Even in the coldest days of winter, the bright acidity and sweet flavor of tomatoes can seduce us. Ahh, we can’t wait for the month of August when the siren sound of drippy juicy tomatoes fulfills us! While we wait for better “tomato days”, here’s a way to make those hard, unripe, out-of-season tomatoes taste better. Of course, we would never throw away the seeds and middles of the tomatoes. All of it pops right into the veggie stock bag to enrich our next pot of stock.
Basil is one of the hallmark herbs of the Mediterranean. Lucky for us, it’s grown hydroponically and in greenhouses all over the country, which allow us to enjoy its herbal, sweet, spicy woody flavor year round. Basil contains a wide range of essential oils rich in phenolic compounds and a wide array of polyphenols such as flavonoids and anthocyanins. Basil is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium.
Ancient Grains Stuffed Tomatoes – Mediterranean Style
2 Cups Prepared Brown Rice
2 Cups Prepared ANCIENT GRAINS like Farro, Sorghum, Freekeh or Kamut***
½ Cup Pitted and Chopped Oil Cured Black Olives
½ Cup Chopped Sundried Tomatoes OR Chopped Roasted Red Peppers
½ Chopped Fennel or Celery
¼ Cup Capers
¼ Cup Basil, Chiffonade
1 Recipe Mediterranean Vinaigrette
6 Cups Shredded Kale, Napa Cabbage, Chard or Bok Choy
12 Roma Tomatoes, halved and hollowed out with a melon baller
1 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
Step One Toss the rice, ancient grains, olives, tomatoes or peppers, fennel or celery and capers together in a large bowl. Drizzle with the Mediterranean Vinaigrette, reserving 2 TBs.
Step Two Place the shredded lettuces on a large tray and drizzle with the reserved dressing. Fill each tomato half with about 2 TBs of the ancient grains mixture. Place on top of the lettuces and sprinkle with the crumbled feta.
***We cook ANCIENT GRAINS in the healthy kitchen all the time. They are easy to make! Instead of the 1-2-3 method we use for cooking rice, (2 Cups of Boiling Water, ½ Tsp of Salt to 1 Cup of Rice equals 3 Cups of Cooked Rice), we use 3 Cups of Boiling Water, ½ Tsp of Salt and 1 Cup of Ancient Grains. After stirring the salt and grains into the water, we let it come back up to a boil, turn it down to barely simmering, cover and let it simmer away for about 45 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed. When ancient grains are done properly they have a delicious “tooth” or al dente texture.
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TB Sherry Vinegar
1 Tsp Dijon
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
1 Tsp Orange Juice
Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper to taste
Shake the ingredients together in a small jar.