Friday, September 25, 2009

Green Tomatoes

I was asked for some suggestions in using up green tomatoes a few days back, which immediately sent me scrambling to the garden and the interwebs for some good ideas.

My Grandma used to use green tomatoes in a chow-chow relish sort of thing, but I was curious what else was out there. I had no idea there were so many great recipes!.
This has been a fun few days of experimenting!!

First, pretty much everyone has their own version of Fried Green Tomatoes. So I'll spare you there, though we did make these babies for supper one night and they were DEEELISH as always. Crunchy-fried stuff, who can't like that?!! If you haven't made them, please do, everyone needs to experience these!

Next, we tried Czech Green Tomato Soup from an old, yellowed cookbook called "Recipes From The Czechoslovakia" which (as the title suggests) seems to be a somewhat poorly translated version of old Czech recipes. Someone gave it to me years ago because I have Czech heritage. It's all pretty meat-centric but I tried this one (veganized of course) because I was basically curious. And I loved it!!

It was a little bit "weird and lumpy green" for my kids. Here's the recipe though, if anyone wants it, I thought it was simple, different and quite yummy. Don't let my kids palates discriminate for you...

Czech Green Tomato Soup

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz any vegetarian faux-meat sub for "ham", chopped (1/2 cup) I used Smart Bacon because
that's what I had, not "ham" exactly, but work with me here...
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 bay leaf
2 lb green unripe tomatoes, chopped
1 carrot sliced very thin
1 cup vegetable or vegetarian "chicken" broth
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Garnish: Tofutti or any vegan type sour cream and fresh cracked black pepper(optional)

Heat oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook vegetarian "ham or bacon" bits, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add scallions, garlic, carrot and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions are tender and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add tomatoes, broth, water, salt, and pepper and simmer, partially covered, until tomatoes and carrots are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf and season soup with salt and pepper. I blended this just a bit with my immersion blender but left it still fairly chunky. Really good the
next day!!

But the hit of my green-tomato cooking frenzy has got to be this wonderful spaghetti sauce I "veganized" from the FoodDay section of The Oregonian - everyone loved it and we've made it TWICE already. Here is my version:

Sausage and Green Tomato Pasta

2 Apple-Sage Field Roast Sausages, sliced thickly
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound green tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons minced pepperoncini (little pickled peppers)
1/2 pound pasta of your preference
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup soymilk
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper

In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, pan fry the sausage slices until lightly browned. Remove sausage and set aside.

Raise the heat to medium high. Add the tomatoes, salt and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften and start to turn golden brown, about 7 minutes. Add the wine and pepperoncini and cook until the some of the liquid evaporates and the tomatoes are a bit saucy. Add sausage back in to pan.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta of your choice in salted boiling water according to the package directions until al dente (if you like it that way). Drain the pasta.

Put the drained pasta back into the pot and add the cooked tomatoes and sausage, nutritional yeast and parsley. Toss until combined, adding soymilk to moisten and make sauce a bit creamy, as necessary. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper.

Pour into serving bowl, sprinkle with lots of additional parsley and serve immediately.


Now go pick those last green tomatoes and ENJOY!!!


Rose said...

I have never tried green fried tomatos. Are green tomatos just unripe normal tomatos? because ive never seen them at the store before.


Dani said...

I was wondering what you used for the breading for the fried green tomatoes. They look so good!!

The Voracious Vegan said...

Everything looks amazing! My paternal grandmother is from the Czech Republic and I think that soup looks so delicious. Everything looks very tasty, the perfect use for an abundance of green tomatoes!

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

@Rose; I use green (unripe) tomatoes fresh from my garden. I've seen them at Farmer's Markets but not regular grocerys. Yes, they are just regular tomatoes that haven't yet ripened...

@Dani; our fried green tomatoes were dipped in soymilk and then in FINELY ground cornmeal mixed with just a bit of seasoned flour and fried (Yes, FRIED!) in coconut oil which tends to brown things so much better than other oils...

Mihl said...

I have seen sao many green tomato posts lately. I am a bit afraid of them, here in Germany green tomatoes are considered to be toxic. Maybe this applies only to uncooked unripe tomatoes? I really have to look into this as your recipes look so amazing.

Tofu Hunter said...

Thanks! This is great. I especially look forward to giving that soup a try, looks so tasty.

@Mihl: I wonder if you are thinking about green potatoes? We generally consider them to be toxic around here too. I have never heard of green tomatoes being toxic, in fact I've heard that they are actually about as nutritious as red ones. I'm curious about this one though!

Catherine said...

Can you believe I've never had fried green tomatoes? I guess it's time to make some!

P.S. I tried your oven-dried tomato trick with a mountain of grape tomatoes I purchaed at the Farmer's Market, and it worked wonderfully! I haven't tried them yet, but they look gorgeous, all swimming in olive oil! Thanks for sharing your tips!

Matt (My Veggie Kitchen) said...

Oh, man. That pasta looks great. The soup is intriguing too. Thanks. This time of year, I've got plenty of green tomatoes.

Sal said...

that soup does sound good. the pasta dish looks ace too.