The heat of the summer is fast approaching and the gardens are booming! From field to table is becoming a reality for many in our area and we encourage you to start or expand your garden soon too. We are working hard to organize and start more local gardens so we can share the harvest, knowledge and recipes.
For instance, yesterday I visited Lynda Mink at the Whinot Garden Meet-up gathering that she holds at her home garden, the “Whinot Garden?” once a month. I was amazed to see three giant green colored Beefsteak tomatoes sitting on the table. She had put them out to share with the garden guests. My eyes must have been huge with delight as I have been having quite a difficult time this year growing my tomatoes. Of course I have not tried to grow the Beefsteak yet, because from everything I have read, it says that they do not do so well down here in the Florida heat. I have been growing every other type of tomato from Cherry and Grape to Roma and Brandywine and even some Purple Cherokee. While I have harvested some very tasty ripe tomatoes, I do not have the abundance I thought I might get since I have dozens of tomato plants. Heat, tomato bottom rot and the bugs have been taking a good share of the crop. Lynda mentioned that she had pulled the giant tomatoes because she had been battling Tomato Hornworms…Yuck! She was planning to ripen the tomatoes inside until they were ready to eat.
A month or so ago I was visiting some local garden friends, Lemuel and Lorelle and they were frying up some of their not so ripe (should be red) green tomatoes. It was their solution to fighting the bugs. When the bugs would take a little nibble on an unripened tomato they would just pick the fruit, cut off the nibbled area and slice and fry the tomato. Thanks to their inspiration I have been following suite and enjoying Fried Green Tomatoes ever since…and I am not so disappointed when the bugs decide to share a little of the crop…it just gives me more reason to make a delicious meal.
Which brings me back to Lynda’s giant Beefsteaks, my mind was in heaven just thinking about how tasty those were going to be to eat today. I decided to share my latest Fried Green Tomato dish with you here, and take pictures of what I made for lunch.
Bree’s Fried Green Tomatoes
WITH CREAMY BASIL CHIPOTLE DRESSING
brown rice flour
1 cup mung bean sprouts (as a side dish)
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1 tablespoon local honey
2 tablespoons warm water
1 chipotle pepper
First prepare the dressing. To make the dressing, use a hand blender or food processor puree the sunflower seeds, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, honey and water until creamy. You may need to add a few more tablespoons of warm water to thin the dressing a bit. Once you have the consistency you like, add the basil and chipotle pepper to taste. You may need to adjust the seasonings (or flavors) to your liking – keep in mind all hot peppers have a unique hotness so don’t add to much start. Ii is better to not enough and just a little at a time until it tastes just right. Now set the dressing aside.
I use a cast iron flying pan, but you can use any type you normally do. Although I warn against the use of non-stick pans as the Teflon used to make these are very toxic…so I suggest you just throw them out now (no joke people). Add enough coconut oil to cover the bottom of the pan and place on a burner that is turned on somewhere in between medium and high heat. Every stove type and pan will make a difference to the proper cooking temperature, so do your best to find the right cooking temperature for your tools and cooking style.
While the pan is heating get out a large cutting board and slice the green tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Now sprinkle enough brown rice flour over them to completely cover the tops of the slices. Then sprinkle some curry powder on top of the floured slices. Pat the curry and flour onto the tomatoes so they are covered evenly. When the oil in the pan pops when you sprinkle water into it, it’s time to add the tomato slices into the heated pan, floured side down.
Now sprinkle the flour and curry powered to the bare tops of the frying tomatoes. Let fry for a few minutes and when the bottoms have browned evenly flip and fly other side. This is usually when I throw a handful or two of freshly sprouted mung beans into the side of the pan to lightly cook with the tomatoes.
When the slices are browned evenly on both sides and the sprouts are done, I serve on a plate and add the creamy dressing on top or on the side.
This recipe is out of this world! And for those of you who have self imposed or medical eating restrictions, this is a vegan and gluten free recipe ENJOY!