Hye Thyme Cafe: Olive Tapenade Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Olive Tapenade Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

I hope that everyone had a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving. We had a great day, celebrated with some soon to be extended family members. This year, I was tasked with baking rolls for dinner, making an appetizer, and a dessert. One of the apps I made was something that I had seen in Gourmet Magazine years ago. Theirs was a Spanish olive version, but I chose to go in a different  direction.

Tapenade is typically used as a spread, and often contains anchovies and/or brandy. I always hear that anchovies blend into a dish and are undetectable, but I can't even imagine me handling them, so I passed. As for the brandy, in looking at various recipes, there is such a small amount called for, I didn't bother buying a bottle just for this.  

What turns me off about most Tapenade recipes is the photos. Sadly, mine don't do these bites justice, but that's not how I meant it -- most recipes puree the olives all the way into a paste. Even if I loved all of the ingredients, I don't think I could bring myself to eat a gray blob.  

I was first thinking that I would leave some olives aside to mince and sprinkle on top, but when I was pulsing to puree them, I made sure to stop when you could still see all the little bits, pieces, and various colors. Others suggest using a mortar and pestle, but again, I find the color unappetizing, so if you don't have a food processor and want to go that route, I would suggest leaving a few of each item aside to mince and blend in at the end for texture and visual appeal.

1 c pitted Kalamata Olives
1 c Colossal Green Olives
8 Peppadew Peppers
2 T Capers
1 large clove Garlic
1 T fresh-squeezed Lemon Juice
Olive Oil
1 T Balsamic Vinegar
Cherry Tomatoes
3 T fresh chopped cilantro (additional for garnish)

In the bowl of your food processor, pulse together the olives, peppers, capers, and garlic. Add the lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil and give it another whirl or two until you achieve a texture you are happy with.

At this point, I tasted the mixture and thought ... uh oh, I don't think I'm going to like this?!?! L

Because I was making the filling two days early, I decided to not worry about it. I had already decided to add the cilantro at the last minute so it wouldn't discolor in the meantime, and figured I could doctor it up later.

I brought all of my tomatoes, my filling, and cilantro up to my sister's house for Thanksgiving, having gone early in case there was anything I could do to help. I tasted the mixture again there and realized that it had really just needed time for the flavors to blend. Pfeww!! I added the cilantro and a tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar and was good to go!  J

If you have enough to spare, you can sprinkle some additional cilantro onto a platter to give your tomatoes something to grip and stand up on.  

Slice the stem end off of each tomato, hollow out the center and fill with the Tapenade mixture.  Sprinkle cilantro over the top of the platter when filled.

I was curious (translation = nervous) to see how these would go over with the crowd. There were so many items to chose from, I noticed that a number of people never got around to trying one. However, I also noticed that the people who did try them went back for several, so that made me happy. I would not hesitate to make these again (intentionally giving the mixture time to sit and come together), but hope that I can find slightly larger tomatoes next time. For some reason, all of the cherry tomatoes I found were closer to the size of a grape tomato. It would be nice if I could find some yellow as well.


  1. The opposite of turkey! Exactly what I need right now, thanks!

    1. :) You're turkeyed out and I just had my first post-Thanksgiving leftover sandwich. I was a couch potato yesterday - couldn't warm up and was just feeling "off," so I hunkered down and stayed bundled up for the day. Had to have at least one sandwich with all the fixin's today. ;)

  2. Oh my!! I'd love to have some of these now!!!

    1. There were a few left, so I sneaked two to have alongside my Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich. :)

  3. Looks amazing. I wish I could come to a party you host. And when will that be exactly?

    1. Well, Christmas is up next, although we have broken it down so that we celebrate Christmas Eve with appetizers/dessert so we have room for dinner on Christmas day and whatever is left of the desserts later. We don't have a stuffed monkey (Leo) for the kids to play with, but we do have Coco the CuKoo Chihuahua. :)


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