Tomato Rice Salad Stack in celebration of Florida Tomato Month

A couple of weeks ago I was approached by a representative from the Florida Tomato Committee in order to participate in their blogger outreach program.  The Committee funds research and development projects and marketing promotions that focus on maximizing Florida tomato movement, including consumer and marketing research and customized marketing programs.

In celebration of Fresh Florida tomato Month in April, they were looking for blogger to develop an original recipe celebrating the Florida tomato.

In return we were being compensated with a case of Florida tomatoes to use for the recipe, some spending “mula” for ingredients and bragging rights on their web page pointing to our blog.

I have to be honest, I love when I’m approached by organizations/sponsors.  Not only does it give me the opportunity to try their products (I’m a beta tester at heart, I love to get something and test it to death) but also be creative in the process.

Except that with this ingredient the sky was the limit and the limit has pretty much been touched by a gazillion people in the industry.  Don’t believe me? Google “tomato recipes” and see how many hits you come up with.

I mean what can you do with tomatoes? 

A lot.of.things.

And that is where the trouble for me starts - when I have way to many options.  I hate to have hundreds of choices– I usually get overwhelmed.  I know that the object was to come up with an original recipe…but we also have to find inspiration and my inspiration was lacking – in all fronts.

The amount of thinking that went into this was just off the charts.  Tom kept finding cookbooks with pages full of colorful sticky flags and papers with Internet links, or scribbled with different flavor profiles and combinations – our conversations started with “so what would you do with tomatoes”… It was totally insane.

Especially when I tasted the tomatoes that were sent to me, they were so good just with a touch of salt on them.

Not very original.

For over two weeks I was consumed with what to come up with.  And the more I thought about it the more I was stuck.

But after going back and forth I narrowed it down to tomato jam.   It was a recipe that I had seem my gradmother made once and I thought I could duplicated it and then use it to built a nice crostini topped with some cheese.

So I did it

And

It was a total FLOP. 

It tasted horrible.

Plan B went into effect – I panic and called my mom for some SOS.

While having lunch, we started to discuss it and how stuck I was and little by little it started to come together.  It started with a stuffed tomato idea, then it become a rice salad with tomato and then I wanted to stack it into a pretty little tower and out of my kitchen came out this delicious dish that I since made 3 times.  I’m having a picnic at the end of the month for my “chicas” and guess what I’m taking?

This is perfect for a brunch, or a light lunch.  The salad is refreshing, the tomatoes were juice and sweet and it gave the perfect balance to the vinaigrette of the rice salad.  I have also added some avocado to it and its just as delish. 

You can find my recipe (and many more) over at Florida Tomatoes Committee.  You can also learn great things about tomatoes, like did you know that putting tomatoes in the refrigerator will zap their flavor? 

Notes:  in the recipe I called for you to use a plating/forming/pastry ring to make your stack - you can go all fancy and buy some or you can make the by taking some aluminum foil and wrap around a can by folding it a couple of times and the securing it with a clip.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via free products to create my recipe. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.