RECIPE #299, DAY #500
ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Moldovan Cheese-Stuffed Tomatoes,” from the Recipes Wikia, under the “Moldovan Appetizers” category*
TIMING: 20 minutes (or much more for a crowd)
DIFFICULTY: It’s a little painstaking
TOOLS: A tiny, sharp spoon, a tomato knife, and a small food processor
COOK TYPE: None
HEALTH: My daughter was double-fisting these, but honesty who cares? Mainly a veggie but with a cheese mixture (and a tad butter) and fresh herb, she could eat these all day and I’d be okay with it.
EXPERIENCE: Appetizers were another thing that I did not have hashed-out for my Moldovan-themed Supper Club night (see previous post on Many-Layered Honey Cake). I couldn’t remember anything that would serve, except for mini-stuffed cabbages (of which I had the most amazing bowl in Chisnau), but I could not see adding all that prep time (and it would be a lot of prep time).
So when researching Moldovan appetizers, one kept rising to the top, and that was eggplant rounds topped with a walnut-garlic paste. As delicious as this might be, I just knew it was not going to fly with a table full of hungry, expectant Americans. Some might like it, but not most. So then I noticed another recipe which was hiding behind the first: cheese-stuffed tomatoes.
Honestly, it all sounded a bit boring, and when I bought the slightly-funky cheese, I was nervous. Then, somehow, in the simplicity of it all, it was amazing. Still nervous–because I love tomatoes and tolerate odder flavors than most–I was shocked when almost everyone raved about these tomatoes and they very quickly disappeared.
NOTES: As you can tell from the photo, I did not actually “stuff” my tomatoes. The tomatoes that I found were either too small to stuff or too big for an appetizer. Nice, big, cherry tomatoes would be ideal. At any rate, it worked fine but was not ideal, to just halve the grape tomatoes and spread some cheese on the tops.
Now, the cheese I used for this was perfect, so I am going to return to the store and note the exact cheese for you. I’ll post it later.
The BEST cheese for this is Mitica Pimentino.
- In a food processor, combine 6 ounces Eastern European cow cheese (with a little funk is ideal), 6 ounces feta cheese, 1 stick softened, unsalted butter, 1 clove garlic, and salt to taste. You want to go until the mixture is a uniform paste. Set aside at room temperature while you prep the tomatoes.
- Remove the tops and scoop out the centers of 1 pound firm, cherry tomatoes. Fill with cheese mixture and place on a platter. Sprinkle the whole thing with 3 tablespoons minced dill.
Serve at a party, along with lots of other dainty foods.
*Recipe changed from the original.