Chef Hess shares favorite recipe from her childhood


Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of articles spotlighting favorite childhood recipes from the stars of Dining with the Chefs.

Dining with the Chefs is an annual event benefiting the Montgomery County Free Clinic. The event takes place at 6 p.m. Aug. 3 at Knowling Field House on the Wabash College campus. Funds raised support the clinic, which helps meet the health-care needs of Montgomery County’s most needy residents.

Organizers asked each chef participating in the event this year to provide a recipe from their childhood — the results are simple recipes transporting us back to simpler times. The first recipe comes from chef Lali Hess, proprietor and executive chef of The Juniper Spoon, a full-service catering company serving central Indiana with a commitment to supporting local farmers and producers. Here is Lali’s recipe for “Pulp on Toast”:

My mother grew up on an Amish farm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She was one of seven children, and her father was a tomato farmer on a small plot of land. They lived by necessity the life that many of us aspire to now ... eating tail to snout, growing all their own food, making their own butter, burying their homegrown celery in trenches to store for the winter.

Because of the over-abundance of tomatoes on hand, Grandma was adept at making recipes that had no business having tomatoes in them, suddenly contain tomatoes. In this case, she created a breakfast recipe that is just leftover tomatoes and a few slices of homemade bread. My mother continued the tradition of from-scratch cooking and Pulp on Toast was a weekly breakfast for me growing up. And I now make it for my daughters.

Pulp on Toast


Two slices toasted, buttered, homemade oatmeal bread

Crumbled cheese, any kind found in the fridge (Bleu is a favorite)

A small saucepan of boiling tomato puree. (Can be made from fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, even a tin can of tomato paste with water added. Consistency should be that of a somewhat thickened tomato soup. Salt and pepper.)

Lay the toast on your plate. Sprinkle generously with cheese. Pour hot tomato pulp liberally over the toast, like a half a cup per slice.

Eat with a knife and fork.

Tickets for Dining With the Chefs can be purchased online at; or you may send a check for $75 a ticket to Dining with the Chefs, Montgomery County Free Clinic Inc., P.O. Box 86, Crawfordsville, IN 47933/Ticket sales close July 30.