Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Zucchini Stuffed Tomatoes by Nadia

Okay, so if you've been to this blog a few times, you may know that I'm a teacher. To be more specific, I am an elementary school English as a Second Language teacher. The students on my roster learned another language first at home, and now they're becoming proficient in English speaking, listening, reading, and writing. One of my favorite parts of my job is co-teaching writing in a fourth grade classroom. The regular teacher and I share the responsibility of teaching writing to all of the students. (Before I was an elementary ESL teacher, I taught middle school English and almost every summer I teach at Young Writers' Camp on the campus of Long Beach State University.) 
Our first unit of the year was about "the writing community" and "the writing process," and students got to choose what they wrote. I love that. One native English speaker, Nadia, chose to write a recipe. When I was emailing her mom to get permission to post Nadia's recipe, she said that Nadia started helping her cook at the age of 3, and by 6, Nadia was making omelets for herself. Amazing. She's been experimenting with vegetarian dishes recently due to some dietary concerns, and this is one that she came up with. Mom also said that Nadia is planning to start a cooking show that she will post on YouTube. I'll keep you updated on that.
This is a great recipe for tomato & zucchini lovers, especially when there are garden-fresh tomatoes available. It was easy to make and as Nadia told me, you can adjust the amount of cheese and bread crumb/crouton mixture to suit you. I scaled the recipe down for my vegetable-fearing family, and I made only 3 tomatoes--relatively large ones, and I used one medium sized zucchini. I had lots of crumbs left over, but I plan to use them on something else soon.
What you see below after the pictures is just what Nadia wrote (typed by me). In her school draft, Nadia included some awesome icons, a knife and a spoon, to indicate which steps were dangerous and needed adult assistance, and which were kid-friendly. I couldn't find anything to substitute, so you'll have to use your own judgement. I hope you enjoy this recipe from 4th grade Nadia. I know that I am looking forward to how she develops as a foodie as she pursues her cooking show and recipe development.

Zucchini Stuffed Tomatoes

How to Make Tomatoes & Zucchini Beautiful

Bam! There that idea was just sitting in the back of my head. Just sitting there. I couldn't think because of this. It was so heavy I thought it would take up all the space in my brain and I would forget to breathe.
My Idea

Ingredients/What You Need
  • Eight sturdy, fresh, red tomatoes (preferably fresh garden, but store bought are fine. Make sure they are hard, but look and smell nice.)
  • Parmesan Cheese & if you don’t like parmesan, apple wood smoked cheddar will work fine.
  • Zucchini, not yellow summer squash; green summer zucchini (two totally different things). If you get store zucchini use within 5 days, garden in 1 month.
  • Croutons & bread crumbs. Please get Italian bread crumbs and New York Texas Toast croutons.
  • a non-stick cookie sheet
  • olive oil

1. First line up the tomatoes in a row on a paper towel, then get a knife & cut off the stems and all the tomato around it. Do this with the other 7.
2. Ask an adult or someone responsible with the stove to get a small pan and the olive oil. Put one cap full of olive oil in the pan and spread it around. After that put the stove on 1 and put the pan on until it starts to sizzle. This should give you enough time to do #3 & 4.
3. Get the zucchini and cut the ends off. Then cut it vertically in half, you should be able to chop the zucchini horizontally into small, bite size pieces. Then get a bowl for number four.
4. Get a big wooden spoon, trying to be careful not to damage the insides. Take the spoon and get the bowl. Dip the spoon in the tomato and get all the seeds and the insides. Then put it in the bowl. IF you didn’t get all of it, leave the rest in the tomato. Put the bowl to the side.
5. Put the zucchini in the pan with the tomato insides. Turn the stove to 3 and let it cook for 5 minutes. After it’s done cooking set the pan on another burner.
6. Get a meat tenderizer and put the croutons in a small quart size bag then put the quart size bag in a gallon size bag. Now don’t start pounding away yet, you need toknow one thing and do another; first use the flat side to pound the croutons, then put the oven at 385° for the tomatoes to bake. Then start smashing the bags until there’s no big chunks left. Take out the quart size bag from the gallon and open the bag, the quart size, then put a one-fourth of the Italian bread-crumbs in the quart bag, now put the quart bag aside for now.
7. Get the Parmesan (or smoked cheddar), a cheese grater, and a bowl (better yet, wash the bowl you already used and use it). Hold the grater in a slanted direction and put the bowl right under it, right by the end on the counter. Then like you are looking right over it, try to grate the cheese only over the bowl. Then when only half of the block is left, put the solid half in a container or a zip-loc bag. You’re done with cheese for now.
8. Okay take everything you’ve done; cut the tomatoes, cut & sautéed the zucchini, crushed, smashed, pounded, and pulverized the croutons, and grated the cheese. Now we put it all together. First put the zucchini in tomato’s hollow shell, just 4 or 5 pieces. Now put 1 layer of cheese, then croutons and breadcrumbs. Just try to put enough but not too much. Surprisingly you need to put another layer of cheese on and now put it on the cookie sheet and get it ready for the oven. Please try and do it right, now you can do it with the other 7.
9. Now it’s time for the ending of this recipe. I wrote this book so you can enjoy your food and I can enjoy remembering this lovely book. Now for the next step, pu the cookie sheet in the oven and let it bake for 7-10 minutes. Have fun eating this Stuffed Tomato. PEACE-OUT!
From the Author,
Nadia Emelinda-Herrera Adams

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