The Tomato Head’s Pecan Pie

‘Tis the season for pies and cakes and sweet things of all varieties. Mahasti presented The Tomato Head’s recipe for Pecan Pie on WBIR this morning and mm mm mm. We want a piece now, and we can have one (and so can you)…pecan pie is on the menu at both the Knoxville and Maryville locations today.

Tomato Head’s Pecan Pie

1 (9 inch) prepared pie crust
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup heavy cream
1 Tbl molasses
4 Tbl unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ tsp salt
6 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1.5 cups pecan pieces

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Over medium heat in a large saucepan, heat together maple syrup, brown sugar, heavy cream and molasses until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to bubble. Remove mixture from heat, add butter and stir until the butter has melted. Allow mixture to cool for 5 minutes. Whisking constantly, whisk in the eggs until they are well incorporated.

Fill pie crust with pecans, pour syrup mixture over pecans. Place the pie in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 425. Bake the pie for 45 – 50 minutes or until the filling is set and center jiggles just slightly.

Allow pie to cool for 3 – 4 hours before cutting and serving with fresh whipped cream.

The Tomato Head’s Bacon and Cheddar Soup

If you weren’t up early on Saturday tuned in to WBIR, you missed Mahasti presenting what’s sure to become a favorite for gatherings of family and friends.

Simple to make, warming and good, this soup’s one to prepare in advance and have on the stove top for snackers while the “big dinner” is in the works.

The Tomato Head’s Bacon and Cheddar Soup

½ lb bacon, diced
1.25 cups celery, finely chopped
½ cup onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 – 2 small jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
1 Tbl fresh thyme
1 ½ stick butter
2/3 cup flour
6 cups water
3 cups heavy cream
14 oz mild cheddar cheese, shredded
12 oz smoked cheddar cheese, shredded

In a 6 quart pot over medium heat sauté bacon until bacon is crisp. Add celery, onion, garlic, jalapenos and thyme. Sauté the vegetables until onion and celery are translucent. Add water, and cream. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet. Add flour, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth. Add the flour mixture to the soup and stir constantly until the soup thickens slightly. Add cheeses and stir soup until cheese has melted.

Serve.

Episcopal School of Knoxville’s Mac-n-Cheese!

The Episcopal School of Knoxville (ESK) decided they could have healthier kids and a better lunch program if they converted a portion of their farm-like acreage and turned it into actual farm. Headmaster Jay Secor and Head Chef, Renee Nye (along with many others from ESK) have been collaborating with Mahasti, founder and co-owner of The Tomato Head, to revamp their school’s food program. The results have not only been delicious, but inspiring.

Secor and Nye joined Mahasti on WBIR this morning as she presented The Episcopal School of Knoxville’s Mac-n-Cheese recipe, and together they shared more of the ESK story. The school truly took a “soup to nuts” approach as they assessed and changed their program—converting acreage into gardens and space for chickens, committing to buying local as much as possible, even baking bread from scratch and preparing food to order. The focus of the food at ESK is now on freshness, taste, and healthiness.

“It can seem overwhelming at first,” noted Mahasti, speaking of the changes and new approaches she introduced to ESK. “But it’s actually easier than everyone thinks. And it’s so much better for the school and the children.” Secor and Nye proudly agree.

In fact, the consultation process that Mahasti provided went so well, she’s excited about working with other schools who may be interested in developing a healthier food program. And most kids are thrilled to know they’re school lunch has a Tomato Head touch.

Of course, Mac-n-Cheese is a much beloved dish for many kids. ESK students love the new version they get to eat in their dining hall, and Mahasti shared the school’s recipe this morning on WBIR.

(In addition, both the Maryville & Knoxville restaurants will be serving a very special take on this Mac-n-Cheese recipe today. It’s very different, but once you try it, you’ll swear by it—this delicious mac-n-cheese on a pizza topped with Benton’s Bacon and Roasted Onion. Unforgettable yum.)

Episcopal School’s Macaroni and Cheese

For the White Sauce:
4 oz unsalted butter
2 oz flour
4 cups Cruze Farm milk
1 cup heavy cream
1.5 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

In a large skillet, or medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly until no more lumps remain. Add remaining ingredients and whisk constantly until sauce thickens.

Yields 5 cups

To assemble Macaroni and Cheese:
3 cups Sweet Water Valley Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 cup heavy cream
1 box Barilla Plus Elbow pasta, cooked according to package directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place cooked pasta in a large bowl. Add cheese, heavy cream and 4 cups of the white sauce to the bowl and mix until well incorporated. Save remaining sauce for later use.

Place macaroni and cheese in a 3 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with some additional shredded cheese.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until dish is bubbling and cheese has melted. Remove from oven and allow macaroni and cheese to sit for 5 minutes and serve.

Serves 8 – 10

If serving fewer than 8 people the recipe can be followed up to the point of placing the macaroni and cheese in a baking dish. You may place as much of the mixture as desired in a smaller baking dish, baking only what is needed, saving the remainder of the mixture for baking the next day.

The Tomato Head’s Sausage Gravy

We’ve been doing a lot with biscuits lately. Maybe it’s because we’re ready for a little fall to come on in or we’re just enjoying how versatile truly delicious biscuits can be. No matter, Mahasti shared The Tomato Head recipe for Sausage Gravy on WBIR this morning , featuring sausage from Benton’s Bacon. (Hint…you can only get their sausage if you visit their store, and it’s worth the trip).

The recipe is fast, filling, and will have you smiling about your morning all day long. Can’t stand at the stove today? Simply come by for brunch, served 10am – 3pm, and we’ll have the biscuits and gravy ready for you.

Tomato Head’s Sausage Gravy
¼ lb butter
½ lb Benton’s or other breakfast sausage
1/3 cup all purpose flour
4 cups warm milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

1 recipe The Tomato Head’s Best Biscuits

While biscuits are cooking:

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add sausage and sauté until sausage has browned. Add flour and whisk until all the flour is incorporated and no lumps remain. Slowly add the warm milk while whisking constantly. Lower heat to low – add salt and pepper and whisk constantly until desired consistency is reached.

Serve immediately over hot biscuits.

County Tres Leche

Yee haw! This is a good way to end a meal, have a snack, or simply enjoy a new cultural twist on a classic treat.

Mahasti presented The Tomato Head’s recipe for “Country Tres Leche” on WBIR this weekend. What makes it country? The recipe is based upon The Tomato Head’s “Best Biscuits” recipe, instead of the traditional lady fingers or sponge cake. Give it a whirl and let us know what you think.

The Tomato Head’s Country Tres Leche

(aka, Biscuits soaked in three milks topped with blackberry compote and cream)

For Milk Soaked Biscuits:

 

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup heavy cream

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground clove

6 – 8 day-old biscuits

In a small bowl mix together condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream, cinnamon, and clove.

Place biscuits in an 8 X 11 baking dish.  Pour 1 ½ cups of the milk mixture over the biscuits and allow biscuits to soak for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake milk soaked biscuits for 20 minutes until heated through.

For Blackberry Compote:

 

1 lb fresh or frozen blackberries

1/3 cup sugar

Place blackberries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook mixture just until sugar has completely dissolved.  Remove from heat and set aside.

To Serve:

 

Place each biscuit on a plate.  Pour ¼ cup of the remaining milk mixture over each biscuit, followed by ¼ cup of heavy cream and 1/3 cup of blackberry compote.  Serve immediately.

The Tomato Head’s Fried Green Tomatoes

The South in the summer? Friend green tomatoes. The two things are synonymous and equally loved. Mahasti’s sharing The Tomato Head’s recipe for fried green tomatoes and both the Maryville and Knoxville restaurants will be serving them today as an appetizer accompanied by a honey mustard dressing.

Tomato Head’s Fried Green Tomatoes

1.5 pounds green tomatoes
2/3 cup cornmeal
1.5 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups vegetable oil for frying
1 cup all purpose flour for dusting

Cut the ends off the tomatoes and slice into ¼ inch thick slices. Place the tomatoes on a paper towel lined baking sheet, in a single layer. Cover the tomatoes with more paper towels and let sit for 20 minutes.

Place cornmeal in blender with salt and cayenne pepper and process until fine. Fill 3 small bowls one with cornmeal mixture, one with flour and one with buttermilk.

After 20 minutes move tomatoes to dry paper towel, cover with more paper towels and press dry. Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Dip the tomatoes in flour, then buttermilk and then in the cornmeal mixture. Fry the tomatoes in the hot oil, 3-4 at a time for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack.

Serve as a side dish or with honey mustard dressing as an appetizer.

Tomato Head’s Father’s Day Buttermilk Cake with Fresh Strawberries and Blueberries

Every holiday needs a little something special cooked up to celebrate. Father’s Day is no exception. With the season presenting berries of all flavors, Mahasti prepared another memorable dessert for The Tomato Head. You can give this recipe a whirl at home and present it to your favorite fella or come to either the Maryville or Knoxville restaunt today. We’ll be serving it at both locations. Happy Father’s Day!

Tomato Head’s Father’s Day Buttermilk Cake with Fresh Strawberries and Blueberries

2.25 cups all purpose flour

1.25 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 stick butter, cut into small pieces

1.5 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

4 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Place dry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Mix the ingredients with a paddle attachment on low speed.  Gradually add the butter and mix until the mixture resembles sand.  (if you don’t have a mixer you can do this with a biscuit cutter).  Mix together the buttermilk, vanilla and egg whites and gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Beat the mixture on medium high speed for 1 minute ( or with a wooden spoon until well mixed)

Pour batter into a parchment lined 9 X 13 baking pan.  Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove the cake to a cooling rack and allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving.

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream

1 Tbsp confectioners sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.  Beat until whipped cream is the consistency you desire.  ( If you don’t have a mixer this can be done with a whisk.)

Cut the cake into desired size pieces and serve with fresh whipped cream, sliced strawberries and fresh blueberries.

Tomato Head’s Red Velvet Cake for Your Mama!

Mahasti presented the recipe for The Tomato Head’s Red Velvet Cake on WBIR this morning. Mother’s Day is tomorrow…got a gift, yet? Making something for mama is always a fine idea, and a red velvet cake says “I love you” slice after slice. If you’re just not a baker or comfy in the kitchen, consider bringing your mater to The Tomato Head’s brunch. We’ll be serving on Sunday from 10am – 3pm. After 3pm we’ll shift service to our regular menu. Happy Mother’s Day!

Tomato Head’s Red Velvet Cake

2.5 cups all purpose flour
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ cup Dutch process cocoa
½ tsp. salt
1.25 cup sugar
1.5 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 Tbsp red food coloring
1 tsp cider vinegar
1.5 Tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan with parchment paper, grease the sides, and set aside.

Into a medium bowl sift flour, baking soda, cocoa, and salt. Place eggs in another medium bowl and beat lightly with a whisk. Add oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla. Whisk to incorporate the ingredients. Add the sugar to the wet ingredients and mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Whisk well until all the flour is incorporated. Pour the batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool in pan. Flip the cake out of pan onto a cooling rack. Peel parchment paper off bottom. Re-flip cake back onto a cutting board. Dust the top with powdered sugar. Cut into desired size squares. Serve with a side of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

The Tomato Head’s Lemon Bars

Mahasti presented the recipe for The Tomato Head’s Lemon Bars on WBIR this morning, including a tip that the restaurants are using today–you can make these Lemon Bars in cupcake form. Simply build them as the recipe describes but use individual cupcake forms for each one. However you choose to form them or cut the Lemon Bars, you’ll have a sweet spring treat that pleases.

No time to bake today? Both restaurants will be serving these Lemon Bars, so come on by for brunch, lunch or dinner.

Tomato Head’s Lemon Bars

For crust:
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ sticks butter – cut into small pieces
Zest from one lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9 X 13 baking pan with parchment paper, making sure the paper comes up all the sides. If your paper is not wide enough place one sheet going lengthwise the cover that sheet with another sheet going crosswise – making a plus sign (+) with the paper.

Place flour, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed. Add lemon zest and butter. Mix until the mixture starts to resemble sand. Pour entire mixture into your prepared pan. Press the mixture down with your hands until the crust is compact and fairly smooth.

Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

For the filling:

4 eggs
1 ¼ cup sugar
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
Zest from 2 lemons
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup whole milk
1/8 tsp salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until well blended. Pour the filling over the cooked crust. Place the lemon bars in the oven for an additional 20 – 25 minutes or until the lemon mixture is set and starting to brown on the edges. Cool in pan for 30 – 45 minutes, then refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until cold. Gently pull on the corners of the parchment paper and remove the lemon bars from the pan. Cut the lemon bars into 1X1 or 2X2 squares, sprinkle generously with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

© 2016 The Tomato Head Site by: Robin Easter Design