Monthly Archives: June 2013

You say tomato, I say tomahto…

tomato1

I was home visiting my family and was freshly out of culinary school.  I mean
green. I hadn’t really worked in kitchens yet other than as a stagiaire or
“stage”,
which is an intern (read: free labor).

I’m not really sure where the brilliant idea came from, but I had it in my head to make fried green tomatoes.  Keep in mind, I’d never eaten them nor made them but off I went to
gather green tomatoes and make them.  I had no reference point, so I didn’t know
how thick or thin to cut the slices.

tomato3So, I took to the kitchen with my tomatoes in hand and proceeded to make what one could only technically  classify as fried green tomatoes. 
They were tomatoes.  They were green. And they had been fried. 

Looking back at the first attempt to reach beyond my comfort zone, so full of enthusiasm, as all
new culinary grads are, I wince at what I made.  Thankfully, I’ve gotten a handle on it now.

I still struggle with failure as I’m sure we all do.  I don’t want to look stupid or fail at something. 
But, isn’t that how we learn and grow?  Our failures tend to teach us more than our successes in my experience.  I’m learning to let go of that a little, although I’ll be the first to admit that my competitive spirit will never disappear and the fear of embarrassing myself in front of people is still quite real. 
With that, I give you the following recipe… southerners need not correct me.  I’m sure you
make it better.

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Fried Green Tomatoes
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 - 5 green tomatoes, cut into 1/4" rounds
  2. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 1/4 cup buttermilk
  5. 1 1/2 - 2 cups breadcrumbs (any kind you have on hand)
  6. pinch cayenne pepper
  7. pinch paprika
  8. kosher salt
  9. freshly ground black pepper
  10. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  11. oil for frying
  12. optional: dried herbs
Instructions
  1. Combine flour, garlic powder, cayenne and paprika in a shallow dish and whisk together. Set aside.
  2. In a separate dish, whisk eggs and buttermilk together.
  3. In a third dish (it will be worth the dirty dishes, I promise) combine breadcrumbs with a little salt and pepper and any dried herbs if you are using. I throw in about a tablespoon of dried oregano or thyme if I don't have seasoned breadcrumbs.
  4. Lightly season tomatoes on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge through flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Then dip into egg mixture and coat with seasoned breadcrumbs.
  5. This next step most people find annoying, but I have found it essential. Place on a cooling rack and let it rest for about 15 - 20 minutes. This allows your coating to adhere to the tomatoes. I do this when coating anything I am going to fry. You know how disappointing it is when your breading falls off in the pan or as soon as you cut into it? Let it rest beforehand and that will be a thing of the past.
  6. After the tomatoes have hung out and gotten acquainted with each other, it's time to fry.
  7. Heat a large skillet with enough oil to go about 1/4 inch up the side. Heat oil on medium high heat (350 degrees with a thermometer) and carefully slide tomatoes slices into the oil, dropping them in away from you, not toward you. If the oil splashes, it will not splatter you, but the back of the stove.
  8. Fry until GBD (Golden Brown Delicious), remove and place on a bed of paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  9. Serve immediately.
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/

A Peck of Pickled Peppers

 

Banana Peppers

My banana pepper plants have been rather prolific and for this I am grateful.  As most of you who are regular visitors to this little space already know,  I went a little overboard in planting.  I have a tendency to overdo things and this was no exception. 

IMG_4293

Spending so many years living in an apartment with zero outdoor space, I may have gone a little crazy when I realized that I could grow some of my own food.  This had been a goal of mine for a very long time (growing food, not going crazy… that ship has sailed).  

I am fascinated by the entire process of planting a seed, taking care of it and watching it grow into something that will actually feed you.  

The very first time I had a banana pepper was on a pizza, my Freshman year in college.  A small group of us had descended on the pizza place next to campus.  We were there under the pretense of “studying” I’m sure.  There were pool tables, dart boards (which I became quite skillful at playing), air hockey tables; all the things one thinks of when looking for an appropriate place to “study”.

Anyhow, there we were and one of the guys went to order our pizza and when the waitress came to the table and set it down in front of us, I noticed that it had peppers on it.  Not wanting to draw any attention to myself, I dug right in but in my head was this little voice shouting “are you nuts?!”. 

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