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Tomato Art Festival Recipe Contest

Posted on Aug 12, 2013 by in Corbin In The Dell | 12 comments

HO-Chetta Pic

I am so tickled to have received 1st place for my HO’Chetta and 2nd place for my OOM-PAH bruschettas at this year’s Tomato Art Festival recipe contest.  In its 10th year, I was amongst a group of very talented chefs competing for the title.  With two chances, all 25 of us lined up at Margot’s door promptly at 1:45pm for the judges to take their seats.  Pank was such a sweetie.  He drove me as close as he could to get my entries in on time.  He parked all the way at 15th and Ordway and hoofed up that hill to kiss me good luck.  After my entries were submitted, we headed to East-Centric Pavilion for a bit of beer and music respite from the heat.  The clock seemed to yell, “Tick-tock, tick-tock!”  Somewhere in the late afternoon, I got the word that not only had I won second place, but I also won first!  I am so humbled by this experience.  Below are my recipes, but I would like to add that I used a few local farm ingredients that deserve mention: Hatcher’s Dairy, Wedge Oak Farm, Delvin Farms, Noble Springs Dairy and My Back Yard.



For the hoecakes:1 cup cornmeal1 tsp. baking powder

Pinch or two of salt

Pinch or two of red pepper flakes

.5 tbsp. sugar

1 egg beaten

1 cup buttermilk

1 tbsp. melted butter

Enough shortening or bacon grease for frying. Beat egg. Stir in buttermilk. Incorporate dry ingredients. While stirring batter, add melted butter. Let sit at least 30 minutes, but up to 3 days. Heat pan on medium to high heat with shortening/bacon grease. Using a table spoon, pour individual cakes being careful not to crowd the pan. This will give a crisper finish. Cool on cooling rack.


For CornTopping:2 ears of corn cut roasted and cut off the cobb2-3 Juliette tomatoes chopped

Juice of half a lime

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tbsp. minced red onion

2 pinches of smoked paprika

1 tsp. olive oil

.25 tsp. salt

Couple of cracks of fresh black pepper

Mix all ingredients and let stand for 30 minutes.


For guacamole sauce:.5 mashed avocado1 tbsp. Greek yogurt

.5 jalapeno minced

1 clove minced garlic

Dash of lime juice

Pinch of salt and pepper

Blend together ingredients with immersion blender until smooth.


To Finish:  1 zebra stripped tomato, 1 Juliette tomato ,Cilantro oil (one bunch cilantro, 1 cup olive oil pureed) Slice thinly and layer with above ingredients. Start with spreading guacamole sauce on hoecake, then zebra, then corn, then Juliette. Top with cilantro oil




For the Bread:½ cup low –fat milk3 tbsp. Sugar2 tsp. Sea Salt

3 tbsp. Butter

3-5 Minced Garlic Cloves

Handful of Fresh Chopped Rosemary

4.5 tsp. Active Dry Yeast

1.5 cups Warm Water (110°)

4.5 cup + All Purpose Flour

Melt butter with milk, salt, sugar, garlic and rosemary in sauce pan on medium heat.  Let cool.  Mix yeast and water in small bowl for approximately 5 minutes.  If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast.  You will know it has proofed when it bubbles.  Combine 4.5 cups of flour, rosemary mixture and yeast.  A stand mixer is very helpful, but not necessary.  If using mixer, set on level 2 with dough hook until dough forms a ball around hook and is slightly sticky to touch (add flour by the .5 cup until desired consistency.)  If kneading by hand, roll up your sleeves and start to “kneedin”.  This should take anywhere from  10-30 minutes depending on the day’s humidity.  Regardless of kneading method, if dough gets a little dry, a tablespoon of water should loosen it up.  Grease a large bowl with olive oil. Place dough ball in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap until it has doubled in size (approximately 1 hour.)  Punch the risen dough and divide in half.  Roll each half into a rectangle.  Roll up tightly minding the ends and place into greased loaf pans.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise till double in size (approximately 30 minutes.) Meanwhile, preheat oven 400°.  Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.  Turn loaves out onto cooling rack and pour a glass of Chianti, because this just calls for a mid-afternoon snack!


For the cheese spread:2 tbsp. Mayo2 tsp. chopped basil

1 tsp. thyme

.25 lb. of Noble Springs chevre

Pinch of Salt

Blend ingredients. The longer this refrigerates the better the flavors marry.


For the sauce:½ cup chopped tomato2 clove minced garlic

1 tbsp. Kalamata olive chopped

Dash of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh chopped basil and dried oregano to taste (about a tbsp. each)

Blend ingredients; drain some of the juice, let set for at least 30 minutes. 


For the fried eggplant:1 Japanese Eggplant thinly sliced1 egg

1 cup of flour

.5 tsp. salt

1 cup vegetable shortening

Dip eggplant in egg, dredge in flour and salt mixture. Fry in hot oil and cool.


To Finish: Grill bread that has been brushed with olive oil and rubbed with garlic. Spread cheese spread on cooled bread. Spoon a bit of the tomato mixture. Top with eggplant and OOMPAH! (yeah ,we know it’s not spelled that way!)

12 comments on “Tomato Art Festival Recipe Contest

  1. Those lucky judges! Congrats! It’s no surprise that you placed 1 and 2!

  2. angela@spinachtiger on said:

    Congratulations Melissa. I was there, but it was so hot, I’m sure I missed a lot. These recipes look amazing!

  3. amy @ fearless homemaker on said:

    Congratulations on your two wins – so exciting! The ho’chetta sounds especially delicious to me – YUM!

  4. Congrats Melissa! They both look delicious!

  5. alexandra @ sweet betweens [blog] on said:

    Daaaang, woman. I don’t know which recipe looks more delicious to me – they both are making me starving at 9:00 in the morning. And this “My Backyard” that gets an honorable mention. Methinks you should host tours of this backyard! :)

  6. ErinsFoodFiles on said:

    This looks amazing! Congrats on winning, and it was great to meet you last night at Sardinia!

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