Stuffed Tomatoes and Toads

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.

Despite the fact that there is a big empty spot in my garden where my tomatoes ought to be I am managing to satisfy my cravings quite nicely at the markets.

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?

Weekend Herb Blogging, founded by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen is being hosted this week by Zorra, of Kochtopf.  I am honoring the tomato.  I did not stuff it with a toad.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Ham and Herbs Tomatowhite

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….

21 thoughts on “Stuffed Tomatoes and Toads”

  1. This is so bizarre! As I am reading this, I have stuffed tomatoes in the oven! I am enamored with a new cookbook find: “The Roasted Vegetable”, by Andrea Chesman. Found it at my local library after a hearty recommendation from the owner of the CSA I joined this year. This is now on my Christmas wish list, if I don’t go to Amazon and order it for myself! This particular recipe is stuffed with the tomato innards and arborio rice. YUM

  2. I adore toads and am glad you and Boris had such an instant rapport. May he and his friends keep your garden free from slugs!
    The stuffed tomato recipe looks perfect. I have all the ingredients in the house so guess what’s for dinner tomorrow?

  3. Sounds like Boris is a perfect addition to your garden! I love any kind of tomato combined with any kind of cheese — and melted cheese is the best.

  4. Katie, this was another enjoyable read! 🙂 Have you seen Boris again since then?
    As for this recipe, I think you should blog about whatever you like, no matter how simple it may seen because it’s about sharing the joy of food and cooking. And you’ve plated the tomato so nicely.

  5. Excellent writing.
    Does Boris sing to you at night? I am sitting here almost in the dark, listening to gosh I’d guess 25 to 30 toads. We have a small 20×20 city back yard with a fountain in it. We had the fountain easily 7 years before the toads showed up. Some time ago one night they started singing, my husband and I went out with flash lights and counted 22. It was so funny, they seemed to all freeze in the light and all looked like they were headed to the fountain.
    Love the tomato.

  6. Kevin, you are right on, no matter what you do with them – they’re good!
    Ah, Farmgirl, great minds, and all that! Thanks for the cookbook tip – I’m putting it on my wishlist, too!
    Jennifer, he was still there this morning. I have little ones in my herb garden but Boris is Big!
    Lydia, I had a big ceramic toad in Andorra and someone swiped it… Maybe it was ‘incarnated’ for this garden…
    Anh, the world would be a very dismal place without tomatoes…
    Thanks, Nora…. I will! Boris was alive and kicking this morning! I try to find him before I start walking around.
    Tanna, I have little ones in my herb garden, next to the house, which sing. Boris is too far away – at least a good par 4..
    Zorra, Cute little guys! I haven’t seen another one…or I don’t know it. Only one at a time.
    Thanks Meredith!

  7. OMG! The way you tell your encounter w/ Boris 😉 had me laughing off of my chair.
    Hope Boris follows through with your gentle suggestion to “relocate” to the bean-garden.

  8. I’d be totally freaked out if I saw a toad in the garden. No toads here though.
    The tomatoes sound just wonderful. I’d love this for sure.

  9. I don’t know what is going on, but ever since I got a new computer, once I leave a comment on your blog it won’t let us use the “back” button without re-sending the comment. So that’s why I keep leaving multiple comments in case you’re wondering. Any ideas why this is happening?

  10. VC, Boris has moved closer to the beans… but not close enough. At least I know he’s there. I’d hate to damage more plants with me, um, reaction!
    Kalyn, I get into such a ‘zone’ when I’m picking that anything moving startles me, doesn’t help when it’s big!
    Thanks, Helene, I’m trying…

  11. Okay, Kalyn, this is what I know about the browsers and the ‘back’ button:
    First, leaving a comment requires a secure connection so backing out of it is either not allowed or not easy. Clicking on the banner (home) to get back works better.
    Internet Explorer: hitting back takes you to ‘page expired’. If you keep hitting it eventually it takes you back.
    Firefox and Netscape: Both have a box come up telling you that you will resend the data. You either resend or cancel, leaving you nowhere. You need to click on the banner (home) to get out.
    There has recently been a new release of Firefox – maybe that’s why it seems to be acting differently.
    Blogger opens a new window for comments, so you can close that window and use ‘back’ on your original window. Typepad doesn’t, so that’s where the difficulty comes in.
    Hope that helps.

  12. Kalyn, one more thing…I’ve been trying to figure out why I never noticed this – it’s because after I comment I either click on another post to read, click on another blog to read or close the window…
    I guess I find the back button to work so rarely I don’t used it… It always seems to take me to an expired page…particularly in Amazon when I’m doing book comparisons…LOL

  13. That’s a great photo! It looks delicious too, as usual. You write so well. I would have jumped too! What are the little stuffed (cheeses??) thingies beside the tomato. They look good too!

  14. Pooka, there little soft goat cheeses. I buy them at the local supermarket, caller ‘Aperos’ meant to be nibbled with drinks… the French are so efficient…

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