The evening began with a drink, the Night Eyes, a refreshing cocktail of apple, cherry, sumac and rose hip mead. As people trickled in, we exchanged greetings and heard some stories about how people had gotten involved with gardening and food production. We heard a story from a man who described his home country, where you can get a cup of coffee and platanos for 50 cents. He has found that helping out with the garden at Los Sures gives him a chance to connect with plants and people that remind him of home.
We also heard from several student designers at New York University who spoke about their project design and implementation of a vertical garden and germination station. There was also a crew from the Heatonist, who were an integral part of the family style dinner. They got involved as a partner and graciously turned their back yard area into a space where we grew most of our tomatoes that were used in the dinner.
Meanwhile downstairs in the kitchen, Arly one of our partners from Honey’s and Gwen Fogel, our featured Chef were hard at work, whipping up a dish of…wait for it…. Soy Mirin Tomato Nigiri. Not only was this dish innovative it was the best alternative to a fish that I have ever had. Vegetarians look out! This was a star of the dinner but the other dishes were a close match in creativity and deliciousness. We feasted on, a traditional Lebanese tabbouleh, Quinoa stuffed tomatoes, Fennel Salad with Sun Golds, Ricotta and Tomato Muhammara, Tomato apple sauce, and Baked Tomato Pasta.
If you thought that the aforementioned dishes were the only way to eat a tomato then you are in for a big surprise. We then moved on to dessert and had a beautifully decorated tomato cake with cashew frosting, which I had two helpings of due the sheer novelty of eating tomato cake, and also because I loved it. We finished off with a drizzle of tomato apple sauce and a selection of cheese and fruits.
All of our delicious leftovers went to the food pantry at Los Sures where there was plenty of pasta to be enjoyed the next day. The proceeds from the dinner will go to our educational programs, working in schools and with community members to actively guerrilla garden and take initiative of green spaces in our communities.
Be sure to join us next year for our next dinner, we look forward to revealing next year’s surprise vegetable! As always a huge thank you to our sponsors Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for providing the tomato seeds, to Honeys Restaurant and Meadery for the warm space, and to everyone that grew a tomato to contribute to our seed to table journey.