Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

It's not easy

eating green....

Truth be told, I am the one who loves fried green tomatoes.

The only one.

In one of many compromises made in a good marriage, my husband tolerates my occasional foray into fried green tomato bliss in return for my bending a "rather not" of my own.

This might live out something like me letting him watch NFL games while we eat without triggering either my personalized form of sarcastic color commentary or the threat of some Random Belated Spousal Reprisal.

Compromise makes the world go round, but in the best case scenario, you find a way to prepare your craved ingredient resulting in a dish everybody at the table enjoys.

Husband? Meet Green Tomato Hash. Hash? Meet my husband.

I was truly happy to find this easy and delicious way to prepare some of the rest of our bumper crop of green tomatoes. As it turns out, although my husband is not a fan of fried green tomatoes, if I am going to put those same green tomatoes into hash? Now he's a convert.

As is allowable in my cooking universe when trying such a basic recipe, I tweaked this one slightly. This is an impudence I'd never attempt with more complicated or less familiar cuisines and flavors. But with Hash? I'm a somewhat practiced hand so I made this recipe my own. What I am giving you here is my version. (cue Frank Sinatra and "My Way")

Easy Baked Green Tomato Hash
2 cups cooked meat, diced
2 cups diced raw potato
2 tablespoons COLD butter
1/2 cup diced green tomatoes
1/4 cup diced onion
salt and pepper to taste, cooking oil spray for the pan

Combine diced ingredients in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and fold in to the combined ingredients. Season to taste. Turn into an oiled casserole and bake uncovered at 325 degrees for an hour, checking halfway and stirring well to coat hash with juices forming in the bottom of the pan.

Stir again before serving to re-distribute pan juices. Supposedly 4 servings (only 3 at our house).

I served this in bowls sided with a hearty country style bread. It pairs splendidly with a seasonal pumpkin beer. I used red potatoes - skin on, and I am now thinking how amazing this would taste and how much more colorful the dish would be with a combination of winter root vegetables. I had ham and smoked chicken on hand - about half and half in the proportions called for - and the smokiness of the meats translated very well into hash. This would work equally well with leftover brisket or pot roast.

I am a Lawry's Seasoned Salt fan in some cases. I used it here to add complexity in light of the sparse ingredient list. I used only a sprinkle so as to accent, not overwhelm the ingredients. In this dish, everything shines in cooperative effort. It is simply delicious.

With limited access to green tomatoes, in future I'll give this recipe a run with one of those rock hard grocery store tomatoes that only looks ripe. I think it would be interesting to pair one of those tomato wannabes with turnips and sweet potatoes for a little switch up. Keep an eye to see if that proves to be a "too many changes spoils the hash" situation.

In cooking as in life, "Anything that does not kill me only makes me stronger" is both my motto and the rationale for keeping plenty of Pepto and Tums on hand in the kitchen.

Tonight I have another green tomato trick up my sleeve. A recipe for Baked Green Tomato, a sweet rather than savory style. A reader's comment on the website stated this had become her new favorite, trumping the fried version hands down.

I'm skeptical anything can top a good fried green but willing to try (see my motto, above). Hall of Fame or Hall of Shame, either way, I'll let you know what I end up with.

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