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 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.

The Tomato Head’s Baked Beans

Along with Dogwood Arts Festival, the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, and East Tennessee pollen, nothing tells you springtime is really here like eating outside. And with those picnics, spontaneous backyard gatherings, and the like, comes some traditional favorite, fun foods. By now, you’ve probably heard about Hot Dog Mondays at The Tomato Head, and our recipe for Baked Beans is a perfect complement for serving hot dogs at home.

Mahasti presented this recipe on WBIR this morning, and also shared a great dog assembly–chopped lettuce, baked beans, cheddar and daikon slaw. We’re not offering it in the restaurants today, but we will be featuring it on Monday, for Hot Dog Mondays. Even better, when you order up your dog on Monday, know that you’re not only eating well, but doing good at the same time. For the remainder of April, and potentially longer, we’ll be donating 10% of our Monday sales to Japan Relief efforts (Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF).

So, give these Baked Beans a try in your own kitchen, and come Monday, swing by and try ’em on our Hot Dog special. We promise they’ll make your Monday much, much better. Woof!

Tomato Head’s Baked Beans

3 cups navy beans, looked and soaked overnight
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
½ cup molasses
2 cups tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Chipotle Tabasco sauce, optional

Drain and rinse the beans. Place the beans in a large pot with 2 inches of water to cover and cook over medium heat for 30 – 40 minutes, or until soft.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Once again drain the beans. Place the beans in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir together until well mixed. Pour the beans into a 3 quart casserole dish. Bake for 1 hour.

A Soup to Celebrate Spring

You can’t deny the crocus, daffodils, Bradford pears, rain and robins. Spring is here. And with spring comes a new season in the kitchen. As your cravings begin to seek out new seasonal flavors, this soup, Carrot Orange topped with cranberry mint crema, may be just the thing to celebrate these early days of spring.

Mahasti presented the recipe on WBIR this morning, but if you missed the show, now worries. We’ll be serving it at both restaurants today. Enjoy!

Tomato Head’s Carrot Orange Soup topped with Cranberry Mint Crema

For the Soup:
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
½ cup onion, diced
4 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 -3 inch strip of orange zest
3.25 cups water
½ cup orange juice
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
½ cup sour cream
½ cup heavy cream

Heat the oil in a medium sauce over medium heat. Add ginger, carrots, orange zest, water and orange juice to pan. Bring the mixture to boil, then reduce heat, and simmer 15 – 20 minutes or until carrots are soft. Remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients.

If using an immersion blender – blend soup till smooth. Serve immediately topped with cranberry mint crema. If using an upright blender – allow soup to cool (see note). Blend soup in 2 batches – heat before serving.

Note: blending hot ingredients in a traditional upright blender can cause severe burns. Make sure your soup is at room temperature before blending.

For the Cranberry Mint Crema:
½ cup sour cream
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1/8 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Tomato Head’s Chocolate Pudding

Mahasti will be on WBIR this morning, around 8:15ish, showing how she makes (and how you can make) Tomato Head’s chocolate pudding. It’s another one of those comfort food sweets that made with the right ingredients and love can become a decadent little treat.

Both restaurants will be serving this special dessert today, atop a heated chocolate chip cookie and topped with a dollop of fresh whipped cream – topped with chocolate pudding and whipped cream.

Get your spoons ready!

Tomato Head’s Chocolate Pudding
1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract

Place milk and ½ cup heavy cream in a medium stainless steel sauce pan, over low heat. Melt chocolate by placing it in a small bowl over a pot of boiling water. When chocolate has melted completely, remove from heat and add it to the milk and heavy cream mixture.

Sift cocoa powder and mix with cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add ½ cup heavy cream and eggs yolks – whisk well. Temper the eggs by adding a little of the chocolate milk to the egg mixture and whisking constantly. Gradually add the egg mixture into the milk on the stove, whisking constantly. Keep the heat on low and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture gets thick and coats the back of the spoon.

Remove the pudding from the heat and pass through a sieve into a medium metal or glass bowl. Serve warm or cover the surface of the pudding directly with saran wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Serve with chocolate chip cookies and whipping cream.

Mahasti on WBIR: The Best Biscuits

Several weeks ago, Mahasti put out a call for biscuit recipes, and ever since she’s been testing and refining batch after batch of biscuits. This morning she’s presenting “The Best Biscuits” on WBIR, around 8:15am, and promises to share more info (in the next few days) about the entire process.

The Best Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
5 tbsp chilled butter, cut into small pieces
¾ cup chilled buttermilk

Measure flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar into a medium bowl. Add chilled butter and work into flour with fingertips or a pastry cutter until the butter resembles small beads. Add buttermilk and work flour into buttermilk until you have a soft dough. Turn dough no more than 10 times. Gather into a ball. flatten the ball of dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1 inch. Either trim the edges and use a knife cut the biscuits into squares or use a traditional round biscuit cutter to cut out the biscuits. Gather up any remaining dough into a ball and repeat flattening and cutting the biscuits. Place the cut biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet (placing the biscuits in the freezer at this point for 30 mintues will yield a fluffier biscuit). Bake in a 425 degree oven for 8 – 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve hot.

Makes 6-8 biscuits depending on the size of your cutter.

© 2016 The Tomato Head Site by: Robin Easter Design