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Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Munchies: Tomato-Inspired Desserts

For those who haven't heard, it's time for the First Annual Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival! What that means, is that I, CC, have decided to enter a recipe (or two!) in the Dessert & Quick Breads Category. Per the festival rules, three finalists will be chosen for each category of recipes (that makes 15 recipes for the math whizzes out there). Those recipes will then be given the professional-chef treatment and put to the taste test on the day of the festival. The website goes into more detail, so definitely check it out and consider entering your own recipe! And if you attend the festival, there will be a vote for the fan favorite--vote for me!

Last night I invited my own panel of judges over (including Official Co-Writer of DCWD Kim and our friends from I Flip For Food!) to narrow down a few of the recipes I had been thinking through. As
mentioned previously, I'm more of a pinch-of-this-handful-of-that kind of cook, so tracking approximate amounts of ingredients for each of these took a lot of effort on my part, but I ended up with some great constructive criticism and two very different, and surprisingly yummy recipes that I'll be entering. I'm not going to give away the secret recipes yet, but I will give you the first look at ingredients and pictures (courtesy again of Official Friends of DCWD Mark and Ang) of my tomato creations.

First, the spread:
The tomato cornbread (pictured above) was voted off the recipe island--not enough tomato, too big of pieces, not spicy enough, and no one could agree on the balance of sweet to savory. Not bad--but not good enough.

The "Tanana Tart" however (in the background of the above picture and detail on left)--a play off of bananas foster baked into a walnut crust--did make the cut. Cinnamon-seared bananas and a trio of sliced
heirloom tomatoes floated in a gooey brown sugar, vanilla, and Amaretto soup, sweet and spicy and just a little bit tart from the tomatoes and a little bit crunchy from the crust. It was better than even I was expecting! I served it with a healthy scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Yum!

And then there was the real winner of the night
(and hopefully the festival), the Chocolate Caprese Cheesecake. Just your basic cheesecake--enhanced by a strained tomato puree, a little bit of dark chocolate and a ginger-graham crust--topped with a basil whipped-cream and a balsamic-chocolate glaze. This introduced a familiar flavor combination in a very different way. Skeptics agreed, and reaffirmed as I made all my coworkers try it today, that this was a successful tomato dessert. What do you think festival fans??

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