Monday, September 8, 2008

Baked Plum Tomatoes and ... Oo! Look! A Shiny Thing!

I am easily distracted.

In fact, I was supposed to write this piece two days ago. Instead, with the deadline looming less than ten hours away, I’m watching The Boyfriend play a video game. He’s a tiny blue knight, and he’s racing a wooden raft around this monstrous, hairball-coughing cat so that …

Yarg. See what I mean?

Like a giant, busty goldfish, lately I fixate on something for approximately three seconds before switching attention to a newer, shinier thing slightly to its left. My brain’s become a hummingbird on uppers, always in motion, flitting around for the next, sweetest thought.

This hasn’t always been the case. As a precocious (code for “dork”) nine-year-old, I could read entire Nancy Drew books in one sitting, and then calmly tell you why Bess and George should have been looking for the brass clock THE WHOLE TIME instead of messing around with YET ANOTHER red herring. Nowadays, my mind would wander to Facebook Word Twist before I could finish the first mention of Nancy’s strawberry-blonde locks. This not-quite-ADD makes writing difficult sometimes.

To give you an idea, here’s what I did this weekend instead of pen this post:
  • Went grocery shopping.
  • Cooked four new dishes.
  • Read Art Spiegelman’s Maus I and Maus II. (Suggested!)
  • Watched Alton Brown’s Feasting on Waves. (Double suggested!)
  • Read Brian Michael Bendis’ Torso. (Not suggested.)
  • Reorganized photos.
  • Walked to CVS, despite being fully aware of a pending rainstorm.
  • Nearly drowned in said rainstorm.
  • Visited Brooklyn's Flatbush Avenue Target. (Note to readers: if you are given a choice between having your ribs broken by mobsters or visiting the Flatbush Avenue Target on a weekend, ALWAYS GO WITH THE BROKEN RIBS.)
  • Listened to “Purple Rain.” (Note #2 to readers: scientific studies show that it’s impossible to get ANYTHING done while this song is playing. It’s ingrained in our DNA to stop, enjoy, and possibly make out with the nearest passerby.)
  • Played Facebook Word Twist. (Note #3 to readers: beware this game. You will start to spell in your sleep.)
But now, it’s come down to it. It’s almost 1am, I have more to do, and Martha Stewart’s Baked Plum Tomatoes need to be given their due props. Because, really? These were dang good, and so, SO easy to make. Assembly took ten minutes, tops, and the result is disproportionately impressive.

See, roasting plum tomatoes - even for a little while - deepens their flavor and softens their meat. In this particular dish, the end texture contrasted beautifully with the savory, slightly salty crunch of the parmesan-infused breadcrumbs. I would definitely serve it again, and will be enjoying leftovers for the next few days (if they last that long).

And ... wait! That's it! I did it! I described food! Woo hoo! I'm gonna go play some Word Twist.

Unless, of course, I get distracted.

Baked Plum Tomatoes
4 servings
Adapted from Martha Stewart.

4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon mixed dried herbs, such as thyme, marjoram, oregano, and basil (or Italian Seasoning - Kris)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1) Preheat oven to 425ºF. Take out a medium baking dish.

2) Slice a tiny piece off the skin of each tomato half. (You want it so they lie in the baking dish without rolling around.) Place tomatoes open side up in baking dish.

3) In a small bowl, combine everything but the tomatoes. Splitting it evenly, top each tomato half with some of the mixture.

4) Roast 20 to 30 minutes, until tomatoes are tender/soft and the crumbs are browned. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes, or risk burning your tongue off. (Hot tomatoes are really hot, is why.)

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
102 calories, 5.2 g fat, $0.49

4 plum tomatoes, halved: 100 calories, 0 g fat, $1.03
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese: 108 calories, 7.2 g fat, $0.67
2 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs: 79 calories, 1.1 g fat, $0.08
1/2 teaspoon mixed dried herbs: 0 calories, 0 g fat, $0.02
1 tablespoon olive oil: 119 calories, 13.5 g fat, $0.12
1/4 teaspoon salt: 0 calories, 0 g fat, $0.01
1/8 teaspoon pepper: 0 calories, 0 g fat, $0.01
TOTAL: 406 calories, 20.8 g fat, $1.94
PER SERVING: 102 calories, 5.2 g fat, $0.49


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