Tomato Head’s Ancho and Coffee Roasted Pork Torta with Avocado, Red Onion and Jalapeno

Here’s an idea: Get up early one Saturday and visit some of the great Mexican markets we have in Knoxville. Come home with the goods, toss the 7 lbs. pork shoulder in the oven for 4 to 5 hours. Open a Saw Works beer and wait for the Ancho pork to fall off the bone. Shred the pork and build a sandwich on top of your favorite Flour Head Bakery bread. Wash it all down with another Saw Works.

For the Ancho Roasted Pork:

One 6-7 lb Pork Butt or Shoulder, rinsed and patted dry

1 Tbl Salt

½ Tbl Black Pepper

1 tsp Cinnamon

½ tsp Allspice

½ tsp Ground Cloves

1 large onion, peeled, and quartered

1/3 cup garlic cloves

2 cups brewed coffee

1 cup water

2-3 large Ancho Chile Peppers

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Rinse and pat dry the pork.  In a small bowl mix the salt, pepper, cinnamon, allspice and clove together.  Rub the spice mixture over the pork.

Rinse Ancho peppers in running water – remove stem and most of the seeds.  Tear the peppers in half.

Place the onion and garlic in a large deep baking dish or dutch oven.   Place pork on top of onions and scatter the Ancho peppers around the pork.  Pour the coffee and water around the pork, making sure you don’t rinse off the spice mixture.  Cover the pot and place in the oven for 4-5 hours or until pork is tender and falling off the bone.

Remove pork from dish and allow to cool – saving the cooking liquid and onions.   When pork is cool enough to handle, using a fork, shred the pork and discard the fat.

When the cooking liquid has cooled – place the liquid in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Combine shredded pork with blended peppers.  When ready to make sandwiches – heat the desired amount of pork in a skillet and assemble sandwiches.  The additional pork can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

To Assemble Sandwiches.

Cut a roll in half, place pork on bottom half of bread, top with ½ an avocado, some slivered red onions and slivered jalapenos.

Tomato Head’s Bacon Jam

Mahasti has turned the BLT on its head.

In case you missed her appearance on WBIR Saturday morning or you weren’t able to make it into the restaurant for brunch over the weekend, you can enjoy this fantastic bacon jam at home on a Flour Head baguette with avocado, smoked turkey, and a little lettuce and tomato.

For the Jam:

1/8 cup vegetable oil

½ cup red onion, diced

1.5 cups Benton’s Bacon, Chopped

1 Tbl Dark Brown Sugar

¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar

½ tsp salt

Pinch black pepper

Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat.  Add onion and sauté until translucent.  Add Bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon starts to lose its fat.  Add remaining ingredient.  Place the bacon mixture in a food processor and process until smooth.  Set the Jam aside until the fat starts to congeal on top.  Remove the fat, leaving a small amount covering the top.  The remaining fat can be stirred in, before use.

Jam may be refrigerated for 3-4 days.

To assemble the sandwiches:

Flour Head Bakery Ciabatta or Baguette

Avocado

Sliced Red Onion

Bacon Jam

Sliced Smoked Turkey

Lettuce

Tomato

Spread about 1-2 tablespoons of jam on each piece of bread.  Top with the remaining ingredients.  Serve immediately.

Tomato Head’s Sopes with Chorizo, Cheese and Pickled Onion

The next time you’re traveling in Mexico and want to experience traditional cuisine, we suggest seeking out Sopes. They may be found in the food stalls of Ciudad Juarez or in sophisticated restaurants throughout Mexico City.

If you’re not looking to travel that far or you don’t want to settle for a cheap imitation that caters to American taste buds by covering everything in a ton of cheese, try this recipe that Mahasti created. The pickled onions really pull the dish together and are a great complement to the chorizo.

The recipe for the dough allows you to create small appetizers and a light snack, or one can make them into something larger and use them as a main course.

For the Sopes:

1 cup Masa Harina

¾ tsp baking powder

¾ tsp salt

½ cup plus 3 Tbs boiling water

2 egg yolk

1.25 cup Shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

Place Masa Harina, baking powder and salt in a large bowl, and mix until combined.  Pour boiling water over masa.  Mix the Masa with a wooden spoon, until no dry Masa remains in bowl.  You may have to add a little more water.  Allow mixture to cool enough to handle.

Lightly beat egg yolks and pour over Masa mixture.  Add cheese and with your hands work the Masa into a smooth soft dough.

Divide the dough into 6 – 8 pieces depending on the size you would like to serve.   Roll each piece into a smooth ball.  Flatten the balls out with the palm of your hand.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment.  Lightly grease the parchment paper.  Place the flattened dough on the prepared sheet.  With your fingers work up the edges of the dough and flatten the centers.

Bake the Sopes in preheated oven for 15 minutes – or just until the edges start to brown.  Remove Sopes from oven and set aside.  Sopes can be covered with Saran wrap and refrigerated overnight.

Pickled Onion:

 

1 Large Red Onion, sliced into strips

1 cup Cider Vinegar

¾ tsp. Salt

1 tsp Sugar

1 tsp Cinnamon

Place all ingredients except onions in a small saucepan and bring to boil.  Place onions in a small bowl and pour hot liquid over onions.  Allow onions to rest at room temperature for 15 – 20 minutes.  Drain onions and refrigerate.  Pickled onions can be kept in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

 

To Assemble and Serve:

Shredded Monterey Jack

Cooked chorizo

Chopped Lettuce

Sliced Radishes

Sour Cream

Pickled onions

Your favorite Salsa

Top the sopes with Chorizo and Cheese – return the sopes to the oven and heat until Cheese has Melted and is starting to brown.  If you refrigerated your sopes overnight – allow sopes to bake until warmed through.

Place Chopped lettuce on a plate – top with heated sope.  Top with radishes, pickled onion, salsa and sour cream.

Serves 6 – 8

Tomato Head’s Chicken Enchiladas

Comfort food can take many shapes. In the winter time, comfort foods tend to be warming and rich, as well as easy to make. Tomato Head’s Chicken Enchiladas fit the description.

Mahasti presented the restaurant’s recipe on WBIR this morning. But if you missed it, it’s here for you to give it a whirl. Or, even easier, order your own plate of enchiladas at either the Maryville or Knoxville restaurant today.

Tomato Head’s Chicken Enchiladas
For the Chicken:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/3 cup oil
½ large onion, largely diced
8 cups of water
1 Tbl salt

To Assemble the Enchiladas:

1 -16 oz jar Frontera enchilada sauce
8 – corn tortillas
½ lb shredded Monterey Jack cheese
sour cream
chopped onion

Heat the oil, in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add chicken breast, water and salt. Increase heat to high, when water starts to boil, reduce heat to low and allow chicken to simmer for 20 minutes until done.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the chicken from the broth and allow the chicken to cool until it is cool enough to handle. Shred the chicken by pulling it apart. Set aside.

Pour 1/3 of the jar of enchilada sauce into the bottom of an 8 X 11 baking dish. Arrange 3 or 4 corn tortillas on your work surface. Place approximately ¼ – 1/3 cup chicken on each tortilla followed by ¼ cup of shredded cheese. Roll the tortillas up to form cylinders. Place the tortillas seam side down. Repeat the process until all the tortillas have been filled and place in the baking dish.

Pour the remaining sauce over the rolled tortillas, making sure they are covered entirely. Sprinkle any remaining cheese on top of the sauce. Bake the enchiladas for 20 minutes – or until the cheese melts and the sauce is starting to bubble.

Remove the dish from the oven. Top with Sour Cream and chopped onion.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Tomato Head’s Pasta with Cauliflower, Cabbage and Dried Cranberries

Colorful and seasonal, this pasta dish is an easy preparation for a winter’s day or evening. Mahasti presented the recipe on WBIR this weekend, but if you missed it, we always post her recipes to The Tomato Head blog. Enjoy!

Tomato Head’s Pasta with Cauliflower, Cabbage and Dried Cranberries

1 lb dry pasta of choice
Vegetable oil
4 cups cauliflower, sliced
4 cups white or savoy cabbage, chopped
1 Tablespoon roasted garlic, chopped
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup walnuts, chopped
¼ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta according to package directions. When the pasta is cooked, drain, rinse with cold water, toss with ¼ cup olive oil and set aside.

Place Spinach in a large bowl. Add dried cranberries, chopped walnuts and bread crumbs. Set aside.

Turn Oven Broiler on to High.

Slice cauliflower, toss with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place on the middle shelf of oven and roast for 9-10 minutes, just until the edges of the cauliflower begin to brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

Coat 3 or 4 large cloves of garlic with oil – place on a cookie sheet and roast under broiler until the cloves are golden brown. Remove from oven, allow the garlic to cool; chop and set aside.

Heat a large skillet, over high heat. Add ¼ cup of oil, cauliflower. cabbage and roasted garlic. Sauté the vegetables just until the cabbage starts to wilt. Add vinegar and salt, allow the vinegar to reduce for 30 seconds. Add the pasta and sauté for one minute or just until the Pasta is re-heated.

Add the contents of the skillet to the spinach bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Toss the pasta until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Divide into 4 – 6 bowls or serve family style with fresh bread.

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.

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.

© 2016 The Tomato Head Site by: Robin Easter Design