Baked Tomatoes and Green Olives
by Chase Dermott, Education & Public Programs Manager
If you take a walk through the archives of the Everett Museum of History, you’ll find thousands of artifacts that grab your attention and teach you something about Everett’s dynamic history. From photographs to furniture, you can find an artifact to represent every aspect of life in Everett. Possibly the most entertaining part of this process is finding relatable, everyday items; the most mundane things are often the most fascinating. And what could be more fun than taking these tidbits of advice and trying them in a modern-day setting?
In our new blog series, emoh@home, we’ll be trying out recipes, household tricks, beauty tips and more for the amusement of the masses. You won’t want to miss the
ridiculousness solid historical research we’re about to dive into.
With that being said, we’re starting this series off with one of our favorite things: food. In this episode, I try a recipe that had my mouth watering when I read the title: Baked Tomatoes and Green Olives from Pull Together: A Gift from the Merchants of Everett to the Newlyweds. This cookbook is the muse that inspired emoh@home, so it’s fitting that our first experience comes from its pages. We know very little about where the book came from, but we’re excited about how much information it gives us about Everett in the 1920s!
“Baked Tomatoes and Green Olives
6 ripe tomatoes
½ c. stoned green olives
½ c. bread crumbs
¼ t. pepper
1 tb. grated onion
2 tb. butter
½ t. salt
Cut a slice from the stem ends of tomatoes; remove the seeds. Mix all the ingredients, fill into the tomatoes, heaping it up in the center. Dot the top with butter and stand them in a baking pan with ½ c. water and bake in hot oven 35 to 40 minutes, basting once at (sic) twice. This makes a good luncheon or supper dish.”
I had to plan this dish for a night when I already had something else on the menu for my kids because let’s be honest… tomatoes. Also, I couldn’t imagine having to answer the question “what’s that green stuff?” one more time this week.
I headed to Sno-Isle Natural Foods Co-op on Grand Ave. to pick up supplies and spent a moment appreciating the wonderful organic tomatoes.
I had to be particular about tomato shape because I knew these guys would need to sit up straight, so I chose the six most beautiful tomatoes I could find. They were so ripe, I was afraid they’d burst in my hands. After failing to locate butter made locally, I settled for butter in a fancy box. I did a quick search on what exactly they meant by “stoned green olives” (FYI, they just mean pitted) and gathered the rest of my missing ingredients.
I already had bread crumbs at home and debated between traditional and panko. In the end, I decided on traditional because I thought the lovely crispiness of panko bread crumbs would be wasted inside a juicy tomato. It was a good call.
Assembling the tomatoes was easy. Instead of including the olives whole, I tore them a little as though I’d pitted them myself (you know, just in case) and to make sure there was plenty of surface area for the bread crumbs to stick to. Also, in case you’re ever instructed to grate onion, I’m telling you right now you might as well just mince it with a knife. Grating it reduced the onion to a watery paste.
I filled the tomato cups and lamented the fact that that they were only ¾ full and I didn’t get to heap anything. It’s the little things, guys. However, I did get an immense amount of pleasure putting a pat of butter on each one because butter.
I did a little research to determine an appropriate temperature for the tomatoes to bake because “hot oven” doesn’t tell me much. Deciding on 350 degrees, I put the tomatoes in the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes. Now at this point I have half a can of green olives taunting me from the other side of the kitchen and I’m not one to ignore such things. Predictably, I grab a handful of the salty morsels, pop them in my mouth, and quickly realize they taste exactly like black olives. Imposters! I realize that I’m not going to get the salty, savory stuffed tomatoes I’ve been looking forward to for weeks, but I’m nothing if not hungry so down the hatch they go.
The final product was surprisingly good! The bread crumbs did get a little soggy inside the tomatoes (called it), emphasizing the importance of really cleaning the seeds out of the tomato shells, but mixed with butter they gave the whole thing a wonderful flavor. To make up for the lack of cardiac episode-inducing sodium levels I was craving, I added salt. The tomatoes themselves were perfect and the olives had great texture and flavor. Overall it was a success, although neither of my children would even give me a no-thank-you bite. One of them hid from me. Baby steps.
What I’d keep: I’d definitely spring for good tomatoes again and the bake time and temperature were right on the mark.
What I’d change: I’d replace the canned imposters with jarred green olives, double the olive and onion quantities, and include only enough bread crumbs to coat the rest of the ingredients, leaving any loose bread crumbs behind.
Cost: About $20 if you have bread crumbs, salt, and pepper at home and you splurge on organic tomatoes!
If you decide to try this recipe, be sure to post all about it and tag us on social media. We’d love to see it! And don’t forget to share this gem with your friends so more people can watch us embarrass ourselves for the sake of history.