Tomato Head’s White Bean Kale Butternut Squash Stew


Warm and Hearty

White Bean, Butternut Squash & Kale Soup Recipe

Beautiful Colors


1 cup navy beans, dry

¼ cup oil

¾ cup onion, chopped

1 tbsp garlic, chopped

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes

1 cup fennel tops and fronds chopped

1 – 14 oz. can petit diced tomatoes

4 cups water

Coming Together

3 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp salt

1 Tbsp sugar

1 bay leaf

2 cups kale, chopped


Look through the navy beans for rocks; rinse and soak overnight.

Drain the beans.  Pour the beans into a medium pot and fill with enough fresh water to cover the beans by 2 inches.  Place the beans on high heat, when they come to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook the beans until soft.

Meanwhile, chop the rest of your vegetables and measure the rest of your ingredients.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the Onions and garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.  Add the butternut squash, fennel tops, diced tomato, water, tomato paste, and bay leaf.  Bring the mixture to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes until the butternut squash is soft.

When the navy beans are soft, drain them and pour them into the pot.  Add the salt, and sugar (recipe can be made ahead up to this point and refrigerated for several days).

When ready to serve add kale; stir to submerge all the kale and simmer until Kale is softened, 2-3 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Serves 6-8

Flour Head Bakery’s Hot Cereal with Muesli and Fresh Berries

Berries on Top

Great Beginnings

Yummy Spoonful



1 cup water

1 ¼ cup milk or milk substitute

½ cup Cream of Wheat or Wheat Farina

4 tsp light brown sugar

pinch of salt

Place water and milk in a small bowl over medium heat.  Gradually whisk in the wheat farina, bring to

boil, and whisk constantly until mixture thickens.

Divide the hot cereal between bowls.  Drizzle each bowl with honey or maple syrup, and top with Muesli, and fresh berries.

Serves 2-4

Collard Green Salad


Collard Green Salad Recipe

3 large Collard leaves

2 TBL Oil

¼ cup chopped onion

1 medium tomato – about 1 cup, chopped

1 TBL Parsley, chopped

1 TBL cider vinegar

½ tsp salt

Wash Collards in several rinses of cold water.  Shake off the excess water and cut the leaves into 4-5 long strips.  Cut the strips, including the stems into ½ inch strips crosswise.  Keep the stems separated from the leaves.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add oil then add the collard stems and sauté for 1-2 minutes.  Add the collard leaves and sauté just until all the leaves have turned bright green.

Hoppin’ John



1 lb black eyed peas

8 cups water

¼ cup oil

¾ cup onion, chopped

1 TBL – 4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup parsley, chopped

½ cup soy sauce

Check over black-eyed peas looking for stones and place in medium pot.  Add water and bring to boil over high heat – reduce heat to low and cook partially covered for 45 minutes, remove the lids and cook another 15 minutes or until peas are soft.  Check periodically to make sure water does not run out and add water by the cupful if water runs low (you should have approximately 2 cups of liquid in the pot when the peas are cooked).

When the peas are soft, over medium heat, in a small skillet heat oil, add onions and garlic and sauté until fragrant.  Add onion mixture to peas followed by parsley, and soy sauce.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve over steamed white or brown rice top with Collard Green Relish.

Serves 4 – 6

Lucky Foods – New Year’s Day

I am not superstitious. Not very much anyway.

Though it is true, as a rule, that I don’t break mirrors, walk under ladders or open umbrellas indoors, and I certainly never, ever utter the name MacBeth aloud in a theatre.  But despite what you may think, it’s not superstition – it’s practical magic.  After all, shards of glass are decidedly unlucky, as is a hammer, or any object, when dropped from an elevated position; and while I don’t mind raindrops fallin’ on my head, a wet entryway has only ever brought me unhappiness and a sore backside.

As for saying the name of Shakespeare’s bewitched tragedy – I don’t worry about bringing a curse upon my head by saying the name aloud.  I do however, worry about other people who worry.  Believe you me, you meet one neurotic actor who believes in that superstition, and you’ll honor it all your days.

Nonetheless, I eat lucky food on New Year’s Day because I believe.

Almost every culture has a set of good fortune foods. In the South, many of us make a habit of eating collard greens and black-eyed peas, often with fried hog jowl or any bit of pork in order to guarantee good luck for the coming year.

Prep is Done

Where Collards are concerned, my mama says it’s all about the color of money.  And that sounds reasonable enough to me, though one wonders if this hearty green is thought lucky because of its preference for cool weather.  Green vegetables that taste better after a frost seem like a providential find for folks who grow their own.

Black eyed peas come with a whole host of luck associations – some tracing the tradition to a reference in the Babylonian Talmud about foods to eat at Rosh Hashanah, and others crediting the humble but plentiful pea with saving countless starving Southerners after the Civil War.  But, as with collards, both of these associations may have their roots in more pragmatic thought than a concern for fortune.  A good bowl of peas can last you for a couple of days so you don’t have to cook daily, and it’s an abundant crop that keeps well.

In many parts of the South black-eyed peas are mixed with rice and, thus, create Hoppin’ John.  Rice itself is an ancient symbol of prosperity and fertility, and, I reckon, putting the two to together makes some powerful juju that can carry you through 365 days of life’s varied twists and turns with a favorable edge.

But, of course, it’s only good juju if you actually eat it.  And honestly, a plain old can of peas and instant rice isn’t gonna be very

Ready to Eat…. Lucky You!

tempting.  But if you’ll take a look at Mahasti’s recipe below, at the very least you’ll have pretty good luck at getting folks to eat your New Year’s creation.  It’s a simple recipe with an unexpected and delicious ingredient that turns the ordinary into the extraordinary.  Plus, Mahasti tops her Hoppin’ John with a vibrant collard green salad that adds a very healthy crunch and a welcome splash of the color of money.  I can’t swear that it’s good luck, but I can assure you that it all tastes good.

At the end of the day, though, I believe less in good luck than I believe in good habits.  This simple dish is nutritious, frugal, and easy to make at home in family-sized batches that keep well.  And while I don’t make resolutions for the New Year, I do believe that making a start with good food habits is a sensible response to the sheer indulgence of the previous weeks; I can weigh the sugar I’ve consumed in pounds.  And getting into the habit of eating well and eating things you’ve cooked with or for people you love is the kind of good sense that may not make good luck but will make you feel pretty darn lucky.

Find our recipe for black-eyed peas here and one for the collard green salad here.


Cookies are magic.

Gingerbread People

We know it instinctively.  It might be that some of us grew up believing that little elves who live in hollow trees make magic in the form of fudge stripes on shortbread and the like.  For me, the magic is in the memory of family kitchens filled, especially at this time of year, with palpable enchantments; the lust of the forbidden cookie dough followed by that bewitching but tortuous aroma of cookies in the oven.  Just writing those words makes my head spin like no love potion could ever hope to do.  To this day, even the memory of that smell can cast a craving on me that won’t quit until answered.

And of all that aromatic cookie magic, the most potent is gingerbread.  The secret, methinks, is in the formidable combination of ginger and molasses which creates a darkly sweet but lively dough that produces a rich baking aroma that gets inside of me and makes me feel warm and, of course, very, very hungry.

It’s not a new magic by any means, gingerbread in various incarnations populates the histories of many cultures.  Likewise, the magic of shaping food into shapes for a little magical mischief is an ancient bit of sorcery.  Of course, it probably all started with clay and idols, but those aren’t particularly tasty.

In Medieval England, ladies would sometimes eat gingerbread husbands in hopes of acquiring the real thing.  I can’t imagine that was particularly efficacious magic – gingerbread is sweet and adorable and, from what I can tell, men in medieval England were not overly sweet as a rule.

But how gingerbread men came to be a part of the Christmas tradition is unclear – perhaps it evolved from the German tradition of creating gingerbread houses which were associated with the yuletide.  Or maybe it’s just one of those things that happens – somebody put a cookie on a tree for decoration and, abra cadabra, a tradition was born.

But the real magic of gingerbread isn’t in the shape, per se – it’s in the creation, the fact of the making, the act of the shaping and most importantly, the cooking of it.  The rich aroma of gingerbread in the oven is the aroma of home. And isn’t the magic of home a big part of what we observe this time of year?  No matter what holiday we celebrate, it’s always better at home – whether that’s a family moment or time shared with close friends, perhaps even pets, spending time with those we love is the real enchantment.

Homemade gingerbread is the by-product of love, which, of course, is the greatest magic of all.  And it’s never too late to find your inner wizard.

Gingerbread Cut Out Cookies

3 ¾ cups All Purpose Flour

1 cup, packed Light Brown Sugar

½ tsp Salt

1 tsp Baking Soda

4 tsp Ground Ginger

½ tsp Ground Clove

4 tsp Ground Cinnamon

2 sticks plus 1 TBL Unsalted Butter at room temperature

3 TBL Whole Milk

1 cup Blackstrap Molasses

Mix together the Flour, Brown Sugar, Salt, Baking Soda and spices in the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment until all the ingredients are mixed together well.  On low speed gradually add the butter and beat until the mixture resembles coarse sand.  Mix together the milk and molasses.  With the mixer running gradually add the molasses mixture to the mixing bowl and mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated and a soft dough is formed.

Divide the dough up into 2-4 balls.  Flatten into disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.  Dough can also easily be frozen for up to 30 days.  Simply remove from the freezer 24 hours prior to baking.

Cooling Off

When ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.   Line your cutting board with a sheet of parchment paper big enough to cover the board and also fit your cookie sheet.  Remove your gingerbread dough from the refrigerator.  Dust the surface of your parchment paper heavily with flour and roll out the dough to ¼ inch thickness.  Cut your desired shapes into the cookie dough, leaving ¾ of an inch, enough room for cookies to expand in the oven, between each shape.  Remove the excess dough from in between the cookies shapes and reform the excess dough into a disk, which you can either re-roll out or refrigerate or freeze for future use.  Lift your cutting board off of your work surface and gently tilt it towards your cookie sheet, sliding the parchment paper with the cookies onto the cookie sheet.  Gently re-arrange the cookies if necessary, giving them enough room to expand in the oven.

Bake the cookies for 10 – 12 minutes for a soft cookie and 12-14 minutes for a crispy one.  Allow cookies to cool.  Ice with Royal Icing and decorate with sprinkles.  Allow icing to harden and enjoy.

Check out our recipe for royal icing to decorate your cookies.

Purchase Mahasti’s Recommended Utensils

Stand Mixer

Cutting Board

Measuring Cups

Measuring Spoons

Glass Measuring Cup

Rolling Pin

Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter

Gingerbread Girl Cookie Cutter

Royal Icing

This is a great icing for icing sugar cookies and gingerbread cut out cookies

Piping Royal Icing

 1/3 cup Pasteurized Egg Whites

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

3-4 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted

Beat the egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with your hand-held mixer until the mixture looks frothy.  Add the vanilla and with the mixer running on low speed gradually add the powdered sugar.  If you want an icing that is easily spreadable add enough sugar to get the icing to slowly ribbon off the beater or whisk.  For an icing that can be piped, add enough powdered sugar to get the icing to form stiff peaks and cling to the beaters or whisk without leaving the beater or whisk when held away from the bowl.    Divide the icing up into smaller portions for coloring or use white.  Place the icing in pastry bags fitted with the tip of your choice and pipe onto cookies.

Purchase Mahasti’s Recommended Utensils

Flour Sifter

Cranberry Muffins & Cranberry Sauce



7 TBL Unsalted Butter, melted

1 Extra Large Egg

1 Egg Yolk

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/3 cup Whole Milk

1 ¾ cup All Puprose Flour

¾ cup Sugar

2 ¼ tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 recipe Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Additional sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Grease a Lodge cast iron mini cake pan with butter and set aside.  Or line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

In medium bowl whisk together  flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a small skillet over low heat, melt butter.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.  Gradually whisk in melted butter.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients all at once.  With a wooden spoon mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until almost all the dry ingredients are incorporated.  A few bits of dry ingredients are fine so you don’t over mix your batter.

Using a 1.5 oz ice cream scoop  – scoop batter into each mini pan.  Dip a spoon in water and gently spread the batter into the pans.  Spoon 1 -2 tsp of prepared cranberry sauce on top. Scoop about ½ a scoop of batter on top of each muffin and spoon another 1 tsp of cranberry sauce on top.  Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake muffins for 10 minutes at 425, then drop the temperature to 375 and bake an additional 20 – 25 minutes, until the tops are cracked and nicely browned.

Cool the muffins and serve warm with butter and additional cranberry sauce.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

12 oz bag fresh cranberries

1 cup apple juice

½ cup sugar

zest of ½ and orange

place cranberries in a medium bowl of cold water.  Lift the cranberries up out of the water by the handful, and pick out and discard any bad ones.  Put the good cranberries in a medium pot.

Add apple juice, sugar and orange zest to the pot and give it a quick stif.  Place the pot on high heat and bring to boil, then reduce the heat to simmer, stirring occasionally.  When most of the cranberries have popped and the sauce is starting to thicken, about 20 – 25 minutes,  remove from the heat, cool to room temperature and serve, or refrigerate.

Cranberry sauce can be warmed back to room temperature or served cold.

Sauce keeps for at least 1 month refrigerated.

Makes 2 cups.

Purchase Mahasti’s Recommended Utensils

Lodge Cast Iron Drop Biscuit Pan

Stainless Steel Disher

8″ Open Skillet

Stainless Mixing Bowl


Measuring Cups

Measuring Cup

Measuring Spoons

3-Quart Saucepan


Gretchen Adreon – Featured Artist

“What does it mean?”

I haven’t taken a poll, but it might be interesting to ask how often an artist working in the Abstract hears that particular question.  It might be more enlightening to ask if that question becomes challenging to hear over time – not because it’s necessarily a bad question, but because most people ask the wrong person.

It’s not a question for the artist: It’s a question for you.

Gretchen Adreon’s exhibit at our Market Square restaurant is an opportunity for you to pose that question to yourself over and over again.  And that’s just how Adreon likes it.  When a work is complete, she says, her hope is to “leave an open space and the viewer will be able to add their own feelings and connect with the piece to complete the process.”

And of course, that means that there are many answers to the question of what’s all about.  “From the very beginning I have had

Ghost of a Chance

people telling me their feelings and impressions of my work. I LOVE that – that’s when the whole process comes full circle to me. When someone is engaged in the work, I feel I have succeeded. Sometimes one viewer sees what another cannot see at all but sees or, even better, feels something totally different. “

Adreon comes of an intensely creative background.   She describes her father, a sign muralist who climbed some of the tallest buildings in Chicago to paint sign fronts as  ”the most fearlessly creative artist I’ve known. He used our house as his canvas in almost every room to paint, sometimes we would go to school in the morning with one thing on the wall in a given room and come home to something totally different.”

This literal immersion in creativity led Adreon to her own artistic expression at an early age – one that, over time, she thought might lead her into her father’s medium, graphic art.  But an encounter with a passionate artist and teacher changed her perspective and fueled her passion: Artist Anton Weiss, “…changed my thinking completely on what my own art might look like. He was such a force to his students, had actually studied with Hans Hofmann, and for the first time ever I began feeling freedom and passion at what I was doing.”

Adreon’s art begins as an emotional expression that, through any number of implements and materials -from trowels to sandpaper, and more- remains an open and emotional experience to share with the people who see it.  Although this may leave the definition of her imagery in the eyes of others, Adreon is more than comfortable with that process: “My emotions went to abstractions rather than concrete imagery. I have never regretted taking that direction, however many, many people see images, figures and, yes, landscapes as well.”


Looking at Adreon’s paintings is an adventure in perspective: at one glance, one feels present in an infinite horizon, but a moment later, the waters rise, the wind blows, and the sand shifts.  But each moment is your own and that’s beautifully liberating in a world where facts and figures can overcrowd the brain.  The paintings have a sense of depth but, even more, they are full of possibility.  Adreon’s work is an invitation to think and to feel and to express that all for yourself.

As for what it all means?  Well… why don’t you tell me.

Gretchen Adreon will be on view at the Market Square Tomato Head from December 4th through January 7th, 2018.  She will then exhibit with the West Knoxville Gallery Tomato Head from January 9th through February 5th, 2018.

© 2016 The Tomato Head Site by: Robin Easter Design