Many, many years ago, in a land far, far away a wise elder told me that it is important to learn one new thing each day.
Today I learned that the ugly, mottled brown, slimy, dead leaves near the ground in my pickle patch can, in fact, be ugly, mottled brown, slimy, LIVE toads. Big toads. Toads the size of a small car.
The little cornichons that I like for pickles are shy creatures. They’re green, the same color as most everything else in the garden, which makes them difficult to find. Plus they like to be hidden, making me move aside leaves, both green and dead, in my search. That’s how I happened upon Boris.
I’m not at all afraid of toads. They’re perfectly harmless. I do, however, startle easily. Once I had disentangled myself from the dill and apologized to the pickle plants (?) where I had so precipitously landed on my ass, I went back for a closer look.
Did I mention that he was huge? He was exactly the color of the dead leaf he was sitting next to. The only difference was the gentle movement of his breathing…and his big beady eyes.
I stared at him for a bit. He stared back. He told me his name: Boris. I told him I’d try not to step on him (I was wearing sandals…ewwww!) if he would give serious thought to moving under the beans, where I don’t have to walk. I assured him that he could have all of the slugs and snails he wanted. He promised not to mistake my toes for same. We both left feeling strangely uplifted by the encounter and, over all, at peace with the world.
My day is complete. I have learned something. I can now think about food. And my favorite food to think about this time of year is tomatoes.
Tomatoes are one of nature’s wonder foods. They are loaded with lycopene which has been shown to be protective against a whole list of cancers in humans, including colo-rectal, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic. Scientists have discovered that it’s not just lycopene but the lycopene combined with the rest of the nutrients in the tomato that is the most effective. Here’s the real kicker: they’ve studied the effects in actual HUMANS, not just rats (and toads).
Isn’t it nice when something we love loves us back?
Isn’t it nice when something we are all (or most of us) eating tons of is good for us? And low in calories to boot?
2 large garden fresh tomatoes
1 – 2 slices dry-cured ham, Prosciutto, Bayonne, Serrano, (1oz, 30gr)
2 tbs snipped fresh basil
1 tbs snipped fresh chives
2 tbs dried bread crumbs
3 tbs shredded cheese
whole basil leaves to garnish
Slice the tops off of the tomatoes and scoop out the center. Chop the ham. Combine the ham, herbs and bread crumbs. Spoon the mixture into tomatoes, pressing it down to fit. Divide the cheese and place on top of each tomato. Put onto a baking tray and bake at 400F (200C) for 20 minutes, until tomatoes are hot and cheese starts to brown. Remove and serve.
These are so easy I’m almost embarrassed to submit the recipe… but they’re so good I feel duty-bound to share.
Be sure to stop by Kochtopf on Monday for the complete round-up!
Now, the girls and I are going to go visit Boris and pick the evenings veg….