A few months ago I signed up for a CSA box. At first I was so excited to wake up every Friday morning to find a box of local seasonal produce delivered to my doorstep. And as cliché as it sounds, I was really happy to be supporting local agriculture. Like I had finally made a responsible adult life choice that actually benefits my local economy. Well the excitement has worn off now and I often find myself struggling to use all the produce. Especially because some of the same items are in the box week after week and I find myself lacking inspiration on what to do with them. Not to name names but, carrots and greens you know who you are. It’s not that I don’t like these vegetable, but I wouldn’t necessarily purchase them every single week if I were picking out produce.
The greens are especially abundant in each weeks box. There are often 3 bunches of different types…kale, chard, collard greens, etc. I can usually come up with a recipe that uses one of the bunches, but then I stress about what to do with the rest of them. I certainly don’t want to let them go to waste. I came across this recipe for cider braised greens on Tasting Table and I knew immediately I would make it because it called for a lot of greens. All that I had in my fridge! Woop! Who knew I could get so excited about a recipe for greens. I also happened to have green tomatoes in my box that week and I had no idea what to do with them other than make fried green tomatoes and so this southern inspired meal was born. This was my first attempt and actually my first taste of fried green tomatoes. They were delish! But then again so is pretty much anything battered and fried, right!?
Cheese grits are the final piece of the little southern meal. Cheese grit are, well, amazing. One of my favorite ways to eat them is simply with a fried egg on top. So good. I didn’t list a recipe below for grits because I always just follow the cooking directions on the package and then add in about 1/4 cup of grated cheese at the end. The directions may slightly vary by brand.
Fried Green Tomatoes (serves 4)
- 3 to 4 green tomatoes, sliced about 1/4″ thick
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch of salt
- a few grinds of fresh black pepper
- 1 cup canola oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
Place sliced tomatoes in colander. Salt lightly, and let sit for about 5 minutes to help draw out moisture. Rinse under cool water and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small bowl to create the wash. Combine the flour, cornmeal, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a shallow dish to create the dredge.
Working one at a time, completely coat each tomato slice in the wash and then in the dredge, gently shaking off excess.
In a frying pan or cast iron skillet heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. You can adjust the amount of oil based on the size of pan you’re working with. Basically you want enough to cover the entire bottom of the pan. The tomatoes don’t need to be completely submerged in the oil. Working 3 slices at a time, fry the tomatoes until golden brown, turning only once (about 3 to 4 minutes total cooking time). Use a spatula to flip the tomatoes away from you so you don’t get splashed. Transfer each batch to drain on brown paper bags.
recipe adapted from Garden and Gun
Cider Braised Greens (serves 4 to 6)
- 3 large bunches of greens – kale, chard, collard, mustard, turnip, etc
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon red chile flakes
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Prepare the greens by removing the stems from the leaves. Finely chop the stems and set aside. Wash the leaves and run them through a salad spinner or set them out on a kitchen towel to dry. Once the leaves are dry, finely chop them.
In a large sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. Then add the chile flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Next stir in the chopped stems and cook for about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Working in batches, add in the chopped greens. Start with about 1/3 of them and let them wilt for a minute to create room in the pan for more. Once all the greens are in the pot, season again with salt and pepper. Add the cider vinegar to the pot and cover. Simmer on low for 30 to 40 minutes. Finish the greens by adding the butter and stir to coat.
recipe adapted from Tasting Table