Tag Archives: Family

What Summer Tastes Like to this Southern Girl!

It is officially here…summer! Olaf from Frozen is probably twirling in a field of dandelions singing of the virtues of great combinations. In his case, hot and cold. For southerners, it is food pairings usually only found in the summer. One of my favorites is fried green tomatoes.  Even my vegetable avoiding husband feels the rumbling in his Georgia born belly when I serve up a plate of Beer Battered Fried Green Tomatoes!

I buy tons of red tomatoes all year long but there is something wonderful about the firmness and tartness of local tomato encased in the crispy blanket of fried batter.   As a native Alabamian (although I did have a brief 8 year stint in North Carolina), I grew up less than 10 miles from Irondale, the home of the Whistle Stop Café from Fannie Flagg’s book, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café.  Fannie Flagg also has a cookbook available with the official Whistle Stop Café recipe which I recommend as well.  Perhaps it was my geography that gave me a special place in my heart (and tummy) for fried green tomatoes.

Batter recipes can be as varied as BBQ sauce recipes in the south and sometimes can similarly be based on geography.  North Carolina is known for it’s vinegar and pepper sauces while Alabama tends to favor ketchup based sauces.  Tennessee likes mustard based and ketchup based depending on what side of the state you find yourself.  I have found the same applies to fry batters.  While I was a student at Auburn University (War Eagle!), a wonderful little eatery called Veggies-To-Go offered fried green tomatoes (seasonally) in a cornmeal batter.  My mom, from Birmingham, used the most simple and delicious recipe I have come across of flour, salt, pepper and beer.  Her fried green tomatoes always came out crisp and light.  In Texas, they sometimes add sugar to the batter and in Louisiana the tomato dish isn’t complete without remoulade sauce.

I found this recipe on food.com and doctored it a bit to come up with my own Frankenstein’s Monster of a delicious batter.   I added two different kinds of bread crumbs, some spices and omitted the lemon.  To me, the green tomatoes have enough tartness not to need any added to the batter.

Here is my recipe!  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!

Caren’s Beer Battered Fried Green Tomatoes

3 Large Green Tomatoes, thinly sliced; less than 1/4 inch is ideal

1 Cup All Purpose Flour  ( I used King Arthur.)

1/2 cup of seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs

1 tsp of salt (plus extra for season the tomatoes before dipping)

1 tsp of pepper (plus extra for season the tomatoes before dipping)

1 tsp of baking powder

1/2 tsp of baking soda

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp of chipotle chili powder

Almost one entire 12 oz bottle of beer ( I used Shock Top Honey Bourbon Cask Wheat)

vegetable oil (enough to coat your cast iron skillet; it will need to be added to at the start of each new batch)

Slice the tomatoes and lay them out on a piece of wax paper.  Salt and pepper each slice on both sides.  Add all the dry ingredients in to a medium sized mixing bowl and reserve 1/2 cup of the flour and bread crumb mixture.  Lightly coat each slice of tomato with some of the reserved dry flour mixture.  Add beer to the bowl of flour/bread crumbs until it is the consistency of pancake batter.  Dip each floured tomato slice into the wet batter mixture until it is nicely and uniformly covered.  Fry in a skillet set on medium high heat until each side is golden brown.  Let drain on a paper towel covered plate or cookie sheet.   Enjoy!

Leftovers can be refrigerated in an air tight container between sheets of parchment paper. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet so they crisp back up.  Just as good the second day!

Fried Green Tomatoes editedPin

This recipe certainly worked for me!

 

N Love

N is for NettePin
N is for Nette

Trendy grandma names have become the norm in my neck of the woods.  So much so, that it is hard to find a grandma anywhere.  The former matriarchs of my family included a Mam-maw, Granny, Grandmother and a Grandmother Mimi.  I never had the privilege of meeting them but I also had a Big Mama and a Granny Great.  All those sweet ladies have gone on to their great reward and so have their monikers.

In my family alone, we now have a GG, Mim, Gram, Mimi, Nana (we have an abundant amount of  nanas) and a Nette.  I know of a Peach, Oma, Tish, Wisty and Chick.  And according to my friend Rebekah Sanderlin, a journalist who wrote this article for NPR on the phenomenon,  it is not a situation unique to my friends and family.

Trendy names aren’t just for the grandmas who wish to belay aging or the appearance there of.  I wasn’t entirely surprised when my dad refused to be called Grand-anything.  He never wanted anyone to know his age and wasn’t keen on celebrating his birthday.   For awhile he was Daddy Jim to my nieces and nephew but by the time my kids came along, he was simply Jim.  I must point out that I was never allowed to call him by his first name but we all know what happens to our parents when the grandkids come along.  They go soft in the discipline department and mayhem is allowed and sometimes encouraged.

Mom’s logic for a grandma name was pretty complicated as well.  When you are wife to a Jim you can’t exactly be a “Grandmother”.  She wanted something short and sweet but also didn’t want anything associated with nannies or goats.

So the problem with holidays when you have a trendy and unique grandma name is that you can’t find a pre-made card with that particular  moniker.  Hallmark and American Greetings haven’t quite caught up to the trend.  I will say one can find a Nana card here and there.  Plus, I am realistic that there will never be a Nette card.  This Valentine’s Day I was feeling extremely crafty and productive so I decided to make Valentines for my family.

I started with my mom.  I knew she should get something more than just an ordinary card.  I found paper mache letters at Hobby Lobby and picked out the N for “Nette”.  I decorated it with mixed media.  Much of it was Stampin’ Up!  papers using Stampin’ Up! tools.  When I finished it, I asked my hubby what he thought of my finished “N”.  He said it was pretty, but wanted to know its function. He asked, “What does it do?”  (This came from a man who doesn’t like hushpuppies, and can’t appreciate the artistic nuances of fried bread balls!)  He is also an engineer which explains a lot.  Well, it may not turn on lights or solve complicated mathematical problems, but it did bring a smile to my mom’s face and reminded her that her daughter and grandchildren love her.  Sometimes that can be the best function of all.