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Before we get started, we want you to know that if we didn't choose your recipe as a finalist, that doesn't mean we didn't think it was great. In fact, we hope you'll re-submit your recipes for relevant recipe themes in the future.
Now that there are lots of people sending in excellent recipes, our decision-making process has shifted toward shaping the book and thinking about assembling a group of recipes that feels coherent, original and enticing.
For the Best End of Summer Cocktail, we were immediately drawn to the Blackberry Caipirinha because it was a simple twist on a classic drink, and seemed to epitomize summer. The Tom and Ginger, though elaborate, seemed thoughfully conceived and we liked the unusual combination of tomatoes with ginger. Among the others on our short list were the Yuzu, I Zu, which we planned to test but couldn't find yuzu juice; the Thai Ginger Lime Cooler; the Honeyed Peach Melba Bellinis (great sounding but we didn't want to have two fruit drinks and we didn't want to have two complex drinks); the Cantaconundrum; and the Michelada (we're planning to do a beer cocktail theme so please re-enter then!).
For the Best Preserves, there was definitely a tomato theme among the entries, and we wanted to acknowledge this by choosing at least one. We went with the Sweet & Savory Tomato Jam because we liked the blend of vinegar and sugar. And we liked both of KelseyTheNaptimeChef's old-fashioned preserves: Grandma's Canned Tomatoes and Bread & Butter Pickles. Since we didn't want to end up with two tomato recipes we went with the pickles, and were amply rewarded. We also liked the sound of the Tomato Preserves (scented with lemon); Peachy Tomato Jam; Plum and Walnut Conserve; and Fresh Fig and Strawberry Jam (which calls for Harvey's Bristol Cream).