Green tomatoes


(078:  Green tomatoes.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

I was at Hilgert’s Farm Market buying some fresh veggies when one of the women who works in the market asked if there was anyone who knew how to make fried green tomatoes.  I told her I did and she directed me towards another customer, a young woman, who was asking how to make them.

I know there are various ways of making fried green tomatoes, from the very simple to the gourmet.  There seem to be regional differences as well.  Some are made with breadcrumbs, some are made with cornmeal, and the southern variety are usually fried with some bacon grease to give them the extra flavor.  Some folks, before dredging the slices, dip their tomatoes in beaten egg, some in buttermilk, and some dredge them “dry.”

I gave the young woman my mother’s recipe which is one of the simplest ways I know how to make fried green tomatoes.  It’s also my favorite.  I don’t make them often because they can be a mess to make due to all that hot oil spattering around.

Mom’s fried tomatoes were not always fried green tomatoes.  She frequently made them with not-quite-ripe red tomatoes.  From my own experience I’ve found those work better with Mom’s recipe since a little juice on the tomato slices helps the coating to stick.  The tomatoes are sliced about a quarter inch thick, coated in flour, salt and pepper, and then fried in about a 1/4 inch of  hot oil in a skillet until they are golden brown (or as brown as you like them).  Flipping the slices in the hot oil is the messy part (for me).  Once they’re browned, the fried tomatoes are placed on a paper towel to sop up some of the oil then served hot/warm with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Simple, delicious, and they always remind me of summer and the wonderful flavor of fresh tomatoes (especially Jersey tomatoes!).

If you’re interested in the history of fried green tomatoes, I found this blog post to be helpful.

Today’s view of the pond

(The 3:00pm view)

Did I mention that gardening is hard work?

Yes, I think I did, somewhere in my last post.

The problem, of course, is that I neglected the garden for about two weeks. We were gone for five days. It was hot when we returned. Then it rained. I had all sorts of excuses. And good ones too, so I thought.

The weeds practically took over the garden. The good news is that they mostly grew between the rows of vegetables and not in with the vegetables themselves. I work on keeping the weeds away from the veggies every time I go out to the garden, then attack the stuff growing prolifically between and around the rows. A garden hoe would be an excellent tool for this purpose. However, I’ve found that my lower back does not respond well to the stance and movements necessary to do a good job with the hoe.

Instead, I’ve been using a cultivator, that little hand-held tool with three prongs. I squat or get down on my hands and knees, and cultivate like crazy. My back is happy, my arms and legs get a good workout, but it’s taking a very long time to make any sort of progress.

I’m going to have to suck it up and ask M to hoe between the rows for me. It will probably take him all of ten minutes to have it all finished. Then I can do what I should have done earlier in the growing season: mulch. That will help keep down the weeds. It will also make the veggies happy, especially if we hit a dry spell.

The weather is unseasonably cool today. I’m enjoying it. I had originally intended to work in the garden for the usual 30-45 minutes, but ended up out there for over two hours. It’s amazing how fast time flies while I’m weeding.

I brought in some lettuces and a few radishes to put in a salad for tonight’s dinner. Yummy. M and I also took a ride up to Hilgert’s (the farm up the road from us) to pick up some strawberries. They had some spinach, green onions, and a few other local goodies in the market.

I ought to stop being so lazy and go out to the strawberry fields to do some picking. They’re much cheaper if you pick your own. Today would have been a good day for it. It’s cool, cloudy, and breezy. Those three conditions do a good job of keeping the bugs away.

M the Younger is still searching for a job in Colorado. If you know of anyone looking for a guy with a degree in Geology in Colorado, give me a holler. A few leads would be nice.

The wedding date has been set for June 13, 2009. M the Younger and his fiancee have found a church. They’ve been looking for a place to have the reception. As far as I know, they haven’t decided on that yet. Then there’s the cake, the food, the DJ, etc., etc.

I think I’m lucky I had sons instead of daughters. 🙂