A well scripted, produce-laden pilgrimage is in store for the nation. Once they arrive in the land of Israel they'll be bringing baskets full of the first fruit of their land to the central worship area in Jerusalem. The words that they are instructed to say to the Cohen in this week's portion, Parhsta Ki Tavo, may sound familiar. "My forefather worked for an Aramean, then went down to live in Egypt and became a great nation." So, do you recognize the phrase? We say these exact words during the Passover Seder to kick off the telling of the Exodus. We begin with reference to Jacob, continue with the slave labor the nation was forced into by Egyptians, ending with God saving them with a strong arm, an outstretched hand and some spectacular miracles.
The actual culmination of the story of the Exodus is when the nation arrives in their own home land, where they can reside freely and safely. Moses is still preparing them for when they will have their own land, their own produce and he charges them charged to show appreciation by bringing a basket of amazingly fresh produce, from their first gleanings, as an offering to God. They are to rejoice in what they have and share it. The Cohen will offer up the basket of produce on the alter to God. And I'm sure that collection of cornucopias was quite a sight. This week we're going to cook up some stuffed peppers and tomatoes because on your Shabbat table they will look like brimming baskets, mimicking those brought by the nation with their first fruits. And they will be filled with some delectable riches.
The dish I have in mind doesn't much resemble the typical stuffed pepper that gets filled with meat and rice. Intsead, panko bread crumbs, herbs, raisins, capers and anchovies are used. They are a surprisingly satisfying combination of tastes - achieving a real yin yang of salt and sweet. The bread crumbs stay crisp but are moistened with some olive oil and come together with some spices into a cohesive texture. The skins of the pepper get nice and soft so that they are easy to cut but they aren't mushy and they don't fall apart. This dish makes such a pretty presentation that it became a staple on my Rosh Hashana menu.
Since this is the last official week of the blogging event, Summer Fest*, and I've finally caught up to tomato week I decided to use some tomatoes to stuff in addition to the peppers. I think they'll go along with the peppers beautifully after their seeds are hollowed out. And if you want to go multicolored you can do so with both the tomatoes and peppers- in the last week I've received beautiful bright orange tomatoes, warm plump red ones and some that are a deep purple green - all in our CSA. They each taste incredibly delicious, and very much like summer.
Stuffed Red Peppers and Tomatoes
I found this unique recipe in Jeff Nathan's Family Suppers and have adapted it. I've added the tomato idea and also only use half a pepper or tomato per person, the recipe below is for 10 people.
3 red peppers
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup of raisins
6 canned anchovy fillets, chopped
1/4 cup of capers, rinsed
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup tomato sauce
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut each pepper and tomato in half horizontally. If there is a large stem on the pepper trim it with a knife so that the pepper half can stand up on its own. Remove the seeds from the pepper and scoop and the seeds and juice from the tomato (find another use for this!!). Lay each half pepper and tomato - your vegetable "cups" - in a large baking dish.
In a bowl, mix the bread crumbs, raisins, anchovies, capers, parsley, oregano and pepper. Add the oil and stir to get a consistency like wet sand. Divide the mixture into the vegetable "cups" and top each with a dollop of tomato sauce.
Bake for 35 minutes, until the vegetables look soft and the filling is golden brown.
*Summer Fest is an annual online celebration of good food and great ideas, featuring food and garden bloggers from around the globe. Every week we highlight a different seasonal ingredient – corn, stone fruit, tomatoes – and our guest bloggers share great recipes, stories and tips. You can participate by visiting these terrific blogs and leaving links or comments – and if you’re feeling particularly inspired, you can contribute a post of your own. Drop by A Way to Garden for details on how join the party.
THIS WEEK’S LINKS: TOMATOES
Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: Heirloom Tomato Tart with Parmesan Crust
Nicole at Pinch My Salt: What to do with slow-roasted tomatoes
Alison at Food2: Heirloom tomatoes
The FN Dish: Tyler’s Ultimate Tomato Salads
Margaret at A Way to Garden: More than one way to ripen a tomato
Gilded Fork: Celebrating summer lusciousness with a tomato dossier and recipes
Diane and Todd at White on Rice Couple: Sun-dried tomatoes (actually made in the sun!)
Paige at The Sister Project: 3 substantial, healthy, vegetarian tomatoey main dishes
Liz at the Cooking Channel: Easy Tomato Tart
Kelly at Just a Taste: Tomato Jam
Alexis at Food Network UK: The seven deadly tomato sins
Michelle at Healthy Eats: Top 10 Things to Do With Tomatoes
Alana at Eating From the Ground Up: Roasted Green Salsa (green zebras and tomatillos), and how late August makes her hurt for New Mexico
Caron at San Diego Foodstuff: Chunky Garden Gazpacho with Flowered Corn Tortillas and Melissa Clark’s Tomato Tarte Tatin
Judy at Divina Cucina: Tomatoes, the Italian Way
Caroline at the Wright Recipes: Savory Tomato Crumble
Tigress in a Pickle: Over 50 ways to preserve tomatoes in jars