“Fried” Green Tomatoes

"Fried" Green Tomatoes

I have a confession to make…

Are you ready?

I grew up in Tennessee, but I never had a Fried Green Tomato until I moved to Maryland. There’s a lot of those quintessential southern foods that I somehow missed growing up. This is probably because my mom didn’t fry a lot of things.

Shortly after we moved to Maryland I was over on the Eastern Shore, because for those of you who don’t know I’m a water person. Big time water person! Anytime I have the opportunity to be near the Chesapeake Bay, or more importantly the ocean, then by golly that’s where you’ll find me! It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, but when we lived over next to the Bay, you’d often find me hopping across the bridge. I can’t even remember who was with me on this little jaunt, but I remember we stopped at this little seafood place, right on the water, and they had fried green tomatoes on their menu so I thought I’d give them a whirl!

To be completely honest I wasn’t really impressed with that first bite. They were made more like a deep fried/battered concoction and I thought they were heavy and tasteless. But that first bite made me start thinking…What if you seasoned the green tomatoes really well and then cooked them similarly to how I cook okra? You’d have a “fried” tomato, but it wouldn’t be as heavy and tasteless. And you know what? It worked!

These tomatoes are really fabulous! They make the perfect side dish. I actually like green tomato cut up and in salads, but this is a great way to use up some of those green tomatoes toward the end of the season, when the days aren’t quite long enough to make them ripen, if you’re not quite sure about just eating them as is.

What You’ll Need:
Sliced green tomatoes
Sea salt and pepper for sprinkling
1 cup of stone ground yellow corn meal
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of finely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of dry Ranch dressing mix
Extra virgin olive oil

First you want to slice your tomatoes to about the same thickness:

"Fried" Green Tomatoes: Mostly Green Tomatoes

As you can see this one was starting to turn red inside, but that’s ok.

Once you have all your tomatoes sliced lay them out and sprinkle them with sea salt and black pepper:

"Fried" Green Tomatoes: Salt and Pepper

Once they are seasoned on both sides set aside.

Place a large skillet on medium heat and place a think layer of olive oil in the pan to heat while you do the next step. A tablespoon of oil should be more than enough. You may need to add more as you “fry”, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Mix together corn meal, sea salt, black pepper and Ranch dressing mix until completely incorporated and place mixture on a plate or flat dish. Next place one tomato on the mixture to coat:

"Fried" Green Tomatoes: Ready to Dredge

Then flip the tomato over to coat the other side:

"Fried" Green Tomatoes: Dredged

Now you’re ready to “fry”!

Place the tomatoes into the heated skillet/oil and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown:

"Fried" Green Tomatoes: Frying

Once done remove from skillet and place on a plate lined with paper towels to “drain”:

"Fried" Green Tomatoes

You won’t get a lot of draining since you didn’t use a lot of oil, but there may be a little.

In between batches of tomatoes you might need to add a bit more oil to the pan. Just keep an eye on things. Repeat the process until all the tomatoes are done.

Serve immediately.

Notes: No notes for this one. When does that ever happen?? 😉


Better Bites: Zucchini and Squash

Zucchini and Squash

It’s that time of year, the time where you start having fresh vegetables either from your own garden, or at the Farmer’s Market or even your local markets. It is so easy to eat healthy and fresh during the summer!

One of my favorite side dishes during the summer, when squash and zucchini are in season, is a very simple dish that utilizes the naturally buttery taste of the squashes, paired with a sweet onion, that makes the perfect side dish or main course that tastes decadent, but is anything but.

I’ll say it again…Who says eating healthily has to be boring?

What You’ll Need:
3 zucchini, cut in half and then sliced
3 yellow squash, cut in half and then sliced
1 sweet or red onion, chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Zucchini and Squash: Ready to Cook

In a large pot over medium heat add zucchini, squash, onion, a pinch of sea salt, some freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. (Note: You don’t need more than a tablespoon or two of oil at most.) Stir ingredients to coat and cook over medium heat until squashes and onion are tender.

See how easy and quick that was? Quick, easy and delicious…Now that’s my kind of dish!

Notes: You can eat this as a side dish or you can serve it over rice as a main course.



OK first let’s do a little house cleaning so to speak! ;oP

Friday Link Love will be back next week. I thought you’d enjoy a recipe to round out Breakfast Week instead. I hope you’ve enjoyed Breakfast Week…I know I have!

What’s For Dinner will also be back next week. My parents were here most of the week and I was enjoying spending time with my Mom versus telling you what we were having for dinner. Watching her with Alexis is so much fun! Also I’ve got some great recipes lined up for next week too so be sure and check back then!

Now let’s talk some hashbrowns!

Hasbrowns are a classic breakfast dish. I had never actually made them, though I often order them when I have breakfast out. They were really simple to make and tasted fabulous! These went perfectly with the Mushroom Frittata…Just the right mix of crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. They are just perfect for a weekend breakfast treat!

What You’ll Need:
2 large potatoes, shredded
1/2 a red onion, chopped
Sea salt
Black pepper
Olive oil

Hashbrowns: Potatoes Draining

Shred potatoes and place potatoes and onions, along with a sprinkle of sea salt in a strainer and let drain over a glass bowl for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Coat a skillet with olive oil. Toss the potato, onion mixture together to make sure they are completely mixed and drained. Add some freshly ground black pepper and toss again to mix. Press mixture into the prepared skillet and bake for 20-25 minutes until crispy. Remove from oven and serve.

How easy is that??

Notes: You can leave out the onion if you like. You could also toss in some cheese.

Sweet Potato Wedges

Sweet Potato Wedges

I love sweet potatoes! They are such a wonderful, flavorful, and healthy alternative to your basic potato. You can take them and make a fabulous side dish that will definitely please a crowd, with little effort! Want something a little different to go along with dinner tonight? Then look no further…You’re there!

What You’ll Need:
1 large sweet potato
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
1 tablespoon of dried rosemary (Note: I usually add this, but for some reason this go around I forgot!)
A generous pinch of coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Sweet Potato Wedges: Ready to Bake

Cut a sweet potato into wedges. (Note: No need to remove the skin unless you just want to. It adds flavor and nutrients.) Toss with a little extra virgin olive oil and place into a baking dish. Sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper and bake for 35-45 minutes until sweet potatoes stick done. Serve immediately.

Notes: You could do this method with any potato, but keep in mind sweet potatoes tend to bake a little faster than other potatoes.

Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Potatoes

Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes

Want to take a basic baked potato and take it to another level? Why not stuff it with goodness? This recipe is simple, yet so delicious…You really get bang for your buck (so to speak!) ;oP

What You’ll Need:
1 potato, cut in half and baked until tender, pulp removed after baking (Note: I like to bake them in the oven, but if you don’t have time you can “bake” the halves in the microwave. I think potatoes in the oven though are much better, but if time is a factor alternatives always work!)
3-4 broccoli florets, chopped
Pulp removed from baked potato
2 tablespoons of sour cream (Note: I usually use light sour cream.) Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup of shredded cheddar
Preheat oven to 375 F.

Cut potato in half and baked it flat side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet. Bake until potatoes stick done (30-40 minutes) and remove from oven and cool.

Remove pulp from the cooled potato leaving 1/4 an inch of pulp in the potato, much like you would when making potato skins. Place pulp in a bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In the bowl with the pulp add sour cream and stir to mash together. Stir in cheese and broccoli, along with a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Divide mixture and place half into each potato shell and place in a baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and potato is slightly browned.

Makes 2 servings.

Notes: You could use other types of cheese or veggies if you preferred.

Dill and Cheddar Potato Cakes

Dill and Cheddar Potato Cakes

Living in a house with Jamison mashed potatoes are often on his menu and most of the time that means left over mashed potatoes too. For a while now I’ve wanted to make some Potato Cakes. I’ve tried it in the past and never just quite got the process down. This time however they turned out great!

I decided to give the Potato Cakes a little kick and threw in some dill and cheddar. The flavors just melded so well! Topped with a little sour cream and it was the ultimate indulgence! True this is not something you would make and eat everyday, but it’s just perfect for when you want something warm and scrumptious! If you like potatoes and cheese this is the ultimate comfort food!

What You’ll Need:
2 cups of mashed potatoes
2 eggs
1/2 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of dill
A pinch of sea salt
1/2-3/4 a cup of shredded cheddar
Olive oil for frying

Dill and Cheddar Potato Cakes

Heat a pan over medium heat until hot. Spritz with some non-stick spray and then add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Place dollops of potato mixture into the pan. When side down has browned flip the dollop over and flatten it. Cook until both sides are golden brown and place on a plate with paper towels to drain. Add more oil between batches if needed.

Serve immediately plain or a dollop of sour cream.

Dill and Cheddar Potato Cakes

Notes: You could add in finely chopped onion if you liked. You could also leave out the cheese and dill.

Parmesan Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Parmesan Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Today is a busy day, so I’m going to share with you a quick, easy, fabulous side dish that you can whip up in no time! This one will get you raves and you won’t be in the kitchen all day either. That’s a win win in my book! 😉

What You’ll Need Per Person:
1 potato
Extra virgin olive oil
Course sea salt (Note: I like Celtic Sea salt.)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce of Parmesan cheese, grated
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, stripped from the stem and chopped

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Cut a potato in half and then make slices about 1/8 of an inch thick. Toss with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper, Parmesan and rosemary and place in a single layer on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until potatoes are slightly crisp and golden. Serve immediately.

How easy is that?

Notes: You could use thyme if you liked in place of the rosemary or use them both.

Bacon Cheese Curly Fries

Curly Cheese Fries

So lets talk sinful today shall we? And what could be more sinful than fried potatoes, melted cheese and bacon? Not much I dare say!

Cheese fries and Potato Skins are some of Jamison’s all time favorites so every one in a while, and in this case it was his birthday earlier this month, I pull out all the stops and make something along these lines. Usually it is more likely to be Potato Skins, but this time I wanted to try to make cheese fries since I never have and I have to say I was very pleased! These fries were just to die for! (Possibly quite literally given all that cholesterol! ;0) These are definitely a sometimes food, but oh what a happy sometimes that is!

What You’ll Need:
4-6 russet potatoes, cut into curls (Note: I have a machine that does the curly cuts that Jamison’s Mom left with me when they were here for Alexis’ birthday. If you don’t have the ability to make curly cuts then you can simply cut the potato into regular fry pieces and fry them that way.)
Seasoned salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups of shredded Colby or Cheddar (Note: I used Colby.)
4-6 pieces of bacon, chopped or crumbled
A fryer and oil for frying (Note: If you don’t have a fryer you can simply heat oil on the stove top in a deep pot with a thermometer.) Ranch and or sour cream for dipping (optional)

Preheat oil to 375 F.

First cut your potatoes and put them in a container so they are readily available:

Curly Cheese Fries: Curly Potatoes Ready to Fry

I like to use a glass bowl.

Once the oil is heated add the potatoes in small batches and fry until just soft and not browned:

Curly Cheese Fries: Ready for Second Fry

This is also known as parboiling. Remove from the oil and drain on a plate or platter that is lined with a paper towel.

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Once all the potatoes are parboiled put them back in the fryer in small batches until they are browned. Remove them from the fryer and place on a plate or platter with a clean paper towel and let drain again. Sprinkle the fries with seasoned salt generously.

Once the are drained place them on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking sheet:

Curly Cheese Fries: Ready to Top

Be sure to spread them out a bit.

Next top with shredded cheese and bacon:

Curly Cheese Fries: Ready for the Oven

Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 5-6 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Notes: You could do a mix of cheeses if you wanted. Monterrey Jack would be fabulous! As would some of the Mexican cheeses. You could also add some chopped scallions to them right before serving, but obviously that isn’t Jamison’s cup of tea.

Not Your Mama’s Mashed Potatoes

Not Your Mama's Mashed Potatoes

As I’ve mentioned before Jamison is a super picky eater. Meat and potatoes, the occasional fruit and a few vegetables and that’s about the extent of what he eats. As a result mashed potatoes are often seen on his menu and thus there are often mashed potatoes left over. So what do you do with those left overs? You can make bread, or jazz up the mashed potatoes with goat cheese, or you can really soup them up like the variation below! Who says you can’t have a little pizazz on the side?

Oh and for the record Jamison wouldn’t touch these with a ten foot pole! ;o)

What You’ll Need:
2 cups of mashed potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
6-8 sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
1/3 cup of black olive slices
1 ounce of goat cheese
1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese, shredded
1-2 tablespoons of oil from the sun dried tomatoes

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a medium sized pan sauté onions in a little extra virgin olive oil until tender. Add sun dried tomatoes, olives and cheese and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat.

Add mashed potatoes to the veggie/cheese mixture and add a little of the oil from the sun dried tomatoes. Stir until mixed.

Place the potato mixture in a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and baked for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Makes 3-4 servings.

Not Your Mama's Mashed Potatoes

Notes: You can add in other vegetables if you like. Mushrooms would be good, as would chopped bell pepper. You could also switch around the cheeses if you like.

Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach

A friend of mine’s mom used to make a mean creamed spinach. I always loved coming over to her house when I was in Knoxville, because inevitably she would make that dish because she knew I loved it as much as her family did. It was a nice little oasis away from the drudgery of everyday life.

As much as I love this dish I never asked her how to make it, because at the time I doubted my abilities in the kitchen…Years of being oppressed can do that to a person, but many years later I put two and two together and figured out exactly what was in the dish and was able to recreate it to the point that it brings back such fond memories.

Every time I make this dish I think of her, even though I haven’t seen her in years. In a way I guess it’s my little tribute to her and that makes me happy.

What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
6-8 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 – 1 pound bag of frozen spinach (Note: You can use fresh spinach, but I don’t have quite enough of it yet to do that, but it’s growing everyday!)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup of half and half or heavy cream
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large sized skillet over medium to low heat saute garlic for a minute or two until soft. Don’t let it go too far and turn brown. Add the spinach, a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated and the spinach is soft. Stir in half and half or heavy cream and cheese and cook stirring constantly until cheese is melted and any liquid is gone (about 2 minutes). Serve immediately.

Notes: Sometimes my friend’s mom would switch things up a bit and add in sauteed mushrooms or onions in with the garlic. It’s a very forgiving recipe and very easy to tweak.