Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cheddar Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes


These tasty little bites are fairly quick to whip up and pack a lot of flavor into one mouthful.  This is the other old favorite recipe that I re-discovered when I went hunting for that fudge recipe.  Though it's been years since I made them, I do recall that certain family members used to double check with me to be sure they would be on the menu for whatever gathering was up next.  They can be assembled an hour or so ahead and chilled until serving time.  And you can certainly change up the cheese, they are equally good with Jack or Havarti or even Swiss if that floats your boat.  If you want to fill them with a piping bag, be sure to use a plain tip; the cheese shreds will get stuck in a star tip's edges and make things difficult.  (Yes, I speak from experience.)  At any rate, this is a nice little treat to add to the appetizer tray.

Cheddar-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
makes about 36 tomatoes

2 pints cherry tomatoes
1 pkg. (8oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (4oz.) finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 tbsp milk
2 small cloves garlic, mashed
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp black pepper

Cut a cone shaped core from the end of the cherry tomatoes.  (The original directions say to cut the stem end, but cutting the bottom and not the stem end will sometimes provide a more stable base for the little rollers.)  Gently scoop out the centers.  Drain the shells upside down on a paper towel while you prepare the filling.  

Cut up the cream cheese in a bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients (except the tomatoes of course), and mash with a fork until well blended.  (Yes, you can use a mixer if you want to dirty up more bowls and such.  It will yield a more homogenous mixture.)  Spoon the filling into a pastry bag with a large plain tip and pipe into tomatoes.  Or use a small spoon to fill them.  

The filling and tomatoes can be made up ahead separately and assembled an hour before filling.

Adapted from Holiday Cakes & Cookies by Family Circle 1999/2000
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