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.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

A swing...

and a miss.

I prepared the Baked Green Tomato recipe last night for dinner.

We ate take out Thursday night in one of those fairly common - "it is late and we are starved and nobody wants to cook" - type moments. Fortunately for me my husband is a good sport and a willing driver and he fetched us to-go dinner Thursday while I showered off the accumulations of a day spent working off and on in the yard in the heat. Some days the best solution to a meal at day's end is to stay OUT of the kitchen.

So last night we enjoyed our delicious Thursday menu as Friday dinner. Grilled beef tenderloin, the baked green tomatoes, a pestoed chevre on crostini and a spinach salad with honey mustard vinaigrette. We ate every bite, don't get me wrong, but the green tomatoes were just not quite "there" for either of us.

Not sweet enough to qualify for dessert and the savory notes not enough to really balance the sugar, the dish is one I won't repeat. At least without major overhaul. I do wonder how it would fly as a savory offering- no brown sugar involved this time - just the tomatoes, crumbs, butter and maybe some chopped fresh herbs? Hmmmm. I think that is really only regulation baked tomatoes using green instead of ripe red. I'm not sure that's worth the substitution.

I included the photos because it was a most appealing looking final product and I'm putting the recipe here just in case some one of you out there wants to give it a try. It was simple, easy, fast. If you do fix these, be sure to let me know what you think. Baked Green Tomatoes

4 large firm green tomatoes
salt and pepper
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup coarse buttery cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons butter

Cut tomatoes in 1/2 inch slices; arrange in a greased baking dish.

Season tomatoes with salt and pepper. Spread each with about 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar.

Cover tomato slices with crumbs and dot with butter.

Bake at 350 degrees until tomatoes are tender but still firm, about 25 to 35 minutes. Serves 6

I am finally out of green tomatoes in sufficient quantity to prepare for a meal. I will try the last two teensy tomatoes chopped up some way as....don't know...I'll get back to you on that one.

I have an inkling now of what it is like to eat seasonally and locally. It requires finding a series of treatments and preparations to include whatever is ripe and available within the time span it will stay in the "ingredient" and not move over into the "compost" category. That is more challenging than I'd imagined.

I am mulling over the idea of joining a food co-op. This would offer me a way to at least get further along the path of eating locally and seasonally. I don't think I'll manage a total conversion at any speed, but I am willing to try and support local growers more. And I like the idea of knowing more about where my food came from and how it was grown.

Short more aggressive gardening on our part - and we do have sun access issues on our property due to a lovely surround of huge live oaks - I think getting a box of locally grown seasonal fruit and vegetables each month might be just the ticket.

My other "mull" is to try some hydroponic micro-greens on a personal scale. That will take more research, but I'll keep you posted.

Final score for Adventures in Green Tomato Eating? Two out of three of the dishes were WOW for at least one person in this house. One of the two WOWs was mutual, which is a shoo-in for a re-run. The other WOW was mine which also means, shoo-in for a re-run.

Anything I like as much as I like fried green tomatoes, I will cook again at least once a year because that is the prerogative of being the primary household cook. Other than the increasingly rare attempt to try to eat something I am either "supposed" to like or is "good for me", I cook what I like to eat. Don't you?

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