Friday, September 12, 2008

fried green tomatoes

Mmmmmmm. Green tomatoes, a few jalapenos, some yellow pear know, garden stuff. Its getting chilly in the mornings and I still have a lot of tomatoes on the vines. I figured before I pulled them out to ripen in a safer location I would try and give myself and my family a fried food heart attack. The older kids are away at leadership camp this week and I was only cooking for four. Ethan and I always get a little bummed out when the house is so quiet so comfort food seemed in order. I made a wonderful jalapeno, brown basmati, meatloaf that I am still waffling about sharing the recipe...(I have about 6 meatloaf recipes. One more amazing than the next and I am not certain you are deserving of them... Yet) Okay, actually I was planning on doing a meatloaf series so keep your pants on. Anyhoo...where was I ??? OH YEAH! Fried green tomatoes. I sliced my tomatoes nice and thick, covered them with salt, pepper, and cajun spice blend. I let these sit for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime I heated, in a cast iron skillet, about 1/2 cup oil on medium high heat.
I used vegetable. (I wanted to use bacon grease but I am not fully committed to the heart attack idea yet) I made up a little dredging station of 1. Flour with salt, pepper, and cayenne 2.Milk 3.Bread crumbs. I dredged and dropped into the heated oil for about 2 minutes per side. Flip
these very, very carefully with tongs. Unless of course you have asbestos hands. Which I bet you don't.

These were delightfully spicy. The kick so much better than the mostly bland fried green tomatoes I have tasted in the past. This is one of those recipes though, where it really comes down to what your family enjoys. You can skip the spice... you can even skip the bread crumbs. You can substitute panko, you can use actual bacon fat! Its up to you. Its a wonderful occasional treat though...and I highly recommend it as an end of season tradition.



Wednesday, September 10, 2008

spaghetti with roasted cherry tomatoes and thyme from the herbfarm cookbook

(the following recipe by jerry traunfeld)

Its been awhile since I've been excited to try out someones recipe to the letter. (I guess technically I made some minor adjustments to this one...though I still think they really would not have mattered). Help me out here. I am going to give you the exact recipe that I followed. Perhaps someone can try it out and we can compare notes. Don't get me wrong. This wasn't a truly bad experience. It just wasn't what I had anticipated from such a renowned restaurant.
(my family reluctantly nom'ed. really reluctantly.)
Here goes:

6 quarts water
1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pint small cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons very coarsely chopped fresh English thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces dried spaghetti
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Fill a large ( 8-quart) pot with the water, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the salt, and bring it to a boil over high heat. Using a very sharp thin knife, cut each tomato in half and put them on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil then sprinkle with the thyme, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of the black pepper. Using your fingers, gently toss the tomatoes to coat them evenly.

yum, right?

2. Spaghetti. When the water is at a rolling boil, stir in the spaghetti. Put the tomatoes in the oven and roast until the are sizzling, slightly shriveled, and have released some juice in the pan, about 6 minutes. Rinse a large mixing bowl with hot tap water to warm it, then empty the roasted tomatoes into it. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Cook the spaghetti until tender but still firm, 7 to 9minutes. Drain and add the pasta to the mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the parsley and toss gently with tongs or two wooden spoons. Serve in warm shallow bowls or plates and pass the cheese at the table.

Alright. I did all of that. As you can see I used yellow pear and red cherry tomatoes.
I used fresh thyme and flat-leaf parley from the garden... and yet.
I will make this again. I will add red pepper flakes to the roasting tomatoes and I will use less parsley and it will be more finely chopped. Try this one out for me would you please?
Lets compare do-overs as well.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

mexican rice that was so good i forgot to take a picture.

This recipe is technically a two-parter because I made the rice to go into something, but first things first. I am going to give it to you the way I made it because its my blog...though I am going to remind you that your probably not feeding as many boys, men and Isabella's as I am and you will probably want to halve this. I chopped 1 whole onion and sauteed it in 3 tablespoons olive oil. When the onion was transparent I added 1.5 tablespoons ( give or take) of cumin that I had ground in the mortar and pestle, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cayenne, and some black pepper. I added 2 cups of jasmine rice and browned it. Here you can add chicken stock or vegetable stock. I chose vegetable stock for Isabelle's sake. ( Isabelle whom we have taken to calling "PORK") 4 cups of the stock of your choosing and 1.5 cups of good quality tomato sauce. Bring all this to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Check it occasionally...stir it up...taste it...praise it. Now. On to the second part.
I made burritos.

And they looked like this.

And they made people do this.

I steamed some tortillas in the ole microwave. Warmed up some vegetarian fat-free refried beans. ( I know this sounds like some Sandra Lee shit but its a weeknight dinner...make your own damn refried beans if you want to...I got mine from a can) I put some beans, some rice and some of our favorite house hot sauce inside, folded them up, and two by two after spraying a large cast iron skillet with olive oil cooking spray, grilled them for a minute on each side. I topped
with sliced tomato and avocado.
They ate it.

They mean mugged it.
(that is what that looks like right?)
This is yummy and easy to make for anywhere from 1-8 people. (I'm guessing anything over 8 gets complicated no matter what.)
I once made it for just Ash and myself using refried black-beans and some of that tomatillo salsa.
You should use whole wheat tortillas. For a family this size with today's grocery prices, that's not always an option. You could use whole beans and brown rice as well. Have at it.

p.s. the next blog will not have anything to do with my longing for a permanent taco tuesday, i swear!

tomatillo salsa

I needed a cheese and cream free topping for black bean soup. Don't get me wrong, I adore both cheese and cream...they just don't always mesh with the eating light, heart healthy, low calorie diet we've adopted. I found some tomatillos I had picked up at the farmers market along with a few cherry tomatoes and a jalapeno from the garden. Combining all that with a portion of the giant Walla Walla onion Ash brought me, and I was in business. I diced my onion and tomatillo. I rough chopped some cilantro and halved my cherry tomatoes. I removed some of the seeds from my jalapeno and chopped it fine. I squeezed some lemon juice. I dashed with salt and pepper. I bashed it all up and down on the counter in my Magic Fucking Bullet. I tasted. It was fantastically great. I served alongside some avocado on top of my soup. Which I will blog when I get to the soup portion of this season. This really topped everything off perfectly if I do say so myself.

And it was pretty.

The tomatillos really add and apple like sweetness and crunch to an otherwise traditional pico de gallo.
Try it please.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

so what, i lied about the harissa...

Turns out the stuff is genius.
It really was worth the time to make. I roasted up some tomatoes and made a quick pasta sauce using
a little of this and a little of that( actual recipe to follow) and a dash of harissa...PERFECTION. Mix harissa with a little mayo, put it on a turkey sammich...PERFECTION. Add it to a black bean soup...PERFECTION.
I love this stuff. Make some.
I have been cooking. I'll post soon. I have a couple early fall friendly recipes I think you'll want me to make for you.