Filled Cherry Tomatoes

First off, I apologize for not having blogged in like two months. I’m the worst. We’ve been suddenly very busy, doing pop-up dinners for a local inn and running our Airbnb, which is finally up! (Come stay with us!) Most of our cooking at home is trying out new stuff for guests, so we haven’t had a lot of time to play around with random new stuff for us. But we promise we’ll get back to the Too Many Cookbook Challenge. The next book on the list is…problematic, so we’re probably going to pause there and jump to the vegetarian section of our collection while we can still get vegetables. Winter is coming.

But I digress. If you knew me in the ’90’s, you would know that the answer to the question “What does Kate love?” was “MARTHA!” It’s true. I was a Martha Stewart fangirl. I was obsessed. I watched the show over and over, I bought the books, I subscribed to the magazine, I wanted everything to be Just So. Of course, it rarely was. Martha’s genius is that she makes everything look effortless, and once again, I was sure that I could make something of hers and have it be stunning. And once again, I was wrong.

We were having people over and I wanted to be fancy, and the Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook was next on the list, so this was a perfect opportunity! We had some delicious white bean mash in the fridge, so I decided to make her Filled Cherry Tomatoes. Just hollow out some cherry tomatoes, fill them with something delectable, and you have a lovely, healthy party snack! So simple, right? Oh, Martha. You got me again.

What an absolute pain in the ass. Even with the sharpest knife we own (yes, it was sharp, Rick Brown) I couldn’t slice the tops off neatly. The ones in Martha’s book look like they were surgically sliced with a laser. Mine were a hot mess, but eventually I got all the little fuckers hollowed out. Of course, there were tomato seeds everywhere. I tried to wash them, but it just kept being messy and the clock was ticking. And neatly putting a wee bit of bean purée in the cups was next to impossible. There were minced onions in the beans and they stuck like glue to everything. Then there was the fun of wedging enough blanched haricots verts into the other cups. Too tall and they fall over, too short and they look ridiculous, too few and they fall over AND look ridiculous.

I took like a million photos and they were all terrible. Then when I went to select one for this, they were even worse than I thought. I actually spent about half an hour photoshopping one of the photos, but I’m going to share an untouched pic so you can see how honestly terrible they looked (and what a bad photograph it is.) SEE??? I had to surround the tall ones with the bean mash ones as kind of a shield. Nothing I could do made those tall ones stand up on their own. Martha must have glued hers to the plate.

Ugh. Never again. But they all got eaten, and the green bean ones were especially delicious. So damn crisp and tasty. But NO! NEVER AGAIN! NO MORE MARTHA. Ooooh, Gazpacho in Cucumber Cups. Doesn’t that sound delightful?

Please send gin.

Next up: Square Meals : America’s Favorite Comfort Cookbook by Jane and Michael Stern OR The Flexitarian Table by Berley and Singer