The following is a guest post by Dana Vento and is in partnership with the California Olive Committee.
March is Women’s History Month, a time to reflect and highlight the many contributions of women in our society. Today, I’d like to shed some light on a few women who have made one of my favorite snacks and ingredients, California Ripe Olives, possible.
For starters, let’s throw it back to the 1800s with Freda Ehmann. Freda began experimenting with 280 gallons of olives in barrels on her back porch. Thanks to her creative dreaming and stick-to-it-ness, California Ripe Olives were created right then and there. Pretty cool, right? Fast forward to today and many women are out in the fields growing and harvesting these tasty morsels for all of us to enjoy. Check out this fun video of Sally Campbell, a mom, entrepreneur and olive grower. I’m not sure what’s cuter, Sally’s baby, dogs or her mini horse, Roper?
Women’s History Month also makes me think of strong women like my grandmother—traveling through Ellis Island, coming to America on her own and having no one and no resources, yet creating a life for herself. My grandmother always had ripe olives in her pantry for a quick creative accent or base ingredient for a meal from frittatas to stuffed mushrooms.
My family has passed recipes down from generation to generation and I truly treasure each one every time I take it out of the old recipe box and use it. My grandmother had a passion for creative recipes and her ability to curate a simple yet delicious recipe was amazing! Try her Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms with California Ripe Olives and Feta Cheese recipe and you’ll see what I mean.
Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms with Black Olives and Feta Cheese
6 baby portabella mushroom caps, with stems removed
1 tablespoon lemon rind, freshly grated
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup whole grain basmati rice, cooked
1/4 cup California Ripe Olives, drained and sliced
Dash of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
Additional lemon zest for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Set the mushrooms aside and in a bowl mix together grated lemon, feta cheese, bread crumbs, cooked rice, olives, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Place the mushrooms with the opening waiting to be stuffed. Fill each cap to the top, do not press or pack it in, just lightly fill, so that it will bake thoroughly.
Spray baking dish with nonstick spray and space each mushroom on the tray to bake.
Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette before placing in oven.
Bake this for 25 Minutes and remove. Top with lemon zest to garnish.
Makes 6 appetizer servings.