Kitchen Wit and Wisdom: A tasty gift from the Mayans

Tomatoes are an ancient fruit — vegetable to some — that are both delicious and filled with nutrition

“Tomato, a pulpy nutritious fruit commonly eaten as a vegetable,” is another wonderful gift of the Mayans to the world. This humble vegetable of Central America has seized the attention of millions of health seekers for its incredible phyto-chemical properties and for its outstanding antioxidant content, including, of course, their often rich concentration of lycopene.

Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. There are literally hundreds of different tomato varieties and this amazing fruit is eaten as is or in countless recipes.

Tomatoes are abundant right now and I have two recipes today featuring them. The first is a stuffed tomato the whole family will love, and the second a simple vegetable dish that highlights the summer flavours of fresh tomatoes and zucchini. It goes great with grilled meats or poultry.

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

6 slices bacon

6 medium tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup croutons

Salt and pepper to taste

6 sprigs parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 11×7-inch baking dish.

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. While bacon is cooking, wash tomatoes and slice off stem ends. Gently scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/2-inch wall. Finely chop pulp and place 1/3 cup of it in a medium bowl. You may discard remaining pulp.

Stir crumbled bacon, green pepper, cheese, croutons, and salt and pepper into tomato pulp. Spoon an equal amount of mixture into each hollowed out tomato. Place stuffed tomatoes into prepared baking dish.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until heated through. Garnish with parsley sprigs.

Tomato-Zucchini Casserole

1-1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

2 medium zucchinis, thinly sliced

5 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced

1/4 cup butter

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

3/4 cup fine bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly butter a 9×9-inch pan.

In a large bowl, combine Cheddar, Parmesan, oregano, basil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Arrange half of the zucchini slices in the pan. Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese and herb mixture on top. Arrange half of the tomatoes, and top with another 1/4 of the cheese mixture. Repeat layers.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions, and cook until soft and translucent. Stir in bread crumbs; cook until they have absorbed the butter. Sprinkle on top of casserole.

Cover loosely with foil, and bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake until the top is crusty and the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every other Wednesday and one Sunday per month.

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Vernon Winter Carnival Cop John Fawcett (left) and Carnival director Paul Cousins are at Vernon’s Real Canadian Superstore on Anderson Way until 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24, selling raffle tickets for a 2019 Polaris Snowmobile plus $1,000 worth of gear from BDM Motorsports. Tickets are $20. Only 5,000 tickets are being sold. The draw will be made Wednesday, Feb. 17. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon Winter Carnival prize sled on display

Grand prize in Carnival raffle draw is 2019 Polaris snowmobile and $1,000 in gear; tickets $20

With a hockey stick and ice bucket to ensure social distancing, volunteers with the Kal Rotary Club collected cash during a drive-thru donation event in Vernon Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Kal Rotary seeks local non-profits in need of Dream Fund support

The deadline to apply for this year’s $105K in Dream funds has been extended to Feb. 28

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

(Hal Brindley - Dreamstime)
Enderby farmers caught between coyotes and bylaw tickets

The Smith family is stuck in a Catch-22 between protecting their livestock and incurring noise complaints

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Okanagan hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 in Lake Country just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Most Read