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Tomatoes are busting out all over. Just ask anyone who attended the 16th annual Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival last weekend at the K-J wine center and gardens in Santa Rosa.

 There were so many tantalizing  bites  from local chefs and caterers that it was difficult to taste them  all.  My favorites were the simplest: the Bloody Mary made with pickled beans, the refreshing tomato water, and the huge table sliced heirloom  tomatoes, including everything from tiny, sweet Peace cherries to  deep, meaty Paul Robeson orbs.

The People’s Choice award went to  Monti’s Rotisserie in Santa Rosa for their Tomato Tarte Tatin, and the Critic’s Choice went to Tolay at the Sheraton Sonoma  County for their Fried Green Tomatoes.  Meanwhile, Texas chef Casey Thompson kicked some butt in the Chef’s  Challenge with the help of the winery’s own Tracey Shepos-Cenami, who served as her sous chef. In  the Tomato Grower’s Competition, Larry Wagner took home the prize for his Shah Tomato, in the white/green tomato category.

Here’s a simple recipe from Sea Thai Bistro in Santa Rosa and Petaluma for the  tasty ceviche they served at the festival.It’s a refreshing way to say farewell to summer this week in your kitchen. We’re entering the shoulder season, with winter and summer squash overlapping.

Thai-Style Baby Squid Ceviche with Heirloom Tomatoes

For dressing:

4 tablespoons lime juice

4 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons fish sauce

4 tablespoons roasted , ground peanuts

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 Thai birds-eye chili, minced

Pinch of kosher salt

6 ounces baby squid

1 cup Sun Gold Heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced

Handful of mixed cilantro and green onion, shredded

Put all the dressing ingredients in a blender and reduce to a puree. It should taste salty, sour and hot in a harmonious way.

Clean the squid, cut the body into about half-inch strips. Scrape the suckers from the tentacles and cut into half-inch pieces. Combine with the cilantro and green onion. Dress salad 20 minutes before serving.

 

 

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