The Monsters of Templeton: Stuffed Tomatoes with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

The Monsters of Templeton

This month’s book club selection was the Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff. I admit this was an ambitious piece of literature, family secrets, ghosts, sea monsters, a complete family lineage going back several generations, a student’s affair with her professor, a best friend dealing with a terrible disease, an unwanted pregnancy, and a girl’s search for her father. However this was just way too much information for one book. the main idea was so watered down by the enormous cast of characters that I ended up just not caring about any of  them.It made it a difficult book to read but that also made it a great book for book club. There were many things to discuss and dissect. I think the discussions are always better when everyone doesn’t love the book. (usually I am the everyone, I can be a bit critical)

Some of us even dressed as “The Running Buds, a group of friends that have run together for years and who may or may not be important characters in the book. They were just the easiest costume, headbands, running shorts etc… Unfortunately I don’t have a sea monster outfit in my costume box. The food didn’t jump right out at you in this book but there was a lot of it if you paid attention ( I didn’t really ) I chose to make my version of Tomatoes Farci, Willie mentions this is her favorite dish when her mother makes it for her. We have quite a few vegetarians so I stuffed my tomatoes with goat cheese and mushrooms instead of meat. Another great one was a Huevos Rancheros casserole, Willie’s mom also makes this during an eventful breakfast in the book.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

10 Campari Tomatoes ( or 4 large for a meal)

1 T olive oil

1 cup finely chopped mushrooms, (I used baby bellas and porcini)

2 T chopped shallot

2 cloves garlic chopped

1/4 c chopped tomato

2 T chopped parsley

1/4 c white wine ( I used Pinot Grigio)

1 T balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

1/4 c panko bread crumbs

1 3 1/2 oz log goat cheese

Core tomatoes and remove seeds and pulp, leaving just a shell.( if using a large tomato, cut top off and scoop out insides, leaving a bowl) In a large pan. Add oil and saute mushrooms, shallot and garlic, until mushrooms are soft and shallot is translucent. add tomato, wine, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add bread crumb, cheese and parsley. Let cool.

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Stuff tomatoes with the cheese and mushroom mixture , place in an oven safe dish and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until cheese slightly browns on top.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

(oops, so excited for book club I didn’t take a picture of the final product, but they looked the same with a slightly brown top)

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Greek Stuffed Zucchini

To low carb or not to low carb, that is the question. Yes, I know I lose weight this way, especially belly fat. But sometimes it is unrealistic, I have 2 teen boys, there is no way they are giving up on bread, pizza crust and cookies. My husband wants to, but he loves cereal and beer too much. I don’t think I can ever swear off potatoes for ever. So where does that leave us, weeknight dinners that cut down on the big bad carbs, pasta, white refined sugars, rice, potatoes and bread. We are still keeping fruits and veggies, all types. Beans and legumes are ok in our book. An occasional splurge on weekends and whole grain cereals for breakfast are fine too. I am not saying that we are going on a big strict diet, we are just going to try and incorporate more vegetables into our diets and leave out bad carbs when they are not necessary.

So that brings us to my Greek stuffed zucchini, it has all the flavor of yummy stuffed zucchini, just without the bread crumbs, which don’t add flavor anyway, just filler.

Greek Stuffed Zucchini

3 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise

1/4 cup chopped or grape tomatoes

1 T lemon juice

1 T minced garlic

1 T fresh oregeno

3 oz  feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Using a spoon, scoop out the middle of the zucchini halves and add to a food processor bowl.

Add remaining ingrediants to food processor and pulse until it forms a smooth mixture, Fill the empty zucchini shells with the tomato and cheese filling.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until zucchini shell is tender and filling is bubbling.

Serve as a side dish, snack or appetizer.

Happy National Sneak Some Zucchini on to Your Neighbor’s Porch Day AKA National Zucchini Day

Well I love Zucchini but had no idea about this holiday. It was started by Tom Roy, a man from Pennsylvania, and this holiday encourages sharing of large zucchini crops. “Due to the overzealous planting of zucchini, citizens are asked to drop off baskets of the squash on neighbors’ doorsteps.” and apparently creativity is encouraged in this endeavor. I don’t have any crops of zucchini but I will share some recipes and tips.

Zucchini can be used as pasta in any recipe, delicious, low carb and gluten-free.

To make ribbons like papperdelle, uses a regular vegetable peeler and make thin strips, yo can leave the skin on or off.

To make smaller “noodles” use a julienne peeler. Available at most home stores and cooking shops.

Now just add your favorite sauce, no cooking required. The heat of the sauce will warm the zucchini without making it too soft or watery.

Also try Zucchini Orange Salad

 

Greek Stuffed Zucchini

And my favorite, Calabacitas

What is your favorite way to eat zucchini, or sneak it on to someone’s porch?