Stuffed Tomatoes and a tribute to Nana

What do stuffed tomatoes and a tribute to Nana have in common you might ask?  Well, after 94 years filled with incidents, my dear mother-in-law passed away on March 1st in her sleep.  I will always remember the stuffed tomatoes she cooked, they were my favorite when she visited.  She was an inspiration to me in more ways than one.  She stood for what she believed in, her most famous quote was “I will always call a spade, a spade”.  She was a diligent worker, spent most of her working life teaching Special Education, and had a passion for music.  She still practiced the piano in her 80’s, played scrabble and boggle and enjoyed card games.  She was an avid reader, at 86 she wrote her memoirs and had a canny sense of humor.  We will be publishing her memoirs for the extended family in the next few weeks.  She was generous and genuine, always worrying about the person who had less than her and always helped those in need.

Her full life spanned a few continents, India, UK, Canada, Australia.  Her memoirs recall her time in India, then moving to England when India became independent in 1947, another move to Canada and again another to Australia when she married again at 72, after being widowed for a few years.  I will always remember her letters to our children from Australia.  Such vivid descriptions of the country, how she heard the kookaburra, saw kangaroos in the wild, the beautiful colored birds and wrote about the fragrance of the stunning tropical flora.  We were fortunate enough to have taken a trip to Australia when she lived there.  It was a trip that she planned for us, covering Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, that trip will be etched in our memories forever.  She could debate on any topic and had an opinion on everything – she could discuss Margaret Thatcher and Saddam Hussein in the same breath, she was in tune with the affairs of the world and was never afraid to give her take on it.  A couple years ago we were at her bank helping her with some of her accounts.  They asked if she could make up a password, without batting an eyelid she said “Hitler”, like I said, her humor was extraordinary!  The girls and I were blessed and fortunate to have had her in our lives for 35 years, may she live on in our hearts forever!

Tomato cutlets, as she referred to them was my absolute favorite among other dishes.  Today, I made them in her honor accompanied with tomato rice pilaf (also her recipe).  I scooped out the tomato first and set aside the fleshy parts for the rice.  I used ground turkey and an array of spices that I had ground in a blender (masala).  The spices included a large bunch of cilantro, green chillies, cumin, salt, sugar, garlic, ginger, cloves, cardamom, tamarind, cinnamon, tumeric and a good splash of vinegar.  I usually make up a batch of this and refrigerate it, using it on anything and everything really.  Roasts, hamburgers, shepherds pie, baked fish, curries etc.  After I stuff the tomatoes with the ground turkey, I sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top and flip it over in a hot skillet to get the tops brown – I then bake it in the oven till the tomatoes are cooked.  For the rice, I use basmati rice, I fried some onions with whole spices, chopped up the scooped tomatoes and let it saute with the onions for a bit, I added cilantro, chicken stock and let the rice cook till ready.  Here are some pictures to give you an idea.

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I’m off to our virtual party at Fiesta Friday, a happening, bopping party that takes place each Friday.  Our ever gracious host Angie@TheNoviceGardener is always so warm and welcoming.  Her 2 co-hosts Jhuls@thenotsocreativecook and Mila@MilkandBun will be on hand to meet and greet. Have a look at their blogs for extra ideas and inspiration.  Thanks ladies for taking us on.  Much appreciated.

66 comments

  1. What a beautiful tribute to your mother in law. She sounds like a lovely person, and I’m sorry for your loss. Also, stuffed tomatoes are one of my favorite things to cook, and these look delicious. Happy FF! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words Sandhya – she was sure one of a kind. Not many folks get along with all of their in-laws, but she and I got along pretty well. We were open and upfront with each other, and that was key 🙂 We have a lot of wonderful memories to get us through. Happy FF!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jhuls, the post was not meant to upset you, I’m sorry if it did. She was quite a lady, and I wanted to honor her in my special post for FF. Thanks for hosting, you always do such a great job! 🙂

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  2. I just love strong women like your mother in law. People that are intelligent but still humble enough to work with those less fortunate. Married at 72? This women knew how to live. After the grief, I know you will continue to think of her with a smile on your face. These tomatoes look delicious, and perfect for a light summer dish. Thinking of you Loretta!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh she was exactly that Julie, strong, yet soft and yielding on the inside. She never spent money on herself, but rather looked over her shoulder to see who was in need. To be honest, we too were shocked when she told us she was up and moving to Australia. She had met an old friend that she had known on one of her visits there, he too was widowed. She didn’t strike me as the type who would re-marry, but she did and lived in Australia for about 20 years or less. Happy memories and a wonderful life to go by. Thanks for stopping and Happy FF 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your mother in law sounds like a wonderful person who enriched lives everywhere. I hope that you might share some more of her stories as time goes on. This is a lovely tribute to her and her cooking, Loretta. Love and hugs x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Selma, her stories were priceless. Just reading through her memoirs makes me realize that this is one strong woman who accepted challenges as they came along. We enjoyed cooking together whenever she’d visit. We will definitely miss her.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. How beautiful! Your Mother in law sounds like someone I would have loved to have known! I worked with the elderly for years (In Australia too!), and was absolutely amazed at how much they inspire me, even now!
    This is a beautiful way to pay tribute, and the tomato cutlets look amazing! I can’t wait to try it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Giramuk, she was quite an extraordinary woman, my mother-in-law! You’re right, the elderly have so much that we can learn from. We too visited a seniors home for the past 25 years, they so looked forward to our monthly visits, I too have a real soft spot for seniors :). Thanks for stopping by, and do try the cutlets 🙂

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    1. Thanks Judi, she was definitely someone that I’d like our family to emulate. She did inspire all of us and we have those cherished memories that we can cling to. Thanks for stopping by and Happy FF!

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  5. I missed seeing you here. Again, my sympathies for your loss… But it is somewhat comforting that your mother in law has passed away peacefully in her sleep and that she has lived a full life surrounded by her loving family. This recipe “smells” and looks delicious! I wish I can cook like you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thanks so much. I will just have to follow your Photography 101 now, and get ready for the next session. It seems like you are really on top of it. I can’t imagine taking the course for a whole month though? Thanks for your kind words and for stopping by 🙂

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  6. Did I miss the actual recipe or was it just wht was incorporated into the tribute part? Nicely photographed and words of description and honor made me wish I knew her. Such a blessing to have had her for so long! Not sure the world makes many more like her….hugs dear friend. Missing your face.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sue, you are too kind. No, I did not actually type up the recipe, just the ingredients – that’s probably because I don’t follow any recipe. Yes, even though we were separated by countries, she had quite an impact in the lives of her grandchildren (my 2) and myself. She actually came to Tower Hill a couple of times to talk about her experiences in Australia in some of the lower grades. Miss you too, let’s get together sometime?

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  7. I’m so sorry to hear of your family’s loss, Loretta. It sounds like your mother in law never lacked adventure in her life… especially living all across the world. Your words are lovely and heartfelt… blessings to you and yours. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It is sad to hear about your loss! I know you would have enjoyed having such a wonderful person in your life and that makes grieving all the more difficult. It is excellent that you recreated this tomato cutlets to remember her special place in your thoughts and kitchen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much – such great influences in one’s life is always so beneficial. I will remember her always. We did have some fun times in the kitchen cooking together. Happy FF!

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  9. I’m so sorry to hear about your Nana; it sounds as if she had an amazing and full life and has left many beautiful memories to live on after her. I can understand how her recipes have become favorites to be passed on.

    My sympathies!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Fae – yes indeed I could not imagine re-marrying again at that ripe old age :). I’d be old, crotchety and set in my ways. Thanks for stopping by and your thoughtful sentiments.

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  10. You mother-in-law was a hoot. That password story made me smile. I learned to make stuffed tomatoes from a professor I had in college. I worked with her husband and was over for dinner where she served them. They are vegetarian, so no meat, but I have to say I have been making them ever since. Your recipe sounds great too. I love your profession food photos too. Magazine worthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha, thanks so much, she was definitely a hoot! Yes, that password still brings a smile to my face when I think of it. I’d be interested to see your vegetarian version of the stuffed tomato, I thought to try to make my own sometime too, I’ll bet corn would be good in it. Thanks for the photo compliments, I’m getting there, not quite magazine worthy yet though :). I have a gardening section on my blog too, and a post on “Irresistible Lilies” as I know you posted on that too. Love your gardening/nature site. I love gardening too, and can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt any day now :). Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. This is a lovely tribute to someone who seems to have lived a long and interesting life! The stuffed tomatoes looks great and that spice mix sounds gorgeous! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tracey, I’m glad you found the most important post :). The tribute meant a lot to me when I tried to remember what dish represented her the most, so I could post it for FF. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

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