Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Goat Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes and Mushroom Hummus

It's party time! With all the talk of football parties, holiday parties, and back-to-school parties, I thought I'd post a couple of stand-by favorites to such occasions. Of course no party is complete without hummus, and posted here I have a variation on my Basic Hummus Recipe. Stuffed tomatoes make an appearance at most my functions; if I find myself function-less, then there is nothing wrong with using this as a side dish.

Speaking of parties, my vegetarian sister has kindly granted me permission to throw her a baby shower. It's not until the end of November, but rest assured there will be more party-friendly foods to come!

Goat Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

8 medium tomatoes
2 tbs olive oil
4 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c diced zucchini
4 oz goat cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbs fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbs fresh thyme, stem removed
1/2 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 c Parmesan cheese, grated
additional salt and pepper, if desired

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Cut across the stem end of each tomato to create a flat surface. Using a melon baller, scoop out the pulp each tomato. Chop the pulp and then set aside on paper towels to drain.

In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until mushrooms begin to soften (about 5 minutes). Add shallots and saute 2 mote minutes; add garlic and saute until shallots are translucent.

In a medium bowl, combine mushroom mixture, salt, zucchini, goat cheese, parsley, oregano, thyme, and drained tomato pulp. Gradually stir in bread crumbs, pepper, and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan until mixture starts to come together.

With a paper towel, pat dry the inside of each tomato shell. Season inside of tomatoes with salt and pepper, if desired, then fill each tomato cavity with the goat cheese mixture. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan on top of the stuffed tomatoes and bake in preheated oven for 20 m inutes, or until tops are golden brown. Serves 8 as a side dish, or 4 as a main course.

Hummus with Mushrooms

1/4 c + 1 tbs olive oil
8 oz mushrooms of choice, sliced, dark ribs removed
2 cloves garlic, halved
1/4 tsp salt
1 can (15.5oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tbs tahini
1/4 c water
zest and juice from 1 lemon
pinch cayenne pepper
additional olive oil, water
salt/pepper to taste

Heat 1 tbs olive oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft. Add garlic and 1/4 tsp of salt and saute another 2-3 minutes, or until garlic starts to soften.

In food processor, puree mushrooms, garlic, beans, tahini, 1/4 c olive oil, 1/4 c water, lemon zest, juice, cumin, and cayenne to a medium-fine texture. Add about half a tsp each of salt and pepper to start.

While blending on medium speed, slowly add equal parts oil and water until paste smooths to desired consistency.

Transfer to a bowl, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve. Makes about 2 cups.