Thursday, September 4, 2014
Vegan Mofo Day 4 — Ladies & Tomatoes
In keeping with my Mofo Pantry Raid theme, tonight I'm sharing a meal idea and a recipe made with things you probably have in your pantry. I know I had all this stuff in mine! But I'm a food hoarder, so ...
The only thing I had to buy for these two dishes was fresh produce, most of it from the Memphis Farmers Market. Market season is almost over for the big downtown market, and even though we have a year-round market in Cooper-Young, the selection of fresh produce over the cold months is just sad. Winter blows. I really ought to live in some tropical place, where the temp never dips below 80. But I digress.
Last weekend, I picked up some fresh lady peas from the market. If you're not familiar, lady peas are kind of like black-eyed peas, but they're tiny and tender and oh-so-delicate, just like a proper lady. I mean, not like me, but I'm no proper lady. More like a white-gloved Victorian lady who gets the vapors and hosts fancy dinner parties with name place-cards. Anyway, they're melt-in-your-mouth soft, and the flavor sings of summer. I made these Lady Peas with Pearled Barley.
I combined my peas with carrots, shallots, onion, garlic, pearled barley, fresh basil and oregano, and veggie broth (all ingredients already lurking in my pantry, herb garden, and veggie drawer). It was so good that I've decided to use the recipe in my next cookbook project.
But I will share this next recipe. On the side, I wanted something summery and fried, so I picked up some green tomatoes. Tomato season is almost over, and I want to consume as many red and green ones as I can before we enter the dreaded season of the lackluster winter tomato. I sliced the tomatoes into thin French fry shapes and made Fried Green Tomato Fries!
These were so good! I used the same recipe I use for my fried green tomato slices, but somehow, they're better in fry shapes. Maybe it's because they're more dippable, and everything tastes better when dipped in ketchup. By the way, the following recipe is a tweaked version of the one you'll find in Cookin' Crunk.
Fried Green Tomato Fries
2 large green tomatoes, sliced into French fry shapes
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup canola oil, plus more if needed
Cut the tomatoes into thick slices. Sprinkle each slice with salt.
Put the cornstarch in a wide, shallow bowl. Pour the almond milk in another wide, shallow bowl. Put the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and pepper in a third shallow bowl and mix well.
Line a plate with several layers of paper towels.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. The oil should generously coat the bottom of the skillet; if it doesn’t, add more oil as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time. Sprinkle a pinch of flour over the oil to test for hotness. If the oil sizzles, it’s ready.
Dip a slice of tomato in the cornstarch, coating both sides, then dip it in the almond milk. Dredge it in the cornmeal mixture, coating both sides evenly. Carefully lower it into the skillet. Repeat until the skillet is full but not overcrowded; the slices shouldn’t touch or overlap. You may have to cook the tomatoes in two batches.
Fry the tomatoes until brown on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes. Using metal tongs, flip and fry until the other side is brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the lined plate to drain.