July’s Featured Brewery: Red Hare Brewing Company

This month, we’ve got rabbit beers to go with all of your summer veggie burgers. Red Hare Brewing Company has taken over our featured taps at both of The Tomato Head Locations with their Gangway IPA, Long Day Lager, and Whabbit Wheat.

The Gangway IPA is an American style, unfiltered IPA with a gold color and sweet taste. The IPA is made with Williamette, Cascade, and Chinook hops, then dry hopped with Falconers Flight. The ABV sits just under a high-gravity beer, at 6.2%. The experts at Red Hare suggest pairing this with spicy or bold dishes, chicken, seafood, or sharp cheeses.

The Long Day Lager is a Bohemian Style Lager, meaning it is sweeter and lighter than some lagers, which is immediately apparent from its golden color. It is bittered with noble hops and Pacific Northwest hops, which add notes of citrus. Try this beer with seafood, pork, BBQ, or something spicy. The ABV is sessionable, at 4.98%.

The Whabbit Wheat is an unfiltered American Wheat Ale, with notes of peaches and apricots. Floral notes come from Saaz hops that contrast the crisp apricot. The ABV is 5.6%. Red Hare’s taproom experts suggest trying this beer with seafood, pastires, pies, and salads.

Red Hare Brewing Company is rooted in Marietta, Georgia, where it began in the garage of Roger Davis, a semi-retired corporate businessman.  After a year of home-brewing with his friend Bobby Thomas, they moved their industrious home-brew set up out of Davis’s garage, and into a larger space. Red Hare can only be found in Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. If not on tap, their beers are canned, which has been a trend of craft breweries over the past few years due to the preservation of taste that cans provide.  Red Hare was one of the first breweries in Georgia to can their beers, and the world’s first user of the evercan, which is made out of high-content recycled aluminum.

In just three different styles, these beers cover the taste spectrum fairly well, meaning there is more than likely something for everyone.  If you don’t believe us, come taste it for yourself.

Tomato Head’s Yellow Squash Crostini with Pesto

Walking into the Knoxville air and feeling it push back, being caught daily in random patches of heavy rain and lightening, and sweating your ~you know what~ off over the past few weeks of this summer is paying off. Not only did we all sweat out a few pounds and increase our water intake by 200%, but also this time of the year is wonderfully ample in fruits and vegetables. The payout is an abundance of foods like cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, and so many more.

This month’s WBIR recipe for yellow squash crostini with pesto certainly pays attention to the local and available.  Although the origins for this recipe are Italian, the addition of one of the three sisters gives this recipe an American twist.

To cook up this dish, you’ll need:

5 cups yellow squash, diced

5 cups tomatoes, diced

½ cup fresh basil, chopped

⅛ cup olive oil

⅛ cup cider vinegar

1 tsp salt

Place all ingredients into a medium mixing bowl and toss well to incorporate all of the flavors.

To assemble the Crostini, you’ll need:

Flour Head Bakery Knoxville Sourdough or Baguette*

Olive Oil

Tomato Head Pesto**

Slice the bread to the thickness you desire. Brush lightly with olive oil on both sides. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in a 400° oven until toasted. Remove the toasted bread from the oven, spread each piece with a liberal amount of pesto, and top with a generous portion of the squash mixture.

A Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, or even a Vino Verde that is not overly effervescent, would pair nicely as white wines. If you would rather have red, consider an Italian red that is both bright and slightly earthy, such as a Chianti or Barbera.

Although this dish does not seem to be compatible with beer for most, it is possible. Belgian ales pair nicely with the strength of pesto, as the herbs and spices of the ale complement the pesto.

*Flour Head Knoxville Sourdough and Baguettes can be found at Three Rivers Market and Kroger in Bearden

**Tomato Head Pesto can be found at both Tomato Head locations, Three Rivers Market, Butler and Bailey Market and the following Kroger stores:  Fountain City, Cedar Bluff, Farragut, Bearden and Northshore


Tomato Head’s Quinoa Cakes with Yogurt and Sriracha

I was so excited when I read Mahasti’s recipe, I let out an audible “yasss” complete with the hand-motion you are probably imagining. Quinoa was the reason behind this. Quinoa is a good source of protein, as well as vitamins B, B6, and E, amino acids, potassium, and a healthy list of other minerals. It is a pseudo-cereal that is vegan-friendly and can be consumed in low quantities by those with celiac disease. The inside of the seeds also happen to taste great when cooked, otherwise it is an unpalatable, bitter seed. To get to the tasty part of quinoa, it needs to be cooked. Luckily, that’s easy to do.

To start, you’ll need:

½ cup Quinoa

1⅛ cup water

Place the quinoa and water into a small saucepan over high heat. Boil until almost all of the water has been absorbed. Then turn the heat down to low, and place a lid on the saucepan. Steam the quinoa until the seeds are soft and splitting open. Remove the quinoa from the stove, and pour the cooked seeds into a large mixing bowl.

In order to turn the seeds into Tomato Head’s quinoa cakes, you’ll need a few more ingredients:

⅛ cup oil

⅔ cup onion, diced

½ cup walnuts, chopped

¼ cup almonds, chopped

½ tsp. salt

1 Tbl Dijon mustard

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ cup breadcrumbs

In a small saucepan over medium heat, saute the onions in the oil until the onions are translucent. Add sautéed onions and all of the remaining ingredients to the quinoa bowl and mix well with gloved hands. Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes. Next, scoop the mixture into balls, then flatten the balls into disks.

Heat ¼ cup of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the quinoa cakes in the oil until the bottoms are golden, then flip and fry the other side until it is golden as well.

Top them with plain yogurt and sriracha, if you so choose. They could also be served on top of your favorite salad or mixed greens. They can be served hot or cold.

The raw quinoa cakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and fried when needed.

This would be a fantastic dish to keep on hand for a quick lunch, or serve well for an easy dinner. As far as pairings go, this dish would pair well with a Beaujolais wine, low in tannin, fresh and nutty. If you’re adding the cakes to something with a tomato-base or similar flavors, try a Chianti or Barbera.  If you don’t drink red, try a Sauvignon Blanc, especially from New Zealand. As far as beers are concerned, try a nutty porter or nutty brown ale rich with roasted malts.

Certainly be sure to give this recipe a try, especially if you’ve never tried quinoa. It is both healthy and delicious. I hope you enjoy it!

Click the photo below to watch Mahasti’s recent WBIR cooking segment.

Quinoa Cakes

Tomato Head’s Marinated Zucchini and Mint Pasta

The redeeming grace of summers in the South boils into just a few fine points that prove enough to justify intensely hot summer days. For me, these points can be counted on one hand. Largely, this period of late spring summer multiplies our vegetation options, meaning we have so many delicious options to choose from!

Via the farmer’s market or your own garden, fresh vegetables and herbs are easily available. Fresh ingredients change a dish entirely for the better. Take Saturday’s recipe for Tomato Head’s pasta with marinated zucchini and mint for example; almost all of these ingredients can be found fresh at the farmer’s market.

The ingredients for this recipe include:

2 Large Zucchini, washed and diced to fill 8 cups

⅓ cup Oil

1 tsp Salt

½ tsp Black Pepper

¼ cup Olive Oil

⅛ cup Cider Vinegar

½ tsp Salt

¼ – ⅓ cup Fresh Mint, chopped

½ cup Spinach, chopped

Toss the zucchini with oil, salt, and pepper, then place on a large cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 400⁰. Remove the tray and allow the zucchini to cool.

Toss cooled zucchini with olive oil, cider vinegar, salt, and mint. Allow the mixture to marinate for 2-4 hours.

Cook a ½ lb of your favorite shape of pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and toss with 2 cups of chopped fresh spinach and marinated zucchini. Top with parmesan cheese, and this dish is ready to serve.

This recipe for Tomato Head’s marinated zucchini and mint pasta will serve 4-6 people of your choosing, and will pair well with a Bordeaux or a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon. For beer lovers, the pasta will pair nicely with a Belgian-style Saison. Come see us when you visit the farmer’s market.

Click on the photo below to watch Mahasti’s recent cooking segment WBIR Channel 10.

Tomato Head's Summer Vegetable Pasta

An Unconventional View of Fruit: Sharon Popek’s “Wings of Fancy”

This June, we are pleased to host Sharon Popek’s “Wings of Fancy” in our Market Square art gallery. Her collection utilizes her talents in photography and photo finishing to give a different perspective on the ground cherry.

While subtle hues stand out to the eye at first, the black and white backgrounds are detailed with textures and interesting shapes. Although the some effects of the photo are created in computer programs after the shot, Popek tries to do as much work within the initial shooting as she can.

For example, Popek says she uses a shallow depth of field to create the bokah effect that looks like blurred lights in the background. Popek also views the camera is an extension of herself, and it follows her around everywhere, including a fateful visit to Market Square for the farmer’s market.

The subject of ground cherries came to fruition when she spotted a booth in the Knoxville farmer’s market selling ground cherries. She had never heard of them before, and their unusual look added to a sense of mysticism that Popek saw in the cherries. To her, the cherries look enchanting, and have inspired her next series evolving from “Wings of Fancy”, called “Fairy Lanterns”, which will be approaching finished by the end of the year.

Popek has lived in Knoxville since graduating from the University of Kentucky, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art Studio. She lives with her husband, five cats, and her dog. In her spare time, she puts her camera and computer to good use, doing photography and photo finishing. During the day, she shoots pet photography and produces photographs.

The exhibit will be in the Market Square location until the end of June, then it will move to the Kingston Pike location in July.


June’s Featured Brewery: Starr Hill Brewery

It’s a new month, and time for a new featured brewery. This June, both of our locations are featuring the Star Hill Brewery from Charlottesville, Virginia. Star Hill is growing quickly with their award-winning beers and a revamped, new logo. We will start the month with four selections on draft: Northern Lights, Grateful Pale, the Love, and the Reviver.

The Northern Lights is an IPA with a floral aroma. It is made with two row, caramel, Munich, and wheat malted barley. Star Hill uses ale yeast, along with Cascade, Willamette, and Columbus kettle hops. The result is an amber appearance that sits at 6.5% ABV, bitter flavor, and a citrus-floral finish.

The Grateful Pale derives its name from, as one might assume, the Grateful Dead. It is an APA made with two row, wheat, and caramel malted barley. This beer also uses ale yeast, but the kettle hops are Chinook, Centennial, Topaz, and Cascade. The Grateful Pale Ale rings up at 4.7% ABV with a light gold color and citrus aroma. This beer is not as bitter as the Northern Lights, but has a sharp taste, as pale ales do.

The Love is an unfiltered hefeweizen, which is a type of wheat beer. Star Hill uses two row wheat, and Munich malted barley. The yeast is Bavarian wheat beer yeast, and the kettle hops are Hallertau. With a golden color, sweet taste, and spicy finish, the Love is easy to drink. It has an ABV at 4.6%. This one is sure to be a favorite.

The Reviver is a Red IPA, and Star Hill’s spring seasonal. This is an interesting blend between a Red Ale and an IPA. It is made with Pilsner, wheat, crystal, and chocolate malted barley, and uses ale yeast. The kettle hops are Citra, Amarillo, Simcoe, and Columbus. The Reviver is also made with Mosaic, Citra, and Amarillo dry hops.

As you know, June is a special month because it begins during spring and ends in the summer. In the same spirit, we will be swapping out the Reviver for Star Hill’s summer seasonal, Soul Shine.

Soul Shine, named after the Government Mule song, is an American take on a Belgian-style Pale Ale. It is made with Pilsner, wheat, and caramel malted barley and ale yeast. The kettle hops are Falconer’s flight, Simcoe, Cascade, and Willamette. The Soul Shine is also finished with dry hops, which consist of Falconer’s Flight, Simcoe, Cascade, and Columbus. The result is a golden colored, crisp beer with tropical fruit aromas and a spicy finish. The ABV is 5.2%.

Join us for pint night this month (June 26) to be among the first ever to try a new release by Star Hill. You’ll also get to keep a Star Hill pint glass. We are looking forward to these new beers from a growing regional craft brewery. Come join us on our patio to try the new pints and enjoy the warm weather.

starr-hill-brewery taproom

Denise Stewart-Sanabria as May’s Featured Artist

This month, you might have noticed a few really big pictures of food hanging on our walls in Market Square. They aren’t there to entice you, although they have pulled the strings of hunger for some of the servers who forgot to eat before their shifts. The large pictures of food are there as our art gallery for May. We have been very pleased to host the Culinary Drama of Denise Stewart-Sanabria.

The exhibit is a collection of Vanitas, or Still Lifes, which were art categories originally associated with domestic images that symbolized life and death. Stewart-Sanabria’s collection plays upon the same vein by acting out dramatic narratives inspired by human actions that entertain, amaze, or horrify the artist. Her use of color is very appealing, and the oil paintings seem strangely surreal, yet that if one could reach into the canvas, they would already know the texture of anything depicted.

Denise Stewart-Sanabria earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. Originally from Massachusetts, she has lived in Knoxville since 1986. Her work has been featured at the Ewing Gallery at the University of Tennessee, the Union Street Gallery in Chicago Heights, the 26th Tallahassee International at the Florida State Museum of Fine Arts, and many, many more museums, galleries, and universities. After seeing only this exhibit in our gallery, it is easy to understand how immensely wonderful her talent is.

It is hard to miss these almost pop-art images, but if you did miss them we forgive you. There is still time to see them downtown, as they will be displayed through the first few days of June, then move to our location on Kingston Pike for the month of June. Take your time looking at them, and try to decipher the human emotion behind each food prop. We promise not to look at you strangely if you’re standing in the middle of the restaurant staring into the food. It’s easy to be lost in good art.

Surrounded by Eggplants

The Exchange of the Knoxville Idea

Market Square is the place to be on Saturday mornings.

We are two weeks into the new season’s farmer’s market on Market Square. As one of the largest open-air fresh markets in the region, the farmer’s market plays host to local produce, food, live music, as well as arts and crafts.

The whole square is hopping, usually to the tune of jazz or big bands. Restaurants (like us) are open for brunch, often featuring items purchased from local vendors in the market. Vendors also sell homemade items such as clothing, soap, pottery, and woodworking. If you don’t like big crowds, then come down on Wednesday mornings, when produce vendors set up shop for a quieter day at the market.

The most amazing thing about the Farmer’s Market is that is an accessible connection to Knoxville’s history.

The support of communal bonds and fresh food is something that Knoxvillians have gathered around for nearly 160 years. Where Market Square stands today was once a building where farmers would gather to sell produce, and city dwellers came to buy their groceries. I’ve had people visiting our restaurant tell me stories of catching a bus to the Farmer’s Market with a pocket full of change that would be just enough for fresh snacks, a movie on Gay Street, and vegetables to bring home.

In today’s food climate, buying local food is healthier, fresher, and all around better than purchasing over-preserved vegetables from chain grocers. Not to mention, the money spent on produce, meats, and breads is remaining within our community, helping to sustain economic growth and jobs.

As Jack Neely put it, spending time and money at the farmer’s market “is an investment in the idea of Knoxville”. The Farmer’s Market is the culminating beacon of our city’s dedication to their neighbors that serves as a promise for up-and-coming community driven initiatives such as the Striped Light and the Knoxville Darkroom.

We support the farmer’s market because it supports our community.

Eating fresh strawberries, corn, and other produce is a perk that we also enjoy—and share on our menu. Remember that as the seasons cycle, so will the types of produce that are being offered. It’s important to return every few weeks if not every week, to see what has ripened. While you’re downtown, stop by to say hello. Stay and eat if you’re hungry.

Market Square Farmers Market Carrots Knoxville Tomato Head

Welcome Destination Imagination


Love it or hate it, she’s about to be here. I think most of us are excited, I mean after all she was the heartwarming judge on American Idol who always made us feel better by being kind when she told people that they had no talent. Yet her American Idol days are over. Instead, she has been lured to our city by some of the smartest kids from around the world.

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to the 8,000 students, 544 volunteers, and 17,000+ attendees that have descended upon Knoxville for Destination Imagination Global Finals. Teams from 17 countries are here to perform well-rehearsed main challenges as well as mysterious instant challenges. As a former D.I. Global Finalist myself, I sincerely mean it when I say, good luck. Outside of the challenges, there are many fun events around Knoxville, and interesting seminars such as a sound explosion workshop put on by David W. Collins of Sony/Lucas Film animation.

Unfortunately Paula Abdul isn’t here to judge the children, at least officially. Instead, she is here along with Dr. Bill Dorman for a Win Against all Odds Workshop, encouraging and instructing students in how to be successful in any career. Dr. Dorman, a famous dentist who has been featured on Doctors and started the LEAP Foundation, will also give a talk giving pointers in how to nail a job interview. These workshops are open to the public and details can be found online at the D.I. Global Finals blog.

We know how much kids love pizza and adults like craft beer, and we hope you like what we have to offer. We are certainly looking forward to your visit. It is always a pleasure to have a room full of intellectual people from around the world, especially if Paula Abdul is among them.

© 2016 The Tomato Head Site by: Robin Easter Design