Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Face it girls, I'm older and I have more insurance.

So I'm definitely not a food blogger, mostly because I don't have enough patience to take beautiful pictures of the results, much less prep steps.  If I was trying to do that I would forget half the ingredients.  Ask my mom about the time I accidentally made chocolate chip biscuits for a school party instead of cookies (I somehow mixed up the baking soda {or powder, who knows} and the sugar measurement).  But I do enjoy cooking, trying new things and making new favorites, so when I find something really delish I'll try to share it.

Two sides we have really enjoyed this summer are zucchini boats and fried green tomatoes (hence the title quote from namesake movie.)  The zucchini boats I found off the website Proud Italian Cook.  I'm not going to take her picture 'cause I don't know all the picture posting etiquette yet and I don't have pics of the ones I've made, but trust me, these are yummy.
Zucchini Boats:
  • Cut your zucchinis or squashes in half lengthwise.
  • Scoop out the middle seed part with a melon baller (I think you are supposed to chop up the middles and put them back in, but I steam the little squash balls for my Squish to eat.  She can't get enough of them) or a spoon would work too.
  • Brush with mixture of crushed garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. (Uh, I supposed you want measurements, but I don't have them, just go with it).
  • Arrange halved grape tomatoes in the groove, sprinkle with breadcrumbs (I always use panko), place in baking dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or so.  
  • Remove and place a delicious cheese (the recipe recommends fontina or mozz) in between the tomatoes.
  • Put back in the oven and broil 'til bubbly.  
  • The recipe says to drizzle with more olive oil and parm when you take it out, but I never do.
  • My delicious alterations - I put diced mushrooms in the zucchini bed before I put the tomatoes in or some caramelized onions.  So good!
Last night I made the best fried green tomatoes I have ever eaten.   And I have even been to southern-style restaurants in Charleston, SC before.  I have three super-secret Sara tricks, most of which I did not come up with, but I will take credit for them.  Wait, I even have crappy cell phone pics of these!
Recipe basics taken from Allrecipes before I added my Saratrix.  This is good for four good-sized tomatoes.
  • Slice green tomatoes 1/2 inch thick, discard the ends.
  • Lay tomato slices on plate and sprinkle lightly with salt to dry them out a bit.
  • Set up coating stations. Station 1) Recipe calls for plate of flour (1 cup) but here is my first Saratrix.  I use dry pancake mix* instead of flour.  Coats so well and fries up crispy.  Station 2) 2 eggs and 1/2c of milk whisked together.  Station 3) Recipe calls for 1/2 cup of cornmeal and 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs but Saratrix #2 is to use 1 cup of panko** instead (I'm going to have to trademark Saratrix aren't I?) (I put panko in everything, love it!), plus 2 teaspoons of coarse sea salt and 1/4 tsp of black pepper.
  • Coat tomato slices in pancake mix, then dip in egg/milk mixture, then dredge through panko.  Bonus Saratrix - Do all of the slices in pancake mix first, then one by one through egg then panko.  That way your fingers don't get all munked up.  Well, not as much.
  • Pour 1/2 inch or so vegetable oil in pan (canola is probably ok.  Ahh, who am I kidding, I don't know anything about oils.  Use whatever you want).  Heat over medium heat.  Place tomatoes in pan in batches depending on size of pan.  Don't crowd them, they shouldn't touch!  When tomatoes are brown flip to other side (I use tongs to flip).  Last night it was about four minutes per side.  When both sides are brown drain on paper towel.
  • Saratrix #3, serve with a dollop of orange marmalade***.  So stinkin' good!
Ok, if you make any of these let me know what you did.  All of my cooking is definitely a work in progress, so tips are appreciated!

*Thanks to husband's co-worker for this tip!
** Thanks to South Carolinian transplant friend for panko tip!
***Came up with this one on my own!

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