Enticing ways to devour Taste Tomatoes

    The result of their efforts is an elongated, striped tomato--slightly larger than an egg--which has a lovely sweet-to-acid balance.

    If you have been frequenting restaurants or farmers’ markets in the SF Bay Area, you have observed we are finally in the midst of tomato season. Alluring shapes and colors of locally-grown tomatoes are inspiring restaurant chefs, popping up in CSA (Community Support Agriculture) farm shares and stimulating our taste buds. We are a little late this year because of the cool summer, but it is so worth the wait.

    Deliciously sweet and succulent tomatoes do come to those who linger…especially around the kitchen of Chef Chris Borges (last name rhymes with “gorgeous” as he likes to remind me) of Taste Catering. (Check out this video of me hanging out in the kitchen with Chef Chris Borges)

    If you think you are the number one fan of tomatoes, ask yourself this: “Did your quest for the perfect tomato start at the market or at a farm with a tomato breeder?”

    Taste Tomato at Macy's
    The Taste Tomato is a cross between the Maglia Rosa and Zucchero varieties.

    Chris is so passionate about finding the perfect tomato that he partnered with Fred Hempel, farmer and ex-geneticist, of Baia Nicchia Farm in Sunol to create the “Taste Tomato,” a cross between the Maglia Rosa and Zucchero heirloom varieties. For a variety to be considered “heirloom”, it needs to have been in existence for 50 years.

    The result of their efforts is an elongated, striped tomato—slightly larger than an egg—which has a lovely sweet-to-acid balance. The size is perfect for the delicate hors d’œuvre at many of Taste Catering’s events. Fred is still working on uniformity of the new Taste Tomato (size and shape) which will improve with each season.

    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco
    Chef Chris Borges in the Cellar at Macy's San Francisco creating a Taste Tomato feast to celebrate the tomato season and local agriculture.

    I was able to explore Chris’ affections for tomatoes during a dinner event held at Macy’s flagship store in San Francisco. The gourmet meal, featuring the Taste Tomato, was created in Macy’s in-house kitchen; other occasions call for the the kitchen to be used for cooking demonstrations by visiting celebrity chefs such as Cat Cora and Bobby Flay. On this evening, Chef Chris Borges and the Taste Catering team took the stage to explore the many ways to devour a Taste Tomato.

    Chef Chris Borges was calm and in good spirits when I spoke to him during the preparation of dinner. The intimate event is much less demanding than some of the grand galas Taste Catering hosts for high profile events around the city.

    Here is some inspiration of what you can create with Taste Tomatoes which are now available at local farmers markets around the SF Bay Area including:

    • San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays
    • Menlo Park Farmers Market at Baia Nicchia’s booth on Sundays
    • Berkeley’s Tokyo Fish Market, Mondays through Saturdays
    • Baia Nicchia’s farm stand in Sunol on Friday afternoons

    In addition to the photos below of the evening’s creations, once you have the little red guys in hand, you may also want to try some of the tasty recipes here on StarkSilverCreek that will hopefully inspire a tomato-filled love affair. Your family and friends will thank you!

    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco
    Some hors d
    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco
    Seared ahi tuna with a Taste Tomato salsa on top.
    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco
    Bloody Mary Summer Salad: Taste Tomatoes, Poached Celery, Horseradish Leaf Salsa Verde, Garlic Chips, Vodka Vinaigrette, Mature Padron Peppers. This was Clint's favorite dish. It highlighted the wonderful textures and flavors of Taste Tomato. During tomato season, it is sometimes best to let the natural flavors shine through.
    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco
    Gorgeous basket of bread. Here, simple freshly baked rolls are transformed into special treats with a hint of Taste Tomato and artisan cheese.
    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco
    Marin Sun Farms Top Sirloin, Sauce Bordelaise, Taste Tomato Chutney. This was a nice hearty dish and demonstrates how well the sweet and acid of tomatoes pairs well with the robust flavors of meat.
    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco
    Taste Tomato, Toybox Squash, Squash Blossom and Chevre Tart. I had been eyeing this dish the whole time in the kitchen and was finally happy to taste test it. It is a wonderful comfort food. I love how pretty it looks with the red and green contrasting colors. The Taste Tomato flavors are still bright and lively.
    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco
    'BLT': Taste Tomatoes, Bacon and Erbette Chard Gnafron. This dish was one of the surprises of the night. I loved the sweetness of the Taste Tomato paired with the earthiness and textures of the chard. I have been receiving a lot of chard in my CSA farm share box and this dish inspired me to try something more creative with my next bunch of chard.
    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco
    Stewed Kentucky Wonder Beans, Taste Tomato Confit and House Golden Cayenne Vinegar: I loved th shapes and colors in this vegetable dish.
    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco
    Taste Tomato Sorbet, Clear Tomato Gelee, Tomato Jam, Strained Yogurt-Mascarpone Foam, Pistachio Oil: Okay, this was my absolute favorite dish of the meal. It was playfully surprising and refreshingly delicious. I have never had tomato sorbet and this was a superlative experience. The sorbet had such tomato-taste intensity. I don't know how Chris Borges accomplished this, but it was superb. If the rest of the dishes from the meal were "ready-to-wear", this would definitely be haute couture.
    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco
    Chef Chris Borges of Taste Catering in San Francisco.
    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco
    This takes the trend of public dining to a whole new level. In the Macy's home goods section of their flagship store in San Francisco.
    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco
    Catherine Bartels, vice president and general manager of Macy's Union Square.
    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco
    MeMe Pederson, CEO of Taste Catering

    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco

    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco

    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco

    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco

    Taste Tomato Dinner in San Francisco

    Photo gallery:

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