. In fact, the transition between summer and fall is one of my favorite times of year in Boston: we usually enjoy beautiful Indian summers. And how nice those are here! If the last few weeks we have had mark the end of bye-bye awful hot weather to hello-nice Indian summery days, then I am very happy. I can sleep well since nights get cool and mornings are simply magical with breakfasts taken outside on the patio. A feeling of never-ending vacation. C’est pas fini, hein? (Not ended, is it?) July seems to have only been a haze with torrid heat — I can literally remember little of what I did since my head seemed to have constantly been overheated — but now, I feel regained energy. Ah que j’aime la fin du mois d’août et le mois de septembre en Nouvelle-Angleterre. (I love the end of August and September in New England).
Of course, I want to accomplish zillions of projects. And cooking ones as well. Clearly, twenty four hours in one day do not seem close to be sufficient to do it all. Pretty much the same for everyone, right? And my love for tomatoes is as big as ever. I just cannot get enough of the gorgeous looking Heirloom tomatoes found at local vegetable markets. I know that this looks like une scène de déjà-vu. But we have a saying in French. Quand on aime, on ne compte pas ! (When one loves, one does not count!). I believe that I must have said that I had a particular liking for stuffed foods, vegetables amongst others. What is not to like about those juicy-looking, red, round and fat tomatoes?
The combination of ricotta cheese with veal gives softness to both the texture and the flavor of this dish. When other stuffing recipes use garlic, onion or chair à saucisse (sausage meat), this farce is purposely void of them, to maintain the mild taste I was after. I can use ground veal alone, but I can also sometimes add ground lamb. Playing with various types of herbs and spices can bring totally different experiences as well. When you love to make stuffed vegetables, possibilities to make la farce (stuffing) are endless. I can confess: je pourrais manger cela tous les jours, vraiment ! (I could eat this every day, really!)
- 4 large local Heirloom tomatoes
- 7 to 9 oz ground veal
- 7 oz fresh ricotta (or 120 g)
- 1 Tbsp tarragon, chopped
- 1 Tbsp oregano, chopped
- 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 egg
- Wash your tomatoes and slice the top (half an inch). Remove the flesh inside with a spoon, sprinkle with salt and turn them face down on a cutting board. Leave them for 30 mns so that they give out some water.
- Preheat your oven at 350 F.
- In a bowl, mix together the chopped herbs with the ricotta cheese.
- Add the beaten egg and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the ground veal.
- Put the stuffing in each tomato.
- Place the top of each tomato to cover them.
- Add a splash of olive oil and place them in an oven dish.
- Pour about half inch water in the dish and place it in the oven for about 1 hour. Check while they cook and add some juice on top if necessary.
- 4 grosses tomates Heirloom
- 200 à 250 g de veau haché
- 200 g de ricotta (or 120 g)
- 1 càs d’estragon, haché
- 1 càs d’origan, haché
- 1 càs de persil, haché
- Sel et poivre
- Huile d’olive
- 1 oeuf
- Lavez vos tomates et découpez un chapeau dans chacune d’entre-elles (1 cm). Evidez-les, saupoudrez-les de sel et retournez-les sur une planche à découper, partie bombée vers le haut. Laissez-les dégorger ainsi pendant 30 mns.
- Préchauffez votre four à 180 C.
- Dans un bol, mélangez les herbes hachées et la ricotta.
- Ajoutez l’oeuf battu et mélangez bien. Assaisonnez de sel et de poivre.
- Ajoutez le veau haché.
- Mettez de la farce dans chaque tomate.
- Remettez le chapeau sur chacune d’entre-elles.
- Arrosez d’un filet d’huile d’olive et mettez-les dans un plat allant au four.
- Versez 1 cm d’eau dans le plat et cuisez pendant 1 heure environ. Vérifiez en cours de cuisson si elles sont assez humides. Arrosez de jus sinon.