(Un) Fried Green Tomatoes ♥ Recipe for Baked Green Tomatoes

Fried green tomatoes, but fried in the oven with no more than cooking spray
Thin slices of green tomatoes dipped in a seasoned cornmeal breading, then baked at high heat. Virtually no fat, thus 'healthy fried green tomatoes' (and baked, of course, not fried) but still full of flavor. Weight Watchers 2 points.

Fried green tomatoes have been a long time reaching A Veggie Venture, though not for lack of trying. Three years running, I tried new techniques. For a recipe that is so homely and humble -- heavens, we're just trying to use up upripe tomatoes just before or just after frost -- fried green tomatoes take a trick or two.

The breading needs to be light in texture but big on flavor.
The tomatoes need to be sliced thin, so they'll cook clear through.
Most of all, the fried green tomatoes need to be baked, not fried, giving the tomatoes more time to cook but also to eliminate all that gobby fat that the breading will soak up if you let it.

Is any of this heresy to southerners? I hope not, these are mighty good!


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 50 minutes
Serves 4 (assumed 1/2 a tomato a serving)

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon kosher salt (don't skimp on the salt)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or the pepper!)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pimenton or sweet paprika (or cumin or maybe garam masala)

2 large green tomatoes, core removed in a V shape, sliced crosswise about 1/3 inch thick

Preheat oven to 400F. Place a baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes to get it plenty hot. Spray it with cooking spray. Meanwhile, stir together the breading. Place the breading in a large shallow container, the buttermilk in another. Slice the tomatoes. Once the baking sheet has been preheated, work quickly. Dip each tomato slice into the buttermilk, then into the breading. Arrange on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the slices over. Bake another 10 minutes or until cooked clear through. Serve hot, they don't improve!

Coarsely ground stone-ground cornmeal is too rough and won't adhere. Fine-ground stone-ground cornmeal may well work but I've never seen it.
It's quickest and cleanest to dip the tomatoes with your hands. Get right in there!

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~ Scalloped Green Tomatoes
~ Green Tomato Pie ~
~ more tomato recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Warm Green Tomato & Apricot Salad ~
from the Inadvertent Gardener
~ Salsa Verde with Green Tomatoes, Avocado & Cilantro ~
from Kalyn's Kitchen
~ Spicy Green Tomato Soup ~
from The Joy of Soup
~ more green tomato recipes ~
via Food Blog Search, a hand-selected list of the best food blogs
from all across the world

Looking for healthy ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous Alphabet of Vegetables. Healthy eaters will love the low carb recipes and the Weight Watchers recipes.
© Copyright 2009

How to Roast Garlic ♥ The Recipe & A Planting Reminder

How to roast whole heads of garlic to a deep, dark and luscious creamy paste. Plus, a reminder that October 15th is when we plant garlic in the fall!

Roasted GarlicWhen roasting vegetables, or baking a casserole, or simmering a big pot of soup, I love to throw something else into the oven, too, making efficient use of the energy. More times than not, that 'something else' is a dish of garlic heads. Then for a week, I tuck roasted garlic into everything I cook. No more vampires, garlic breath be **mned!

And did you know that fall -- yes, fall -- is when we plant garlic? If you grow nothing else, it's ever so easy to plant a small garlic crop. It's a start! Check out my How and Why Guide to Growing Garlic. It's an especially fun project with kids, carrying through on the lessons from the summer's herb pots, tomato plants and vegetable gardens.


Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour

Aluminum foil
Olive oil
Kosher salt & pepper
Whole heads of garlic, washed well, especially the area around the root end, enough to fill the baking dish

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking dish with foil (enough to both cover the bottom and to fold over the top). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Slice off the top 1/3 to 1/4 of the stem end of the head of garlic. Rub cut-side down in the oil. Repeat with the remaining heads, filling the dish. Wrap the foil over the top, creating a packet. Roast for 50 - 60 minutes until garlic cloves turn golden to deep brown. Use immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator for use within a week.

How to Use Roasted Garlic: Squeeze a warm clove of roasted garlic onto a slice of buttered bread: ambrosia. After that, throw in a clove or two whenever you're already using garlic, stews, eggs, vegetable dishes, etc. The flavor difference is remarkable!

How do YOU Use Roasted Garlic? Leave an idea in the comments!

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When I asked Kitchen Parade readers about their
~ favorite kitchen tools ~
many mentioned a garlic press!

When I show people
~ how to make salad dressing ~
the first step is to rub the salad bowl with a clove of garlic

Looking for healthy ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous Alphabet of Vegetables. Healthy eaters will love the low carb recipes and the Weight Watchers recipes.
© Copyright 2009

Whole Pumpkin Baked with Custard ♥ A Fun Recipe for Fall

Baked Whole Pumpkin with Custard Cooked Inside
Today's pumpkin recipe: Stuff a whole pumpkin with custard, bake it, and what do you get? A fun fall dessert!

Finally, pumpkins! For a year now, I've been waiting-waiting for pumpkin season. You see, two recipes had tucked themselves into the back of my brain and refused to let go. One cooked meat and vegetables into a stew, right in a whole pumpkin settled into the coals of a campfire -- sorry, I can't recommend that one yet, perhaps ever. The other cooked custard right inside a whole pumpkin. Yes, custard cooked inside a whole pumpkin, that one I happily recommend!

The stuffed pumpkin and custard recipe comes from "The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American" by Jeff Smith, an uneven but often fascinating look at 'American ethnic cooking'. The recipe's headnotes say that custard baked in a pumpkin was a favorite of George Washington. It's kind of a cozy fall dessert, definitely dramatic in appearance and meant to be shared.

2010 UPDATE Turns out, the fascination with stuffed pumpkins is an annual affair. Check out the brand-new Stuffed Pumpkin with Apple & Cranberry!


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Serves 4

1 small pumpkin, preferably a 'sugar' pumpkin or a 'pie pumpkin' or anything other than a pumpkin whose destiny is a jack o'lantern

CUSTARD (makes about 2 cups liquid)
3 eggs, whisked well
1 cup cream (sorry, half & half doesn't thicken well)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon dry sherry (optional but nice)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger

1 tablespoon butter, in tiny cubes

Preheat the oven to 350F or 400F. Wash the outside of the pumpkin very well. Carefully insert a knife into the flesh to cut off the 'top'. Remove and discard the seeds (or save them for Spicy Sweet Pumpkin Seeds) and the pumpkin 'gunk' inside.

Whisk together the custard ingredients, then pour into the pumpkin. Sprinkle the butter cubes over top. Place the stem-top back onto the pumpkin and transfer to a baking dish. Bake for about 90 minutes or until the custard is firm. (Check after 60 minutes but both pumpkins I cooked took a full 90 minutes.)

To serve, use long-stemmed spoons (such as iced tea spoons) to share, scooping up bits of the cooked pumpkin along with custard.

This recipe was tested at both 350F and 400F, both worked fine. It's a good excuse to roast some butternut squash at the same temperature.
A grapefruit spoon's serrated blade is ever so useful for cutting stuff out of vegetables. I use one all the time.
We added currants to one batch, they tasted great but sank to the bottom.
If there's custard liquid leftover, pour it into small ramekins. Then place the ramekins in a low flat oven-safe dish and fill halfway up the sides of the ramekins with hot or even boiling water. (This is called a 'hot water bath'.) Place the dish in the oven alongside the whole pumpkin, the custards will be done about the same time or a little sooner.
If your pumpkin can hold more than two cups of liquid, you may want to make more liquid.

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~ Pumpkin Corn Bread ~
~ Pumpkin Muffins ~
~ Pumpkin Pudding ~
~ more pumpkin recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Autumn Pumpkin Bread ~
~ Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars ~
~ Pumpkin Bread Pudding ~
~ more pumpkin recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

Looking for healthy ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous Alphabet of Vegetables. Healthy eaters will love the low carb recipes and the Weight Watchers recipes.
© Copyright 2009