Tomatoes Fresh and Sweet
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
- 2 lb of NatureSweet cherry tomatoes
- 12 oz angel hair or other pasta
- 1 package fresh basil
- 1 Â½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Â¼ cup of pine nuts
- 1 lb asparagus
- 3 medium cloves of garlic
- Â½ cup of fig jam
- grated parmesan cheese
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 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) 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) 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 Â¼ 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) Add the asparagus to the skillet with Â½ 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) Mix fig jam into juices in skillet. Add cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and Â¾ of the basil (small leaves + roughly cut); cover and cook on low heat about 10 minutes.
- 6) Add chicken & asparagus back to skillet. Stir to combine.
- 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.
- Serve with a nice fresh Italian bread!