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A fall treat - green tomatoes

This is the time of year I love the best. The warmth of the air when I'm walking in the sunshine and the snap to it in the early evening hours. The glorious reds and yellows on the leaves have turned to cinnamon and nutmeg browns now and are covering the ground.

Most every warm day this past month I have spent in my gardens. My herb garden is near the house and the oregano, thyme, tarragon and sage have been cut and are hanging in the utility room to dry for winter use. The dill, cilantro and mint have been cut down and "put to bed" for a winter's rest. The basil is in pots and still enjoying the warmth from the wood stove in the kitchen but soon will be made into a pesto.

My vegetable garden is in the sunniest area of the yard but now looks so bare. Most everything has been pulled and tossed into a compost pit. We dug the potatoes and they are being stored for the winter. We still are pulling beets, parsnips, carrots and scallions, and there's one more spinach salad awaiting us. These are the days I enjoy walking around and thinking where the green beans and peas will be planted next year and how to rotate the root vegetables. I will make decisions on what not to bother with and what to experiment with in the coming spring. Hope lies eternal in a garden.

It is now I pull out my old gardening journal and make notes on what worked and what did not, knowing full well I'll not remember any of this when spring arrives.

One of these mornings a frost will sit heavily on the grass and will have turned the wire fence into a string of stars. The dahlias will turn black and the asparagus fronds dark brown and it will be time to cut them down. But before that happens, the green tomatoes must be harvested. We always have an abundance of green tomatoes here in the Northwest.

Green tomatoes can be wrapped and placed in a dark dry place to ripen or simply put on a tray in a sunny spot in the house and they will turn red in time. Or, better yet, enjoy their sweetness and surprise friends and family as you serve them in various ways.

A must in my home every year is FRIED GREEN TOMATOES - choose firm tomatoes and cut in slices about 1/2-inch thick. Plan on two-three slices per person. Dip each slice of tomato into cornmeal seasoned with salt and pepper, coating both sides. Fry in some bacon fat for several minutes on each side or until coating is crisp and golden brown. Serve immediately.

- from my cookbook "From My Kitchen Window"



STEWED GREEN TOMATOES make a nice side dish. Just sauté 2 tablespoons minced onions in 2 tablespoons butter until light brown. Add 2 cups sliced green tomatoes and stir and cook slowly until tender. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon curry powder. Garnish with 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and serve to four.

- from my files



This GREEN TOMATO PIE tastes like a fresh peach pie - dip 6 medium green tomatoes in boiling water 20-30 seconds; put quickly into cold water. Remove core and peel. Cut in 1/4-inch-thick slices. Combine tomatoes with 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove tomato slices.

Mix 1 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon,

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add to liquid in pan; cook and stir just until boiling. Remove from heat; add 2 tablespoons butter and gently stir in tomato slices. Cool 10 minutes. Line 9-inch pie plate with pastry; spoon in tomato mixture. Adjust top crust; cut slits, seal, crimp edges and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in preheated 400-degree oven about 40 minutes.

- from "Better Homes And Gardens Heritage Cookbook"



And then there's this delicious GREEN TOMATO CRISP. This is an old recipe from the Sequim-Dungeness Museum. It is English, dating back to about 1900.

Wash green tomatoes, but do not peel. Slice and cube so you have 5 cups.

Combine 3 tablespoons flour, 11/4 cups sugar, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt with 3 tablespoons lemon juice; mix with the tomatoes. Grease a baking pan and turn the tomato mixture into the pan.

Make a topping of 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg; cut in 1/2 cup butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

- from my files

The original recipe says to "be sure to keep enough wood on fire to keep an even heat."

Harvesting vegetables from one own's garden is soul satisfying besides being so beneficial to our health and well-being.

Check out Friends of the Fields Web site at www.friendsofthefields.org. Local ingredients are healthier, fresher and make your meals taste better! Make sure you have the best local ingredients from our productive local farms by supporting Friends of the Fields in its efforts to preserve local farmland today.



FRIED GREEN TOMATO

SOUP WITH CORN BREAD CROUTONS



3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (1 cup)

2 large green tomatoes, coarsely chopped (3 cups)

3 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon black pepper



Heat oil in large pot on medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, 10 minutes or until softened. Add tomatoes; cook on medium-low heat 25 minutes or until tomatoes are softened, stirring occasionally. Add water; simmer 30 minutes or until tomatoes are tender.

Pour one-half of the tomato mixture into blender container; cover. Blend until smooth. Repeat with remaining tomato mixture. Add salt, thyme and black pepper; simmer 20 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Serve to four with CORN BREAD CROUTONS - to make, cut prepared corn bread into 3/4-inch cubes. Place on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes or until toasted in preheated 350-degree oven.

- from my files



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