I am excited to announce that I am partnering up with Mucci Farms for The Produce Marketing Association Convention and Expo, Fresh Summit. They sent me a shipment of their beautiful produce for recipe creation and are sponsoring my trip this weekend. When you check out Mucci Farms’ website I am fairly certain you will know why I would never be able to say no to working with them. I’d be crazy to. All those bright beautiful vegetables just draw a girl in and lead to recipes like Stuffed Tomatoes, but first, let me tell you a story that shapes my attraction to the red and green beauties displayed on their pages.
The summer was hot and like all summers before it, we prayed for rain – not too much and not too little. Just the right amount of rain to keep our garden looking beautiful. As usual, my parents got a little carried away when they planted tomatoes. We had at least 13 plants that summer. We were blessed with a beautiful crop. In fact, we were so overrun with tomatoes my mom would let me go to the garden and eat all the tomatoes I wanted. We planted mixes of tomatoes so we would have the best tomatoes a sauce could ask for, always including a few roma tomato plants to “help thicken the sauce” my mother use to say.
I remember one late summer evening as vividly as it were happening now. I stood in the garden, my bare toes digging into the hard crumbly garden soil, as I ate tomatoes, one right after the other. The light was fading and I looked over the neighbor’s pasture, where their 6 heifers twitched their tails, on past the rolling valley to the distant Blue Ridge Mountains. I listened to the twittering birds settling into their nests for the evening and breathed a sigh of relief at the rare peace and quiet that only a teenager with many siblings can understand. My tastebuds were getting a little sore from all the acid in the tomatoes, and still I ate, juice and seeds running down my hands and arms, reveling in the rich explosion of flavor each bite produced.
There is nothing that can quite describe the beautiful fresh flavor a truly fresh and ripened tomato offers. So much so that as years went by and I grew to dislike tomatoes, I just couldn’t understand it. How could my favorite “is it a fruit is it a vegetable” lose its power to delight? And then I grew my own tomatoes and understood. My memories of how a freshly grown and fully ripened tomato tasted had faded with the years as homegrown gave way to super market. Once again picking my own tomatoes, I finally loved them again. But then we moved and my garden space disappeared. I refused to eat store bought tomatoes for the most part. This is what I love about Mucci Farms tomatoes. They taste like they came from my garden. Instead, they were shipped in a container straight from Ontario where they were grown in greenhouses with hydroponic technology, using integrated pest management to reduce the amount of chemicals they need to use.
The taste of their produce speaks for itself. It’s picked ripe and fresh, ensuring the consumer isn’t left with a mediocre product, but rather gets that fresh delicious flavor that tastes like it was picked straight from your own garden. I made these two different times. Once with Sapori Cocktail Tomatoes and once with Vero tomatoes. Now for that fabulous Stuffed Tomato recipe I promised you.
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Vegetarian Stuffed Tomatoes
- 16 – 20 Sapori cocktail tomatoes or 6 medium sized round tomatoes
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella, separated (1/2 cup and 14 cup)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut tops of tomatoes off and scoop out the insides, taking care not to pierce the shell.
- Keep the inside and top of tomato, minus the stem.
- Mix together rice, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and seasonings.
- Mix in tomato.
- Stuff tomato shells, setting on a baking sheet or baking dish.
- Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake 12-15 minutes.
- Serve hot.
TIP: Make these Stuffed Tomatoes truly vegetarian by checking the cheese label. Animal rennet or rennet are not vegetarian. You want to look for cheese made with Vegetable or Microbial Rennet.
Love “Real Food” Meals? Check out more menu ideas with Jo-Lynne Shane’s Weekly Recipe Collection.