I’ve been gone a while– to Tennessee, Michigan, the Hoh rainforest, moving apartments, etc. etc.! (Two etceteras seem appropriate.) And I’ve started looking for a teaching job; I’m eager to get a job teaching youngsters starting this fall, and I hope I’ll be able to procure a job in this somewhat dismal market, which is particularly bad for public school teaching positions. To keep my head up in the inevitably demoralizing process of job-applying, I’ve been cooking, running, organizing my new place, listening to music, and thinking about which PBS adaptation of a Jane Austen novel I should watch (this is fairly normal behavior for me).
In my newfound freetime, I watched Blue Valentine. (Shockingly enough, this is not made for PBS.) It’s absolutely beautifully shot and realistic and tragic, and your heart goes out to everyone in the movie. He playfully sings to her; she dances; they look absolutely in love, like children, and he holds her as they ride the subway. It reminded me that permanence isn’t a guarantee unless we deserve it. We have to be embodiments of tenderness and understanding, and we need to continue to grow and learn as those in our lives do. And I don’t mean to be preachy; it was a solid reminder for me, a kind warning, to love people actively– to grow and become a better communicator, to treat everyone with kindness, to be weary of complacency. The film is beautiful and tender, the acting incredible, and I highly recommend it. (And the music is gorgeous, reminiscent of Eliot Smith’s songs for Good Will Hunting. I’ve posted a song below.)
And now on to a non-sad movie-related topic: tomatoes.
Theoretically, I love tomatoes. They’re beautiful; they’re summer incarnate; they’re a staple ingredient in pizza, and everyone loves pizza. But I never eat tomatoes whole because the consistency of raw tomatoes makes me want to run for the hills (and I’m used to people thinking that’s inconceivable or weird). So here’s where the stuffed tomato comes in, friends.
You get all the goodness of a delicious, ripe tomato in its original form, without the mealiness of a raw tomato. Yes, please. This recipe was adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day cookbook (I like more harissa to add a little kick and the richness of Greek yogurt), and it was well-enjoyed at a small gathering I had with friends.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. I’m glad to be back writing about food (amongst all the other things I generally post about), and I hope this finds you well, eating delicious food, and appreciating those around you. lv, molly
Moroccan Stuffed Tomatoes
6 medium-large ripe tomatoes
1/2 C plain Greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons harissa paste (or more)
1 Tbl olive oil, plus a drizzle to serve
12 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 shallots, minced
Kosher or sea salt
1/2 C whole wheat couscous
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a medium making dish that can fit all the tomatoes nestled next to each other.
Using a serrated knife, cut the top 10% of each tomato. Over a bowl, scoop the flesh from each tomato so that the juice and chunks fall into the bowl. Try not to pierce the walls of the tomato. You can use your hands too, to help break up any chunks in the tomato that the spoon can’t get. They should now look like little tomato bowls.
In a separate bowl, combine 2/3 C of the tomato chunks and juice, the yogurt, harissa, olive oil, most of the basil, shallots, and 1/4 tsp. of salt. Taste, and see if you need more harissa or salt. The more harissa, the spicier these will be (yum!).
Bake for 50-60 mins, until the couscous is cooked, and the tomatoes start to wrinkle a bit. When done, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with the remaining basil. Serve to happy guests.