Recipes for today’s cooking demonstration at the Chicago Botanic Garden

This weekend is the Heirloom Tomato Weekend at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and they have graciously asked me to demonstrate some heirloom tomato recipes for their Garden Chef Series. There are two demonstrations, at 1:30 and 2:30, so time is a little bit limited and we are doing two simple recipes that compliment each other very well: Golden Tomato Soup and Sweet Corn Relish. Sweet corn relish makes a great garnish for tomato soup, and you can serve this recipe hot or cold. Add any green garnishes you like at the end. I recommend tarragon or summer savory, but you can also use thyme, chives, oregano, cilantro, or epazote.

Corn Relish

  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 1  cup minced red bell pepper (same size and shape as corn kernels)
  • 1  cup minced green bell pepper (same size and shape as corn kernels)
  • 1 cup minced red onion (same size and shape as corn kernels)
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • ½  cup water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt

In a small saucepan, combine ingredients and place on stove over high heat. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cool to room temperature for one hour. Place in a sealed container and refrigerate for three days before using. Use within two weeks, or freeze.

Golden Tomato Soup

  • 2-3 medium yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 yellow bell or frying peppers, cored, seeded, ribs removed, and coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 celery stalks with leaves, taken from center of the bunch
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 pounds yellow heirloom beefsteak tomatoes, such as Carolina Gold, Golden Egg, or Livingston’s Golden Queen, washed, cored, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup olive oil, optional

Using your blender, puree each ingredient in batches until all is pureed thoroughly. Pour into a large mixing bowl and combine thoroughly with a whisk. Chill thoroughly before serving, or serve hot. Garnish with sweet corn relish, herbs, or seafood. Consume within seven days.