Fried Green Tomatoes

When it’s time to pull out tomatoes, oftentimes there will be lots of green ones left on the vine. This is the perfect opportunity to make fried green tomatoes. I mix my green tomatoes with sweet grape or baby tomatoes for a combined taste of sweet and tangy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Green tomatoes of any variety (as many as you want to cook – ideally at least 1 pound)
  • Baby red tomatoes (use a ratio of 1:1 or 2:1, green:red tomatoes)
  • 1 egg (more depending on the amount you want to cook)
  • Flour (1-2 cups)
  • Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs (ratio of 2:1 white flour to bread crumbs)
  • Olive Oil (for frying)
  • Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

KITCHEN TOOLS:

  • 3 bowls
  • 1 platter
  • 1 plate
  • Paper towel
  • Large deep skillet
  • Metal tongs
  • Metal slotted spoon or spatula

DIRECTIONS:

Slice the tomatoes into 1/8 inch slices and place into a bowl. Scramble one egg and put into a separate bowl. Mix flour and bread crumbs into a separate bowl. Dip the tomatoes into the egg batter, then the flour and lay them individually on a large plate.  Make sure the tomatoes are fully covered with the flour mixture so that they are dusty (not wet) with flour. Meanwhile, heat 1/4 inch of olive oil in the deep skillet  (the amount of olive oil depends on the size of the pan). Heat the olive oil until it bubbles when dropping in a test tomato. Fry the tomatoes in batches for a few minutes on each side. Do not flip until one side is golden brown. If the oil is not hot enough, the tomatoes will be soggy.   Lay each batch of fried tomatoes on a paper towel to soak up extra oil. Add a layer of paper towel on the platter in-between each batch of fried tomatoes. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Serve immediately and enjoy.

Note: Olive oil has a low smoke point- do NOT overheat the olive oil.

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Starting a Vegetable Garden

Organic Veggie Garden

Here’s a simple list to get you started:

  1. Find a spot with enough SUN (minimum 6 hours). If you’re not sure how much sun you have you can buy a sunlight tester.
  2. Decide what you LIKE to eat and then plant it. I suggest starting with lettuces and greens . They’re easy and grow quickly.
  3. Start with a SMALL garden box or pot. You can make a box, buy one or use a pot.  Check out this link: All Things Cedar 3-Piece Planter with Trellis ""
  4. Get great SOIL – this is KEY.  Go to your local nursery and pick up E.B. Stone organic soil – it’s fantastic and you won’t need to fertilize for a month after you’re first planting.
  5. Plant organic seeds or buy seedlings.   You can try these greens or Lettuce Q’s Special Medley Certified Organic Seeds 1000 Seeds. Swiss chard is a great option because it’s sturdy and pretty easy to grow.
  6. WATER – Only water every few days, over watering KILLS edibles. Read your seed packet for guidance.

GARDEN TASKS:

Take a 5 minute peak at your mini-farm everyday – just to make sure they’re happy and no bugs have moved in.  If you skip a few days, it’s fine (I certainly do). And then watch your garden grow. Harvest & enjoy.

Battling Aphids and Ants – Part I

I planted my tomatoes in May or June (honestly, I can’t remember), but it was sometime in the late spring.  I bought four heirloom tomato seedlings from Jimmy Williams at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.  I followed Jimmy’s advice and didn’t trim off the “suckers” and  let the tomatoes run wild, only picking off leaves that looked yellow and unhealthy.  Before I knew it, a month or so later, we had gorgeous tomatoes that were delicious.

But then I got BUSY. I was working 50 hours per week and didn’t check my dear tomatoes every day or so. While I was driving away on the I-10 into Hollywood to work, the aphids were moving in.  And then the ants followed.  Not good.  Ants and aphids have a symbiotic relationship. The aphids feed on the plant and excrete “honeydew” which the ants WANT. The ants are so obsessed with this honeydew that they will fight off aphid predators and actually bring the aphid eggs into their nest to protect them. The ants will then transport the aphid eggs to a new plant location.  This situation doesn’t bode well for any crop. My tomato plants weren’t looking happy, their leaves were yellowing and the fruit yield tapered. The ants and aphids had also attacked my artichoke plant.

I first attempted to hose off the aphids. They wash off really easily as they are delicate little critters. You can even wipe them off with your fingers. But, the next day, the aphids were back. So I got my organic aphid sprays and tried different ones over the next few weeks.  They were all effective for the aphids, but no match for the ants.  I then bought ladybugs.  They stuck around for a while (a sign that there is food like aphids for them), but then they took off. The ants were incorrigible.  Ugh! Was I frustrated and my poor tomatoes and artichoke were suffering.

I went to the Good Foods Festival in Santa Monica and met Christy Wilhelmi of gardenerd.com.  She is extremely knowledgeable and she told me that I MUST get rid of the ants to get rid of the aphids. She recommended Terro Ant Baits which are safe for organic gardens. You can find them here.  I purchased a pack and I’m still waiting for the results.  I’ll get back to you and let you know how it goes.

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Swiss Chard

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Swiss chard is one of those veggies that gets overlooked. It’s a beautiful green, but I think it has a bad wrap for being a “health food nut” veggie. Well let me tell you, it’s GOOD!  I prefer it to … Continue reading

Why UrbanFig?

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Photos: Our backyard farm – it’s nothing fancy, but it works. My gardening philosophy? Just start growing something you like to eat.  Try it out, give it a whirl… So let me introduce myself. I’m a mom with two young … Continue reading