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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fried Green Tomatoes

Alas, tomato season has come and gone once again.  A sure sign that summer has passed. 

But no need to despair just yet!  There's still a great way to enjoy those tomatoes on the vine that never got to ripen.  Don't throw out the green tomatoes--make the classic Southern dish, fried green tomatoes.

Perhaps you've had them before--or even tried to make them.  When made right, they're so tasty--tangy and crispy.  But when not made right, they can be mushy with the coating either soggy or falling off.

As usual, Cook's Country magazine has a recipe that allows you to make fried green tomatoes the way they should be made.  They come out so crispy, they're hard to resist.  In fact, I ate a bunch of them as I was frying up the rest of the batch.  Really addictive.
Give them a try and make use of those stragglers in your tomato patch.

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES (from Cook's Country)
Serves 4

1 1/2 lb green tomatoes (about 4-5), cored and sliced 1/4" thick
2/3 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 cups peanut or vegetable oil
  1. Place tomatoes on paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet.  Cover with more paper towels, let sit for 20 min and pat dry.  Meanwhile, process 1/3 cup cornmeal in a blender or food processor until very finely ground, about 1 min.  Combine processed cornmeal, remaining 1/3 cup cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper and cayenne in a shallow dish.  Whisk buttermilk and egg together in a a second shallow dish.
  2. Working one at a time, dip tomato slices in buttermilk mixture, then dredge in cornmeal mixture, pressing firmly to adhere; transfer to clean baking sheet.
  3. Heat oil in 12" skillet over medium-high heat until 350 degrees.  Fry 4-5 slices until golden brown, 2-3 min per side.  Drain on wire rack set in baking sheet.  Bring oil back to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining slices.  Serve.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Unused Kitchen Gadgets

We've all been there. 

And you can't use your oven because...?

You're in a kitchen store or at a yard sale or surfing the web.  And there it is!  What a great idea!  It's on sale, too!  Yeah, that will save so much time.  It'll make my life so much easier.

Not sure what I'm talking about?  Check the back of your kitchen cabinets or in the basement.  You'll find that rotisserie or battery-operated pepper mill or sandwich press. 

They're the kinds of things that are given as gifts or just strike you as you're shopping.  At the moment, it seems like a great idea.  But really, do you really need one of those rubber garlic peelers? 

Some of these gadgets just seem useless.  A gadget specifically made to pull a pickle out of a jar.  Or an asparagus peeler. 

Some of them may be legitimate, but using them every 3-4 years doesn't really warrant buying them.  I mean, a pizza oven might be good if you're making a lot of pizzas, but can't you just use your regular oven?

Every now and then, you'll find a gadget that actually works.  My mom bought me one of those pineapple corer/peelers.  And it works!  (If you have a pineapple that isn't too big.)  But most often, these things just take up space and empty your wallet.

Asparagus peeler.  Hmm...
Alton Brown's mantra is not to buy anything that isn't a multi-tasker.  If it's used for just one thing, it's not worth buying.  He's probably right.

So what are some of these unused gadgets that are taking space in your kitchen?  Let me know.  I'm sure my readers would love to hear what you have.  Maybe you can sell something!

To read about professional foodies who are in the same boat, check out this article from the New York Times.