Because I live in one of the hottest states in the United States, and by “hot” I mean the moment you step outside, the crease in the back of your knees sweat as fast as spinach in a fry pan. In the summer, I curse the humidity, especially when my friends back in San Francisco brag about having lunch alfresco on happy-sunshiney-afternoons. But then along comes December, and guess what. I am still growing tomatoes, gardening in shorts and a tank top in almost 80F degree weather. Love it.
Na na na na boo boo!
In October, I bought a few Earthboxes - and began growing 3 tomato plants, lettuce, herbs, cauliflower, peppers and broccoli. The tomatoes took off like like a dog in heat and within weeks grew to 3 ft tall with a gazillion flowers. That’s the beauty of the Earthboxes…low maintenance…high productivity. Kinda like me, right Scott?!
Anyways, they grew so friggin’ fast that one day I came home to find all 3 tomato plants toppled over because the wire trellis couldn’t support the plants’ weight. One plant broke and therefore the 2 months of tomatoes which i had lovingly massaged, sang to and kissed, were left dangling helplessly on the stem. The other plants were ok, so today Scott built a massive wooden trellis system, about the size of a small bathroom just for them to “grow into.” I really should take a photo for you (next time).
18 small green tomatoes…perfect for Elise’s Fried Green Tomato recipe paired with my Sweet Chili Dressing and home-grown greens. These green babies are goin’ out in style.
I have another Earthbox just dedicated to different kinds of salad greens – our little family can’t keep up with all the lettuce we are producing. I’ve become a lettuce-pusher….presenting bags of lettuce and herbs to my friends every time I visit. This Fried Green Tomato Salad with Sweet Chili Dressing was so satisfying that I have a feeling that many of the remaining tomatoes will be plucked before ripening. Panko breadcrumbs were a perfect breading – so incredibly light yet packs a massive crunch when fried…..continued….
pssst….I forgot to drizzle with the Sweet Chili Dressing before taking the photo.
Fried Green Tomato Salad with Sweet Chili Dressing
adapted from Elise who adapted it from Better Homes & Garden New Cook Book. For my GF friends, substitute flour and breadcrumbs. The sweet chili sauce below in the dressing recipe is GF.
Ingredients:3 medium, firm green tomatoes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
2 beaten eggs
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
large pinch of chili powder
1. Slice unpeeled tomatoes into 1/2" slices. Season both sides with salt, pepper and chili powder and let sit. In meantime, make salad dressing (recipe below) and prep the following in separate bowls in this order: milk, flour, egg, panko.
2. Heat a large skillet with olive oil on medium-high heat. Dip tomato slices in milk, then flour, then eggs, then panko. In skillet, fry slices 3-5 minutes each side until golden brown.
Sweet Chili Dressing
1 tbl bottled sweet chili sauce (I use Mae Ploy brand)
1 tbl tomato ketchup
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbl sugar
1 tbl water
1 tbl lime juice
1 tsp minced cilantro leaves
Combine ingredients and mix well.
The Sweet Chili Dressing recipe is adapted from Asian Tapas cookbook. I've been playing with the recipes in this gorgeous book - every recipe has a photo!
Menu for Hope
This is my first year participating in Menu For Hope, and rather than me and my chinglish fumble a description, here is the program, from the words of the founder herself, Chez Pim:
“Menu for Hope is an annual fundraising event in support of the UN World Food Programme. Five years ago, the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia inspired me to find a way to help, and the very first Menu for Hope was born. In 2006, Menu for Hope raised US$60,925.12 to help the UN World Food Programme feed the hungry.
Each year, food bloggers from all over the world join forces to host the Menu for Hope online raffle, offering an array of delectable culinary prizes. For every US$10, the donor receive a virtual raffle ticket toward a prize of their choice. This year, the prizes include once in a lifetime experiences such as touring the elBulli laboratory with Ferran Adrià, dining on a historic British meal prepared by Heston Blumenthal, or joining Harold McGee on a lunch date to satisfy a lifetime’s worth of cooking curiosity. You can also tag along with your favorite blogger on a tour of their favorite markets, restaurants, or even receive a care package fashioned especially for you from your favorite bloggers themselves. All you need is $10 and a bit of luck.
We may never eradicate hunger from the face of the earth, but why should that stop us from trying?”
My donation is 1 ounce of saffron threads from Saffron.com. This, my friends, is an entire ounce – more than you can ever use! The prize code is UE-05.