Stuffed & Grilled Tomatoes on Garlic Ciabatta

I am un-American.  At least that is what people tell me when they discover that we don’t have a television.  “Do you mean you don’t have cable?” they will sometimes ask, hopefully, thinking we might be a little pitiful, but not completely crazy.  No–I mean we don’t have a tv.  At all.  The last time I had a television was 1997.  After my last 90210 dinner party in 1993, I had moved it from apartment to apartment without ever turning it on, so I just got rid of it.  I have always hated the constant noise and chatter of tv, the commercials, the empty and unsatisfied feeling I had inside after watching for several hours.  I know that I can be rather extreme at times, but I didn’t like the way it made me feel, so I made it go away.  Simple as that.  Now, I can’t imagine which hours of the day I’d give up to fill with television–the time I lie sleepily in bed with my children at the end of the day? The stolen moments I spend reading books? The time I unwind cooking dinner, enjoying the soothing, repetitive satisfaction of chopping, slicing, stirring, meditating on the scents and textures that have nothing to do with spreadsheets, social media, or workaday minutia? I know if we kept a tv around, it would work its insidious way into our lives, for what is it for if not to be turned on? It has been lovely to raise children without a tv–when they were very little, they rode along in the grocery cart without ever whining or asking for sugary cereal, packages bedecked with cartoon characters. I never had to watch them become sharp and bitter with desire instilled by corporate advertising. I am not alone. I have a friend who also does not have a television. When people make tv references (which happens all the time in casual conversation), we just look at each other and shrug. We don’t get it. But that’s ok, because I don’t want it. I know that my choices are not for everyone. But I do believe it is possible to curate our own experience, to pick and chose what we want in our lives. I find this gloriously freeing . . . and pretty American after all.

Stuffed & Grilled Tomatoes with Garlic Ciabatta

More a method than a recipe, this is one of my favorite rituals of summer.  Allow about 3-4 toasts per person.  The quantities below make about 12 toasts.

For stuffing:

2 c. fresh breadcrumbs

1/4 c. grated parmesan

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large handful itlalian parsley, chopped

chopped basil & chives

1/4 c. olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

For toasts:

6 tomatoes, cut in half, seeds scooped out

1 loaf ciabatta, cut into 12 slices

olive oil for brushing toasts

whole coves garlic, cut in half

Build a medium hot fire in grill.  Toss ingredients for stuffing together in a medium bowl and mix until olive oil is evenly distributed.  Pack stuffing fairly tightly into tomato seed cavities.  Brush ciabatta slices on both sides with olive oil.  Grill bread until golden.  While still slightly warm from grill, rub toasts with cut side of garlic clove on one side.  Place on platter in single layer and set aside.  Place tomatoes on grill, skin side down.  Grill until they are softened and bottoms are charred and blackened.  Remove from grill, placing on toasts skin side up.  When they are cool enough to handle, peel away charred skins and discard.  Use a fork to mash tomato into garlic toasts.  Drizzle with a little extra olive oil if desired and devour.

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28 Responses to “Stuffed & Grilled Tomatoes on Garlic Ciabatta”

  1. Ray Collins

    I knew there must be someone else out there who had ditched their television, but I couldn’t prove it based on my associates.

    Reply
    • farmhousetable

      ha! we need to form a movement . . . life without it is so much fuller.

      Reply
      • jenny

        I love TV. But I also love the point you made…”I do believe it is possible to curate our own experience, to pick and chose what we want in our lives. I find this gloriously freeing . . . and pretty American after all.” because I also love to read hang with my boys, etc. Moderation, as with everything, is the key to me.
        Thanks a ton for your site, food, and discussions. Much needed, I think.
        Oh, and I know a ton of people who don’t have a tele.
        Jenny

      • farmhousetable

        That was the point! Thank you so much for seeing that rather than that I was telling others they shouldn’t have one. That was my biggest fear in posting this one.

  2. Evin Cooper

    “We don’t have a TV, we have a magic glowy box that plays DVDs” is my current joke. We’ve cut off all commercial television – we don’t have antenna or cable or anything like that. We LOVE movies though and with 3 kids, 2 under 2, getting out to the theater is very hard (impossible for me, as I’m breastfeeding our youngest) so we rent and buy a lot of movies. My guy is a film maker, so an education in “important” movies is crucial for our kids – we watch a classic every Sunday while we eat breakfast – generally John Wayne *eye roll*. It’s great bonding time for us, we love picking out the movie together, planning the breakfast menu to match it, then talking about it afterwards (mostly with the 6 year old, the little two arent very involved!) I love that my kid knows who John Wayne and Steve McQueen are but keeps asking “Who’s this Justin Beaver girl everybody talks about?”

    TV is insidious with it’s marketing and constant reminder that what we have isn’t enough. That doesn’t mean I don’t sneak off after everyone is asleep and watch Glee on the computer while eating cheetoes. Cuz I totally do.

    Reply
    • farmhousetable

      That is hysterical! We too watch dvds. My son is a huge fan of the Simpsons. I love the idea of classic movies too–I *think* my kids are old enough for Blade Runner (my favorite movie ever). This might be the summer for that. We watched Excaliber with them the other night, which was lots of fun. Had forgotten how cheesy it was, but I still love it so. The other funny one to watch together was Point Break. They love it & still often quote the wisdom of Bodie.

      Reply
  3. ken bruce

    Love, love, love everything about this post.
    ¡Muchas gracias!
    ~Ken in South Austin

    Reply
  4. Valerie

    I got rid of my cable only a few months ago and it has been great! While I do watch the occasional show online, my TV watching has been dramatically reduced. I feel more productive and become more creative with the way that I use my time. Love it!

    Reply
    • farmhousetable

      I love how those small changes can sometimes be so significant!

      Reply
  5. Ron

    How do you know life without television is fuller, if you have never had life with television? I am all for you being happy with the choice you’ve made. But do you think it’s possible that a person could have a full life that happens to include a television? I do not feel like my life is empty at all, and I have three televisions.

    Reply
    • farmhousetable

      Oh, I definitely did have a tv–growing up & all through college! And of course it’s possible for someone to have a full life that includes a television–I was just talking about me. Really the whole point was how great it is to have the freedom to craft your own life in America–to opt out of whatever you want. Absolutely just my perspective of my own life & not a statement about anyone else’s!

      Reply
  6. Eileen davern

    Hey Elizabeth!
    You’re such an inspiration.
    Keep them comin!

    Reply
  7. Blaine

    I wish I grew up without a TV! Now that I’m without one, I’m more than okay with being among the proud few college students who can’t join in a conversation revolving around the Real Housewives. I recently just deactivated my Facebook for the same soul-sucking reasons. Gasp!
    (those tomatoes are gorgeous, I’m going to try this recipe)

    Reply
    • farmhousetable

      I know what you mean–my kids actually without prompting talk about how different their lives are because they don’t have one. They do watch dvds though, and even though I always said that my kids would NEVER watch movies in the car, I totally plugged that baby in for a 22 hour car trip to Telluride.

      Reply
    • Nina Herndon

      While I still have a TV, I ditched cable about 2 years ago when I moved into my own apartment & signed up for Netflix-I’ve never once looked back. Now I rarely even use the Netflix-I save it for watching mostly documentaries of old favorites when I have a spare hour or so in my week.
      I deactivated my Facebook about a month or so ago-for the very same reasons! Who wants to sit around all day and look at other people’s photos or read posts that really don’t do anything but create distraction from your own life? Blogs [like this one] are SO much more fulfilling!

      Thanks farmhousetable for such an awesome/inspirational/fun post! I can’t wait to get my first farmhouse delivery today! 😀

      Reply
  8. Tanya (Necessary Pleasures)

    We’ve been thinking of getting rid of ours … and if it was just my husband and I would definitely would. But alas we’ve allowed the kids to have it for so long that there’s be total mutiny in our house! Guess when we’re empty nesters we can kid the TV to the curb.

    Just discovered your blog. Can’t wait to sink my teeth into it!

    Reply
    • farmhousetable

      I feel your pain–we just got rid of video games. It wasn’t as bad as you would think, once we got past the initial withdrawals!

      Reply
  9. mapleRose

    Your kids are very blessed! I grew up without TV, and finished High School 2 years early with a perfect GPA. I can only guess how much more I learned and how much more I communicated with other people instead of watching TV for all those years. Just wish I’d had a pre-nup that allowed me to do the same for my kids!

    Reply
    • farmhousetable

      I love it!! I would identify as somewhere between a “shrugger” and an “efficiency expert.” I try to say little about our lack of tv, as my husband’s family is convinced we are communists and razz us mercilessly about it.

      Reply
  10. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets

    Hi there! I just discovered your site and am LOVING it. Your photograph is wonderful and your recipes, tempting :). I do a weekly roundup of favorite food photos and would like to feature one from this post with a link back to your site. Hope that’s ok with you!

    Reply
  11. JourneyKitchen

    What beautiful pictures and great recipe! Okay i barely watch television and I wouldn’t miss it but I don’t think my family would ever agree to go without it. But I certainly think its great that u took the decision to do without it!

    Reply
  12. Rhianna Lederman

    Well first off, thank you for being so inspiring! The beauty of life without television sounds so appealing I might just try it. 🙂 I get sucked in when I could be making much better use of my time. SECOND of all, this recipe is mouthwatering! It has everything thing I love…garlic, tomatoes, olive oil…so simply comforting. I will definitely give this a try.

    Reply
  13. Amanda

    Wish I could hang with you quite frankly…you are salt of the earth and I find it reare these days to find someone like you. Thank you….

    Reply

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