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Tomatoes Fresh and Sweet

Updated on September 11, 2014

Tomatoes Fresh and Sweet - From Poetry to Cooking to Winning

Below you will see the entry poem Tomatoes Fresh and Sweet which I wrote in lieu of an essay. This poem then set me up as a finalist in a cookoff contest ... The winning recipe is also here for you to make and enjoy at home!


For a cooking challenge I'd be the gourmet

One of three contenders to compete

The winners would cook on a Saturday

Four foodie judges would get to eat


All poetry copyright MyFairLadyah - Reprint with Permission

Tomatoes Fresh and Sweet

The Qualifying Entry for the Cookoff

When tomatoes are fresh and sweet

And good enough to bite into and eat

That is the perfect time to buy them

In lustrous red hues, ripe on the stem

Then, they're also the best looking

And absolutely splendid for cooking

Modern tomatoes can come in all sizes

Grapes to heirlooms, they're full of surprises

Romas for stewing or even for salads

Tasty enough for the writing of ballads

Pop a cherry in your mouth or two or three

Satisfies just like the fruit, don't you see?

In pasta sauces and purees and bisques

Cooked up tomatoes don't have any risks

It's a definite plus to start from fresh

Cooking slowly, for the taste of the flesh

As I, the chef, stir and watch with love

The slow, tender, simmer I see from above

But canned varieties can be used in a pinch

When the snow is high at around 50 inch

Let's not forget the red orbs in baking

Pizza, lasagna, some night I'll be making

And hot hors d'oeuvres are especially nice

Like melted-on mozzarella, with Italian spice

So whether they're stewed or fried green

The versatile tomato perks up my cuisine

At the Cookoff

What we three chefs did prepare

Brought sighs of delight and stares

In one hour on the clock

From ingredients chosen ad hoc

So I Cooked (and I Won!)

I entered a cooking challenge with a qualifying poem

Today I was among three chefs and didn't have far to roam

I made a dish with tomatoes and some secret stuff

The judges thought my plate was best; even off the cuff

So you see a writer that is not the best of cooks

Can broaden her horizons and not cook from the books

The Proof is in the Eating

  • Prep time: 30 min
  • Cook time: 30 min
  • Ready in: 1 hour
  • Yields: Serves 4


  • 2 lb of NatureSweet cherry tomatoes
  • 12 oz angel hair or other pasta
  • 1 package fresh basil
  • 1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup of pine nuts
  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 3 medium cloves of garlic
  • minced
  • ½ cup of fig jam
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • water


  1. 1) Heat enough water to cook the pasta, with a Tbsp of olive oil, to boiling. Then add the pasta and cook till al dente; drain and put aside, covered
  2. 2) Cut up the chicken in 1 inch pieces (put aside); cut about 2 inches off the ends of the asparagus (put asparagus aside); slice the cherry tomatoes in half (put aside); remove stems from the basil.
  3. 3) Brown the garlic in about 4 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet that has a cover. Add the chicken with some salt and pepper and lightly brown. Add ¼ cup water & simmer until tender; be careful not to overcook. Remove the chicken and garlic with slotted spoon, leaving the juices, and set aside, covered.
  4. 4) Add the asparagus to the skillet with ½ cup water. Cover and place on low heat for about 10 minutes (fork tender). Take out asparagus with slotted spoon & set aside with chicken.
  5. 5) Mix fig jam into juices in skillet. Add cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and ¾ of the basil (small leaves + roughly cut); cover and cook on low heat about 10 minutes.
  6. 6) Add chicken & asparagus back to skillet. Stir to combine.
  7. 7) Spoon chicken/tomato/asparagus over pasta ensuring that juices cover all the pasta. This can be on one large platter or on individual serving plates. Garnish with parmesan cheese and finely chopped basil.
  8. Serve with a nice fresh Italian bread!
Cast your vote for MyFairLady's Tomato Basil Pasta

Thanks for Stopping By - Feel free to give the recipe a try (let me know what you think)

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