I visited my pea-patch in the community garden yesterday, and found some rather disappointing results. It’s my fault, I hadn’t visited in a while, and I have been neglecting the need for soil amendments, but I did have a few things to harvest. The problem was—with what was available to me, what could I possibly do?
Here’s my harvest.
So what to do?
Perhaps it was the stress of this underwhelming produce yield, but I felt compelled to mull this matter over some fried food and a beer, pub-style.
And then it hit me, I had exactly what I wanted right in my farm basket… for a perfect plate of pub food.
I sliced the woody cucumber up, and dropped it in a big bowl of iced saltwater to take the bitterness out. (It did nothing for the woody skin, but it wasn’t too bad, and I could have cut it off).
And then I whipped up a cornmeal-based batter for the green tomatoes.
If you’ve never had fried green tomatoes, you’re missing out. Typically, we think of these as a southern dish—typically creole, but food historians say it likely came with Jewish immigrants in the north and Midwest, then Pennsylvania Dutch also make a version. A classic southern-style recipe is here, but I prefer to use bacon grease for this versus vegetable oil, the way my grandmother did.
The combination of the firmness and tartness of an unripe tomato plus the crusty crunchy friend crust is fantastic. The classic southern accompaniment is shrimp remoulade but I served mine with a salsa of hot sauce, peaches and ripe tomatoes.
Once my tomatoes were done, I had a little batter left, and the problem of a few green beans. So I battered them next. A favorite neighborhood pub used to serve deep-fried green beans, and I think they’re on the TGI Friday’s menu too.
I’ll steam the zucchini with some sweet onions tomorrow. The cucumbers came out fine in their saltwater bath with good texture and flavor.
Yes, we ate a bunch of fried food, but it’s a rare occasion around here, and there is a satisfaction to growing your own food.
PS: Next week, I’d like to do a post on menu and meal planning. Let’s compare menus and meal planning techniques. Do you keep a list? Do you compare weekly or monthly? Before or after shopping? If you have a chance, post a picture of your master meal plan on our Facebook wall or email it to email@example.com. (If you belong to the “winging it” camp of meal planning–I’d love to know that too, and a strategy for keeping costs under control).
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