4-20: Oven-Baked Tomatoes

I love the appetizer-style dishes featured in Simply Delicious. They are complicated because of making individual portions, but you can prepare them ahead of time to heat and serve when ready. When I make a batch of an appetizer like 4-20: Oven Baked Tomatoes, I like to eat a few right away and then stash the rest in the refrigerator to eat later as a healthy snack.

My family did not grow up eating baked, hollowed-out, stuffed tomatoes, however, that didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying this dish.

Editor’s note: Looks like my mom made this one before, and substituted broccoli for mushrooms–that makes sense, she hates mushrooms. She also dislikes tomatoes, so I have no idea why she was making this in the first place. 

This is yet another recipe that uses some sour cream and half and half which means I am going to use a substitution.

For this recipe, I picked some excellent heirloom tomatoes and used labne kefir cheese as a sour cream substitution.

Cleaning and slicing mushrooms is always fun. While I’ve got the cutting board out, I can clean cut and clean the tomatoes.

The best tool to scoop out the inside of the tomatoes was a melon baller. It separates the juicy parts from the fleshy shell that are used to hold the mushroom-y goodness. These remind me a lot of stuffed mushrooms and they taste pretty similar due to the filling.

The upper right and lower left tomatoes are Cherokee Purple tomatoes. The upper left is a yellow variety of heirloom tomato that is sweet and mild, but I don’t remember the variety name. The standard red tomato is a beefsteak tomato and all of these are home grown.

Time to sauté the mushrooms for the filling. First, melt some butter and then heat the mushrooms over medium heat for a while.

When the mushrooms are silky and delicious as shown in this photo, it’s time to add flour to thicken the stock into a gravy-ish stuffing.

The mushroom “roux” acts as a thickener for the labne-based filling. It’s time to add some other ingredients to add some flavor.

Chopped cilantro and cheddar cheese add more flavor to the thickened mushroom sauce.

I stirred the sauce around until the cheese melted and the flour thickened the sauce into a stuffing.

I put the stuffing in the fridge to thicken up a little more and this is what it looked like before I stuffed the tomatoes.

Getting closer to the end! I stuffed the tomatoes with the mushroom mixture and sprinkled them with cheese and sprayed the top with canola oil spray before putting them in the toaster oven. That technique is something I picked up from Jamie to make things come out with a crispy top.

I only half sprinkled cheese before I realized I didn’t take a photo of the stuffed tomatoes and then I pulled the cheese off and took this photo. then I forgot to take a photo of the cheese sprinkled on top before I put them in the toaster oven.

To finish the dish, I topped the Oven Baked Tomatoes with basil chiffonade and drizzled some balsamic vinaigrette glaze. The different colored tomatoes each taste slightly differently. The yellow tastes more sweet, the purple tastes more meaty and the beefsteak tastes the most traditional of the three. These were enjoyable and delicious, a light and healthy snack dish that are ideal to serve as appetizers or a light lunch.