The KCET Food and Farmer's Kitchen Recipe Contest: Tomatoes

Photo by A. Rios/R.E.Anyone lucky enough to have tasted a farm-fresh tomato knows that it's one of the best flavors around, and nothing at all like your average winter supermarket tomato. Since Southern California is right now at the height of its tomato season -- and the farmers' markets are bursting with heirloom varieties -- KCET Food and The Farmer's Kitchen have decided this month's recipe contest will be all about this juicy fruit!

Send us your favorite tomato-based recipe, be it sweet or savory, simple or complicated, raw or cooked. The creator of our very favorite recipe will win a gift basket full of goods made in Southern California, including:

  • Three jams from Ellelle Kitchen in Pasadena: Central Coast Raspberry, Fig Conserve with Backyard Orange and Walnut and Backyard Grapefruit with Campari.
  • A copy of Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking, a reference guide perhaps not made in California, but written by one of our culinary greats!
  • A jar of balsamic vinaigrette from David's Unforgettables in San Fernando Valley.
  • Two cans of olives from Graber Olive House in Ontario.
  • A selection of three brittles from Morning Glory Confections in Los Angeles.
No recipe is too simple or too complicated; they're all contenders. Just be sure to submit the recipe by noon on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.

Leave it in the comments section below or email it to Living editor Katherine Spiers by the deadline (August 28 at noon). We'll spend the week with Chef Ernest Miller of the HFK cooking and tasting the submissions, and the winner will be announced at noon on September 5. For official contest rules, visit this link.

Happy cooking!

Check out some of our past winners:
Stone Fruit Gazpacho
Chocolate-Plum Jam
Farmers' Market Crostini
Spicy Indian Eggplant

Eat better by following KCET Food on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

About the Author

Katherine is the former Living Managing Editor at She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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Recipe- Asian Flavored Bacon Tomato Milk Soup
Serving- 4
2 Medium Tomatoes
1/2 Meidum Onion
4 slices Bacon
1 tablespoon Butter
3 cups Milk
4 teaspoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Granulated Sugar
1. Slice onion thinly. Chop Bacon. Dice tomatoes.
2. In a saucepan, cook bacon until fat is coming out and tender. Add onions and tomatoes and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add milk and bring to boil.
3. Reduce heat and add granulated sugar and soy sauce. Stir and add butter. Stir well and simmer until butter is melted. Then sprinkle black pepper.


Recipe- Tomato Carrot Miso Milk Soup
Serving- 3-4
2 Tomatoes (about 2.5 oz)
1 cup Julienne Cut Carrots
1/2 Small Onion
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Miso Paste
1 1/4 cup Milk
8 Slices Bacon
2 Boiled Eggs

1. Slice onion thinly. Peel tomato and slice thinly.
2. Cook bacon until crisp and chop. Chop boiled eggs.
3. Put sliced onions, tomatoes, julienne carrots and olive oil in a blender. Blend until smooth.
4. Transfer to the saucepan and add miso paste and milk. Heat over medium heat and simmer whisking to dissolve miso paste until miso paste is melted and smooth.
5. Pour the soup into each serving bowl, put bacon and boiled egg on top. Sprinkle black pepper if you like.


Salmon stuffed Tomatoes
Serves 4

4 large Tomatoes
2 can smoked salmon
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional)


Preheat oven to 350
Core Tomatoes & place in non-stick baking dish

Combine remaining ingredients & stuff into tomatoes. Top with shredded cheese (if desired). Bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy!


Caprese Melt
Ingredients (Serves 2)
4 large slices of sourdough sandwich bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
10 fresh basil leaves
2 firm-ripe tomatoes (about 8 oz. total), sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Salt and pepper to taste
**Balsamic vinaigrette (optional - see ingredients below)
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
-1 teaspoon honey (or brown sugar)
-1 large clove garlic (grated)
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Mix everything together, set aside

1. Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil. Place 2 slices, oil side down, on a 10- x 15-inch baking sheet and layer evenly with basil leaves, tomato slices, and mozzarella slices. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and top with remaining bread slices, oil side up.
2. Broil sandwiches 6 inches from heat, turning once, until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes total.
**3. Serve with a side of Balsamic vinaigrette for that extra "Zing"!

Bon Appetit!


Fresh Tomato and Sweet Corn Pie
2-9inch refrigerated pie crusts

3 large tomatoes, beefsteak or any you prefer
¼ teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons garlic powder
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
½ cup fresh or frozen corn
2 Tablespoons basil, chopped
2 Tablespoons green onion, finely diced

Slice tomatoes about ½ inch thick and place on paper towel. Place another paper towel on top of tomatoes and press lightly to remove moisture. Remove towel and sprinkle tomatoes with salt.

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, grated parmesan, lemon juice and garlic

Unroll single pie crust and place in the bottom of a 9 inch pie pan.
Place ½ shredded parmesan in bottom of crust and top with of ½ the corn. Layer ½ of the tomatoes on top of corn and repeat layers. Spread mayonnaise on top of final layer. Sprinkle with basil and green onion.

Unroll final crust and place on top sealing edges. Cut slits in top to allow steam to escape.

Bake 40 minutes at 400 degrees or until top of crust is golden brown. Serves 8

Surprise your guests with this fun and easy side dish. The fresh tomato and sweet corn taste are a fun way to share your summer bounty. Any kind of tomato will work. I’ve used yellow heirloom tomatoes but red tomatoes add a better contrast to the vibrant yellow of the sweet corn.


Garden Fresh Tomato/Basil soup

2-3 Lbs. fresh tomatoes
1/2 c. Fresh basil roughly chopped - must be fresh. Dry does not make it for this recipe, sorry.
1 medium white onion - finely chopped
2 cloves garlic - finely minced
2T. Olive Oil
2-3 c. water
6 scallions finely chopped both white and green
1/8 tsp: ground marjoram (if fresh use 1 tsp.)
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 T. fresh oregano, finely chopped (if dried cut to 1 tsp & rub between fingers)
1 large lemon (juice & zest)
1 whole fresh bay leaf (if dried - use 2)
1/2 cup dry red or white wine (any good table wine will do, but not sweet)
Dash salt, pepper & cayenne (see note below)

Skin tomatoes (dip in boiling water and slide skin off).
Chop tomatoes into small pieces. Use a bowl so no juice is lost.
Blend 1/2 of the tomatoes into a puree in a blender
Keep 1/2 of the tomatoes rough cut.
Shred zest from lemon
Juice the lemon in a separate dish
Finely chop scallions
Set all aside.
Heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven
Add white onion to the oil
Add garlic to oil.
Saute onion & garlic until soft & add oregano & marjoram. Stir well for about a minute until flavors bloom.
Add pureed tomatoes, water, brown sugar, lemon juice, bay leaf and 1/2 of the chopped basil.
Add salt, pepper, cayenne to taste.*
*NOTE: *Add carefully to make sure salt, pepper & cayenne are where you want them. Beware though, because they will bloom as this sits. Better less at first and more later because you can always add, but you can't undo it if you put in too much to begin with.

Bring to boil & turn down immediately to a very low simmer.
Cover and simmer about 20 minutes until flavors all blend.
Turn off the heat and add: rest of chopped fresh basil, wine, lemon zest, balance of fresh chopped tomatoes and finely chopped scallions. Cover with a tight lid and let the heat from the soup, steam this blend for about 10 minutes.

Discard bay leaf and serve. Top with grated cheese, more fresh basil, croutons, or a dollop of sour cream. Or just serve as it is. Tastes great, keeps well in the fridge and also freezes well for later.

This soup great hot or cold.
Makes about 12-14 cups. Servings depend on how big your bowls are:)


Mine is not so much a recipe...just a tasty way to use some vine ripened tomatoes and fresh basil from the farmer's market or backyard garden. I don't measure ingredients. This is good hot or cold.
"Harvarti Noodle"
16 oz dry pasta (cooked & drained...I like small shells but any shape will do!)
2-3 baskets of tomatoes (sliced, diced or chopped by preference)
8 oz or more of Havarti Cheese (cubed for easy melting)
4 oz or more Fresh Basil (chopped)
Green Onions (chopped from greens to white & use the entire bunch)
Garlic Cloves (at least 3, minced)
Salt & Pepper + Olive Oil Drizzle
Start pasta cooking. Prepare all other ingredients and mix in a large mixing bowl (large enough to hold the pasta). Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes, basil, green onions, garlic & cheese. Toss and add salt & pepper. Drain pasta and add to tomato/cheese mixture while hot. Toss until well blended and enjoy!