Friday, July 25, 2008
Tomato and Cheese Bake
It's the month of Tomatoes! Well, at least for Weekend Wokking. :) Here in this tropical country, tomatoes of all sizes are available year round. It's a good thing for us too because we love tomatoes! We love everything about tomatoes - the way it looks, so round and plump and so tantalizing red... the way it feels, soft, yielding, yet firm to the touch... and the way it tastes, sweet, crunchy yet juicy. Best of all, it is very nutritious, packed with Vitamin C and the all-important Lycopene needed to boost our body's immunity.
I didn't have to tear my hair out like TS and JS of Eating Club Vancouver :) but I think I did add some wrinkles to my forehead because I thought long and hard on what dish to prepare for the featured ingredient this month :) Again, like the previous Wokking event, I want to present the chosen ingredient - the tomato as the main feature - the star of the show, so to speak. Of course the tomato is so very versatile you can add it to every dish you cook (which I often do.) But I want the tomato to stand out. I do not want the tomato featured as a sauce (like in a pasta dish), or as a flavoring or extender. And so, I came up with this... I apologize this dish does not look impressive. I am just a trying hard, amateur home-cook, who cannot quite copy the works of professional chefs and good looking blogs out there...
Anyway, here's my Tomato Cheese Bake. It is so easy to do, easy to cook. I think it is perfect as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to cocktails.
1. Cut up some tomatoes in half. Remove the seeds.
2. Drizzle some drops of olive oil inside the tomatoes.
3. Tear up or shred some fresh basil leaves (dried leaves will also do.) Put some inside the hollowed portions of the tomatoes.
4. Shred or grate some cheese and fill up the tomatoes. I tried 3 kinds of cheeses, from the left to right, mozarella, fresh parmesan, and quick-melt cheddar cheese.
5. Bake in the oven at around 200C for 5 to 10 minutes until cheeses melt.
This is how the tomatoes looked after I got them out of the oven. I think the mozarella cheese melted perfectly. The parmesan cheese looks ... so not there. So, I didn't include them in the garnishing...
6. You can serve as is. Or for a cocktail party, cut up some cucumber, and put one baked tomato on top of a slice. Decorate with fresh basil leaves.
Tomato and cheese tastes so wonderful together! You can also experiment with other kinds of cheeses. It just so happens that I have these three kinds on hand.
Daughter said they look like teacups! I just have to figure out how to put in the handle :)
This is my entry to the WeekEnd Wokking event, hosted this time by Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok! This event was launched by Wandering Chopsticks, to celebrate many ways we can cook one ingredient. The featured ingredient this month is ... the Tomato! Please check out Darlene's round-up by August 6 to see different ways we can cook the tomato and to see next month's featured ingredient!