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Waiting for Real Tomatoes?

There's nothing quite like a tomato just plucked from the vine and the time is almost ripe for true-to-memory tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and more. But when the crop really begins to come in, you may want a recipe that has stood the test of time. These ran in the Food section five years ago in an article by tomato-lover Dan Goldberg.

Stuffed Tomatoes

(6 servings)

6 large tomatoes, firm but ripe

2 zucchini, sliced thinly 1/2 pound thin-sliced mushrooms

1 large onion, quartered and then thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2-ounce can anchovies in oil, chopped (optional)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Slice the tops off the tomatoes. Being careful not to cut through the flesh, carefully core the tomatoes (chop and reserve the cores), removing the liquid and seeds. Set aside.

Place the tomatoes in a baking dish, cut-sides down, and bake for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the zucchini, mushrooms, onion and garlic in the oil until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the reserved chopped tomatoes, anchovies, basil, bread crumbs, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly.

Carefully turn the tomatoes right-side up and fill with the vegetable mixture. Bake until heated through, about 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Per serving (without anchovies): 105 calories, 4 gm protein, 15 gm carbohydrates, 5 gm fat, trace cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 86 mg sodium, 3 gm dietary fiber

Eggplant Agrodolce

(6 servings)

1 medium eggplant

4 medium zucchini

About 1/4 cup olive oil

1 red bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon sugar

2 to 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup rice vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the grill on high. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the eggplant into 3/4-inch slices. Cut each slice in half, then cut each half into 3 sections. Trim the ends from the zucchini, halve them lengthwise. Brush the cut sides of the vegetables with some of the olive oil. Place the eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers on the grill. Turn the vegetables as necessary, until they are cooked but still slightly firm. Remove the vegetables from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the onion in 2 tablespoons of the oil until soft; remove from the heat and set aside. Toast the pine nuts in the preheated oven until golden. Watch carefully to make sure they don't become too dark. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the red pepper flakes, sugar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, remaining oil and salt and pepper to taste and mix thoroughly. Toss the eggplant and zucchini with the dressing to coat and arrange the vegetables on a serving platter.

Seed and slice the peppers; add them along with the onions and pine nuts to the remaining dressing. Arrange the pepper mixture on top of the zucchini and eggplant and drizzle with any remaining dressing. Serve at room temperature.

Per serving: 170 calories, 5 gm protein, 18 gm carbohydrates, 10 gm fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 49 mg sodium, 5 gm dietary fiber

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