Battle Tomatoes: Jazzed-Up

What’s your favorite type of music? Rock & roll, or pop? Rap, or R&B? Classical? Post-rock? Indie rock? You get the point, I’m assuming; I could go on and on listing the styles of music until you hear the one that sings to you. Music reminds me of food, in a way, because of the potential for it to bring people together, to connect them via that common thread of a song, or genre – similar to a cuisine, a restaurant, or a family recipe.

This weekend, we were brought together because of food, but we were united by something different: smooth jazz on the lakefront.

It was a typical Iron Chef battle in many ways: a great ingredient (thanks to, ahem, the three-time reigning Iron Chef), great people, and truthfully, killer food. Jenn, a semi-newbie, and her hubs, Mark, graciously hosted in their ‘hood, Rogers Park. Their building just happens to be right on the lake, and for our listening pleasure we were graced by the presence of a summer party out on the patio and the sensual rhythms of smooth jazz on the speakers.

Last time I checked, Wilco, Gaslight Anthem, and Bruce Springsteen were not part of the smooth jazz genre. And I won’t lie, I (rather, we) were all a little reluctant to let smooth jazz into our hearts. But after a little wine, some good conversation, and a lot of tomatoes, we were mystified. The sequins and brightly-colored attire worn by some of the party-goers didn’t hurt.

Our little romantic rendezvous for 7 on the balcony lasted until midnight, and sadly the smooth jazz died out about an hour before that time which really dampened the mood, but we chatted on a bit longer, hoping we’d be enlivened with an encore which unfortunately just wasn’t in the stars that night.

(dishes listed at end of post)

As was fitting, Hope nailed her 2nd win at her final battle, given her upcoming move to the Deep South. As such, she’s the second repeat winner and a bonafide Iron Chef. Her tomato pie was out of this world, or maybe just Southern instead of from the Midwest, and it was certainly a winner in my eyes. Hopefully she’ll get her own IC group started down there, that is, after she chooses the ingredient for Battle 12 – her final obligation.

The Top Three:

  1. Hope’s Green Tomato Pie (gluten-free & vegetarian)
  2. Terri’s Smoked Salmon Bruschetta
  3. my Hushpuppies w/ Green Tomato Chutney (gluten-free, dairy-free, & vegetarian)

Green Tomato Pie
Hope’s winning recipe; serves ~8

printable version

1 9″ prebaked pie crust^
4-5 green tomatoes
1 T mayonnaise
1 c pepper jack cheese
1 c sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

preheat oven to 350 F. slice tomatoes to 1/4″ thickness & place layers on paper towel to soak up some of the water. mix cheese together in a medium bowl with mayo and a little salt and pepper. place prebaked crust in pie dish. layer 1/3 of tomatoes onto bottom of crust, then 1/3 of cheese mixture. repeat this twice, using remaining tomatoes and cheese/mayo mix. bake for ~30-45 minutes, until brown.

^regular or gluten-free, depending on your eaters!

the “life” of the party!

The dishes pictured earlier, from right to left: my hushpuppies and green tomato relish, Rachel’s tomato, basil, & brie sammies, Jennifer’s tomato, mozzarella & basil pasta salad, Rachel’s polenta tart with tomatoes, Terri’s smoked salmon & tomato bruschetta, Hope’s green tomato pie, Jenn’s leek and roasted tomato pizza, Mark’s double salsa combo, and Terri’s lamb & rice stuffed tomatoes.

6 thoughts on “Battle Tomatoes: Jazzed-Up

  1. Awww, I love this post, Heather! Thanks so much for wrapping up the Smooth Jazz IC Battle Tomato so well! Mark and I were chuckling over leftover pizza the next morning about how the smooth jazz & partygoers really took the battle over the top! I did thank them for the music & entertainment when they crawled out of the building around noon on Sunday to finish cleaning up! Ha!

  2. Tina Bastian says:

    Hi Heather,
    I was blog searching on how to host an Iron Chef party and found your blog. I absolutely love it!
    I formed a dinner club with my friends a couple of years ago. Every other month someone would host the dinner party. They would provide everything from apps to dessert What started out as a dinner club turned more into a party club. We had themes and it seemed like each host tried to outdo the others…Don’t get me wrong we had lots of fun and some great parties…Swim Party, Party Like a Rock Star, Mardi Gras, Kentucky Derby, Cinco de Mayo, Casino Murder Mystery, Western Murder Mystery, Chillin and Grillin, Pot Party (not what you think)… but we moved away from why I really started the club — for the food. I have been toying with the idea of forming a new (smaller) dinner club but still wanted to keep it fun. After reading another blog, I was inspired with the idea of the IRON CHEF competition. I am hoping to start our competitions in September. I would love any advice you might be able to offer.
    Keep up the battles!

  3. Thanks Tina – I’m glad you found me, and our battles! We really enjoy it, and it’s a great way to spend time with friends, eat good food, and have a little friendly competition! Feel free to send me an email ( and I can help you get started!

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