Will Gilson Cooks With Muir Glen Tomatoes

Will Gilson

I scooted out of work right at 5 on Monday and rushed over to the BCAE to join a hands-on cooking class with Will Gilson, featuring Muir Glen tomatoes. The class started at 4:45 so by the time I got there, I had missed the hands-on part, but I got to watch Will put the finishing touches on ratatouille and tomato soup. (This involved a whole lot of smoked paprika and olive oil.)

You may remember that I actually made Will's tomato soup earlier this year. It's amazing. You may also remember that I attended a Muir Glen tomato event with Will at Garden at the Cellar back in January. It all started last August when five chefs went out to Yolo County, California, to help harvest Muir Glen tomatoes and became a part of the Muir Glen Tomato Vine Dining Tour. Each of the chefs created dishes for their restaurants using Muir Glen tomatoes. While Will is no longer at Garden at the Cellar, he's still one of Muir Glen's featured chefs, and we were lucky enough to experience his Muir Glen tomato dishes again this year, at a different venue.

You might wonder why Will would use Muir Glen tomatoes when he is such a huge proponent of local food: He realizes we just can't get fresh tomatoes around here, and importing tomatoes from California is a bit more local than importing them from, say, Italy. Luckily, Muir Glen offers such a high-quality, flavorful product.

Muir Glen tomatoes

Having missed all the manual labor, there was nothing left for me to do but sit and enjoy a tomato-based meal.

We all gathered at the table, poured ourselves wine, and found bowls of Muir Glen's Reserve Harvest Sunset Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes and Reserve Harvest Sunset Organic Diced Tomatoes in front of us. We dipped into the bowls and served ourselves tastes of the tomatoes. These were some of the best tomatoes I've eaten straight from a can lately (and believe it or not, I've tried quite a lot of tomatoes straight from a can lately). They were so sweet and ripe-tasting.

Muir Glen tomatoes

Muir Glen tomatoes

Next we were served the ratatouille that Will had prepared. The fresh thyme permeated every bite of the soft vegetables.

Muir Glen tomatoes

And finally, we got some of the renowned tomato soup, altered just slightly so we wouldn't get bored with it, according to Will (for the record, I'd never get bored with it), and grilled cheese sandwiches. 

Tomato soup and grilled cheese

This was every bit as delicious as you might imagine. Grilled cheese and tomato soup becomes one of my favorite meals every year once the weather cools down.

It was so much fun to hang out at the BCAE with Will and a bunch of blogger friends, sampling the newest crop of Muir Glen Reserve tomatoes.

If you've never ordered a Muir Glen Reserve kit before, I suggest you do so. This year the tomatoes come in a gorgeous gift basket. And the basket comes filled with:
  • One 14.5 oz can Reserve Harvest Sunset Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • One 14.5 oz can Reserve Harvest Sunset Organic Diced Tomatoes
  • One 14.5 oz can Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
  • One 14.5 oz can Muir Glen Organic No-Salt Added Diced Tomatoes
  • A booklet featuring a variety of recipes created by award-winning chefs from around the country made with the 2011 Reserve Tomatoes
You can order a kit here. We were each sent home with a basket after the event, but I have a feeling I'll be placing an order for more soon. I usually order two baskets every year.

What's your favorite tomato-based dish?