Top tomato trifecta

Okanagan College culinary students are tempting taste buds with tomatoes.

OC students captured first, second and third place in the 27th annual Florida Tomato Council top tomato recipe contest.

Annie Low, an international student from Britain, earned first place with her tomato chili jam recipe that incorporates fresh tomatoes, roasted peppers and fresh and dried chilies.

Second went to Morris Hsu's tomato iced tea. Hsu slow roasted tomatoes, strained them and infused them with mint, fennel and ginger. 

Third place belonged to Elizabeth Devereaux, who stacked a panko-crusted eggplant slice with tomato jam, mozzarella, a tomato slice, tomato mayonnaise and a fresh basil leaf.

“I was surprised to learn that I had won,” says Low. “I was even more surprised to learn that Okanagan College students had earned second and third place, too.”

“I’m impressed with the results, but not entirely surprised,” says Jonathan Rouse, Okanagan College’s director of food, wine and tourism. “We have a top-notch group of chef instructors and passionate students who appreciate fresh ingredients – and love developing recipes that reflect different ways of thinking about them.”

According to the tomato council, the Florida industry produces nearly 900 million pounds annually and accounts for about 50 per cent of all U.S. grown fresh tomatoes.

Here’s Low’s award-winning recipe:

  • 3 pounds of fully ripened, fresh tomatoes cored and chopped 
  • 2 red peppers, cooked in oven until blistered and starting to turn black, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 small red chili, seeded and chopped fine

Combine all ingredients in a pan and cook over medium-high heat stirring constantly.
Bring to a boil for two minutes. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture has a jam-like consistency, about 2.5 hours. (a half-recipe cooks in 1.5 hours)
Serve with a soft cheese and crackers.

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