Muir Glen Tomato Tasting Dinner at Garden at the Cellar

Flatbread pizza with smoked tomatoes and roasted cauliflower
A tomato tasting in January.  In Boston.  Hmmm.  What to make of an offer like that?  You can understand my suspicions, seeing as it couldn't be father away from tomato season than it is now.  But being the curious type that I am, off to Garden at the Cellar I went, ready to sample some 'maters.

I had never dined at Garden at the Cellar before but had certainly heard of its reputation.  Known for its creative chef, Will Gilson, as well as for its dedication to local flavors and products, the restaurant itself is quite cozy with intimate tables and dim lighting.  When I first walked in I was first greeted with a representative from Muir Glen, a glass of red and an array of tasty little snacks, all of which involved my dear friend the tomato.
Tomato Soup Shooters
A little about Muir Glen and why this event took place: Muir Glen, a producer of Organic canned tomatoes, soups and sauces (I'm sure you've seen their products at Whole Foods) and they had invited Chef Gilson along with 5 other award-winning chefs to participate in the harvesting of their exclusive Reserve tomatoes.  At the end of the trip, each of the chefs had been asked to create an exclusive recipe featuring the tomatoes and Chef Gilson created a Creamy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheddar-Basil Sandwiches as well as Orecchiette with Braised Kale, Fire-Roasted Tomatoes and Grilled Italian Sausage.  Both were on hand at the tasting and both were wildly delicious.

Grilled Cheese destined for a dunk in tomato soup
In addition to the exclusive recipes, we dined on pork belly with sweet and sour tomato jam that was simply out of this world with a crispy exterior and soft buttery inside that paired so well with a tangy tomato jam.

Can you say meat candy?
And then it was on to dinner:

Braised lamb with tomato and curry leaf confit
Pasta with grilled sausage and Parmesan
The common thread between all of these dishes was the creativity and layers of flavor as well as the diversity of herbs and spices used that really kept my taste buds happy and excited.  The star of the show, the Muir Glen tomatoes were terrifically tender with a rich tomatoey flavor, which is sadly a quality that is sometimes hard to find in canned tomatoes.  As tomato's #1 fan, I am delighted to see companies spend so much time and dedication, not to mention the added benefit of being able to enjoy tomatoes all year round.  Of course, they can't compare to a fresh juicy heirloom tomato picked ripe in the peak of summer's heat but insofar as tomatoes in the winter are concerned, these are totally a good fix for winter blues.

Special thanks to Muir Glen and Garden at the Cellar for hosting such a delicious event and for supplying attendees with a case of cans of tomatoes.  My own recipes utilizing these tomato cans to follow!

Garden at the Cellar on Urbanspoon


Frederick Wright said...

Love Muir Glen canned tomatoes, and you can often find them at steep discounts at Dollar General/Dollar Tree/Ocean State Job Lot!

Everything looked good, but that braised lamb just sounds perfect when the weather is like this...

Shannon said...

WOW! Everything looks so good... especially the pork belly, YUM!

Daisy said...

such a great event! I never get sick of reading the recaps or seeing this amazing food created from canned tomatoes.

Megan said...

Great seeing you at the dinner! I am still dreaming about that pork belly!

Angela said...

Yum. I love the tomato soup and grilled cheese because that is such a traditional, comfort food combination that it takes talent to recreate it in a new, exciting way.

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

That tasting menu looked awesome and I was sorry to have to miss such a great event!

Olga @ MangoTomato said...

I obviously love tomatoes, so I'd be ready to eat them year round. The soup and "meat candy" look amazing.

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Oh my goodness this looks awesome! I love tomatoes and that picture of the pizza looks so good. I don't think that I have ever had cauliflower on pizza before.

Susan said...

What a fun event! I read this post yesterday morning then went to Whole Foods to get ingredients for dinner, which required canned tomatoes. I saw this brand, thought of you and grabbed it immediately.

Boston Food Diary said...

That Will Gilson-Creative Chef that he is- looks amazing!!! Maybe I can bug him for some pork belly tips :-) Great recap SBK!

burgerboy said...

Did you really use the word, "'maters?"

What's Hot From The Small Boston Kitchen