Category Archives: Vegetables

Stuffed Tomatoes, Peppers & Eggplant

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So … Maggie & her friends went to Santorini for a few days. Before they left I asked her if she would like me to cook for them on their return. “What about Stuffed Tomatoes?” she asked the next morning. “Yes ofcourse!” said the woman living inside my body, who thinks she’s still in her thirties with tons of energy to spare!

So there we all are with two big trays of stuffed veggies and one fairly long preparation process!! And why 2 big trays when one would have been more than enough? Don’t ask, I honestly don’t know! My guess is that having grown up in a fairly large family, my eyes are so used to seeing big quantities that I still can’t judge the correct size of “enough”!

I prepared the veggies one day before, covered the trays well and refrigerated them, ready for stuffing the next day.

So once again, I add the same comment I’ve been making in a lot of my recipes it seems: keep in mind that the quantities below are for 2 large trays (which you see in the pictures) so half or reduce as needed!!!

 

Ingredients:

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9 tomatoes

6 peppers

3 eggplants

6 medium potatoes

2 medium onions or 1 large

3 or 4 garlic cloves

a bunch of parsley

500 grs ground beef

round rice (roughly 1 level tablespoon for each vegetable)

4 tsps tomato paste

2 soup cubes dissolved in 2 cups hot water

olive oil

salt & pepper

 

Method:

first the tomatoes:

wash & dry well, cut the tops off but keep them

scoop out the inside of each tomato (as per picture) & cover it with its own lid

Note 1*

the inside that you scooped out goes into the food processor,

add to it the 4 tsps tomato paste, salt, pepper, a bit of olive oil, and give it a few whirls

put in a bowl and set aside for later.

Next the eggplant:

if they’re large, cut it in two first, cut a topper for each, level a bit of the bottom (so it can stand in the tray without toppling over), and start scooping out the inside (as per picture)

make sure you have a top for each

Note 2*

the inside that you scooped out goes into the food processor

chop roughly and put it in a frying pan

next put the onions & garlic and process as well

add to the eggplant in the frying pan

salt, pepper, some oil, and saute lightly just to blend well and release the flavours

put the mixture in a large bowl and set aside for later

Next the peppers:

cut off tops, clean out the inside veins, & cover each with its own lid

Now the main work has been done!! you can stop here, cover the lot very well, and keep refrigerated till next day.

Next the potatoes:

peel and cut, put in a tray, salt, pepper, olive oil and mix together.

Set aside.

For the stuffing:

In your large bowl that contains the eggplant/onion/garlic mixture, add the following:

chopped parsley

ground beef

rice

a few tbsps of the tomato mixture in Note 1* above

1 cup prepared broth

salt, pepper, & a bit of olive oil

mix very well with your hands

you might need to add some water if necessary (the mixture should be on the loose side, not firm and packed together like a hamburger).

Now you’re ready to assemble.

Stuff each veggie, leaving a little bit of room at the top (see pictures), cover each with its lid and place in a tray

wedge the potatoes in between the veggies to fill the spaces and to keep the veggies straight up

pour the rest of the sauce in Note 1* above all over the veggies & the potatoes

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Place uncovered in a 200centigrade oven and bake till done. It should take around 1.5 to 2 hours.

Every half hour I get the tray out, and baste each veggie with the liquid that has now formed all around it. A turkey baster does the job perfectly.

I check the sides of some of the veggies with the edge of a sharp knife every now & then to make sure its done. I also taste a smidgen of the stuffing to ensure that the rice is ready.

When the tops are nicely coloured, take the tray out, and cover it well with silver foil to keep warm until you’re ready to serve.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

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Dada’s Zucchini w/chickpeas in tomato sauce

Dada's Zucchini w:chickpeas in tomatoe sauce-close up
Dada’s Zucchini w/chickpeas in tomato sauce

Best Served with rice.

Actually rice is pretty much a given on a daily basis, for the majority -if not all- Egyptian families. The Egyptian rice is highly aromatic and has got a distinctive flavour not to be found in any other rice of any kind. As an Egyptian, very much “into” the foods & aromas of my childhood, I can assure you that I know my rice.

Unfortunately I can not get a hold of Egyptian rice where we live, so I use Basmati instead, and prepare it the Egyptian way.

Because of it being a daily staple, rice dishes present themselves in a variety of ways in the Egyptian cuisine. All depending of course on the dish that it is showing up to compliment.

For Dada’s Zucchini, I will use the rice w/vermicelli & pine nuts. No other reason than “just because” that’s how she served it!

You will find the recipe for the rice listed under what else?! “rice” of course. Anticipating that I shall be posting a variety of rice dishes as we proceed, I decided to give it a category of its own!

Now lets get on with Dada’s Zucchini dish.

A favourite way of cooking vegetables in Egypt is in tomato sauce. Sometimes meat is added in it to give extra flavour, but often without.

Ingredients:

4 large zucchinis (or 6 medium ones) sliced. If too big, cut zucchini in half then slice.

1 onion chopped

1 garlic chopped

140 grs tomato paste (or 4 large tbsps)

2 cups cooked chick peas

2 cups water

1 soup cube

Method:

saute onions in a bit of olive oil

add garlic

add tomato paste

add chick peas

add water

add soup cube

bring to a boil

adjust salt if needed

add sliced zucchini

simmer on medium heat until zucchini is done to your liking.

(you may need to add more water as its cooking, to ensure there is enough sauce in the end.)

Serve in a separate bowl, alongside the vermicelli rice.

Enjoy!