Saturday, August 30, 2008

Chunky Salsa

As I've mentioned before, I'm not so much a fan of the spicy food. This presents a bit of a problem in the appetizer arena as chips and salsa are about as basic as you get. I have experimented with trying to find a suitable salsa that doesn't need a jalapeno pepper or any such thing. The basic problem I think, is that when you take out the spicy, there isn't a whole lot left in the flavor department. But then I came upon this cookbook called Stonewall Kitchen Favorites. (That picture on the cover btw is a lobster blt. No, I haven't made it yet and yes, I really really want to.) Inside this book of tastiness, I came upon a recipe for a fresh tomato salsa, complete with a jalapeno. However, with a little tinkering, you get the following recipe. Lots of flavor with out any nasty mouth-searing.

6 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
5 scallions, chopped, including both white and green parts
1/3 c cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime (approx 2 tbsp)
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and serve. Don't chop the vegetables too finely, leave them chunky (thus the name). This salsa goes really well with Tostitos Scoops, they pick up the veggie chunks and the juice they sit in perfectly. And they're not even paying me to say that (though if they wanted too...).

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fried Green Tomatoes

Now that we are well into August, it's officially jersey tomato, yay.  (If you're unlucky enough to not have experienced the awesomeness that is jersey corn and tomatoes, I'm truly sorry, you're really missing out.)  But to make it even better, as I walked into a gardening store of all places, there was a huge tomato display that included a whole crate of green tomatoes.  Upon seeing them I knew I had to make Fried Green Tomatoes.  I mean, how could I pass that up, they were perfect.  Bright green and hard as a rock, just right.

I was first inspired to make FGT after (of course) the movie of the same name.  My love of Mary-Louise Parker was truly cemented with that movie (only to grow with her current Weeds endeavor, but I digress).  But as one can imagine, finding green tomatoes...I mean really green ones, not just a bit pretty difficult unless you live on a tomato farm.  My first attempt was a few years ago.  I found some mostly green tomatoes and decided to give it a shot.  They were ok, but not great.  The tomatoes were too ripe, giving the finished product a slightly too sweet taste.  Not to mention they were all mushy and didn't hold their shape at all.  But my second attempt was much more successful.

I scoured the interwebs for a perfect recipe (which I couldn't find).  Below is my composite of like 10 or 12...and it worked out perfectly.  Crunchy corn meal-y crust with a tart center...pretty f-in awesome if I do say so myself.

4-5 green tomatoes
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c half & half
1 c cornmeal
1 c flour
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 c olive oil

slice the tomatoes into rounds, approx 1/2 inch thick
combine eggs and half & half
combine 1/2 c flour with cornmeal, garlic powder, salt and pepper
dredge tomatoes in remaining flour, dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal
fry over medium high heat, the oil should come 1/2 inch up side of pan (preferably a cast iron frying pan)
3-4 minutes per side until brown and crispy