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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.


First Place Winning Tomato Arts Festival 2013 Recipe


For the hoecakes:

1 cup cornmeal

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp of salt

1/8 tsp of red pepper flakes

1/2 tbsp sugar

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

1 tbsp.melted butter

1-2 tbsp shortening or bacon grease for frying

Whisk egg and buttermilk. Incorporate dry ingredients. While stirring batter, slowly add melted butter. Let sit at least 30 minutes. Will keep in fridge for up to 3 days. Heat pan on medium to high heat with shortening/bacon grease. Pour tablespoons of batter being careful not to crowd pan for a crisper finish. Place on cooling rack.


For Corn Relish:

2 ears of roast corn and cut from cobb

2-3 Juliette tomatoes chopped

Juice of half a lime

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tbsp minced red onion

2 pinches of smoked paprika

1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

Mix ingredients and let stand for 30 minutes.


For Guacamole:.

5 mashed avocado

1 tbsp greek yogurt

1/2 jalapeno minced

1 clove garlic minced garlic

Dash of lime juice

1/8 tsp each of salt and black pepper

Blend ingredients with immersion blender until smooth.


To Finish:  

1 Zebra Stripe tomato

1 Juliette tomato

Cilantro oil (one small bunch cilantro and 1 cup olive oil pureed)

Slice tomatoes thinly and layer with corn relish and avocado sauce. Start by spreading guacamole on hoecake, then zebra, then corn, then Juliette. Finish with a drizzle of cilantro oil.





Second Place Tomato Arts Festival 2013 Recipe Winner


For the bread:

½ cup milk

3 tbsp sugar

2 tsp sea salt

3 tbsp butter

3-5 minced garlic cloves

2-3 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary

41/2 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water (110°)

4 1/2  cup + all purpose flour

Melt butter with milk, salt, sugar, garlic and rosemary in sauce pan on medium heat.  Let cool.  Proof yeast in warm water. Combine 4 1/2 cups of flour 1/2 cup at a time with 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. If kneading by hand, roll up your sleeves and start to “kneedin”. This should take anywhere from 10-20 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 mayo

2 tsp chopped basil

1 tsp thyme

1/2 lb of Noble Springs Chevre

1/8 tsp of salt

Blend ingredients. The longer this refrigerates, the better the marriage of flavors.


For the tomato tapenade:

½ cup chopped tomatoes

2 clove minced garlic

1 tbsp kalamata olive chopped

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1 tbsp fresh chopped basil

1 tsp dried oregano

Blend ingredients; drain the juice and reserve for maybe a  Bloody Mary or Michalda. Let set for at least 30 minutes. 


For the fried eggplant:

1 Japanese Eggplant

1 egg

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup vegetable shortening

Using a vegetable peeler or madoline, slice eggplant into long ribbons. Coat eggplant with egg, dredge in flour and salt mixture. Fry in hot oil and cool.


To Assemble: 

Grill bread that has been brushed with olive oil and rubbed with garlic. Evenly spread the cheese spread onto cooled bread.Top with a ribbon of fried eggplant and OOM-PAH! Yeah ,we know it’s not spelled that way. That’s what we said when it made it to the plate!

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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