My mom created this recipe when I was a child and I have been using it for years now. I actually served cheese filled tomatoes and cucumbers on the very first dinner party I hosted. The cheese filled tomatoes and cucumbers are great to serve as individual salad course if you are planning a multiple course dinner menu, but they can also be served as an appetizer on a cocktail party if using smaller size tomatoes and smaller pieces of cucumber. They are pretty and delicious, real crowd pleasers…so much so that my 10 year old daughter had 6 of those the last time I made them.
1 long English cucumber
200g Feta cheese (or cream cheese)
2-3 Tbs of plain yogurt
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 tsp sea salt plus more to taste
6 black pitted olives
fresh dill for decoration
Make the cheese filling: Place the feta in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add the garlic, salt, pepper and yogurt and mash again until the mixture is homogeneous. Some brands of feta are drier than others so use as much yogurt as you need to achieve workable but not runny consistency. Transfer the filling into a pastry bag or a medium size ziploc bag and cut the tip.
Carve the tomatoes and cucumbers: This is surprisingly easy! Cut the cucumber in 3 4 inch pieces and set aside. Start with the tomatoes, take a small carving knife and make an incision looking like a slash in the middle of the tomato, letting the knife go as deep as the center of the tomato. Pul out the blade and make a second incision to form a arrow. Carve the tomato in this zig zagging mode all around then gently separate the two halves and you will have pretty tulip shaped tomatoes. Carve the 3 cucumber pieces by using the same technique and you will have 6 tomatoes and 6 cucumber flowers ready to be filled.
Assemble: Sprinkle some salt over the vegetable before filling them. Pipe the filling in the center of each tomato and cucumber and arrange them on a serving platter. Place an olive on top of the tomatoes and stick a sprig of dill in the center. Decorate the cucumber with just sprigs of dill.
Make it ahead: If you are preparing the cheese filled tomatoes and cucumbers for a party you can make the filling up to 4 hours earlier, keep it in the fridge and add the salt just before filling the veggies, otherwise your filling may become runnier than desired. The tomatoes and cucumbers can also be carves up to 2 hours prior to serving, but keep them in the fridge without separating the the halves to prevent them from drying.