Thursday, June 21, 2012

Oven Fried Green Tomatoes a Low Carb Summer Sensation

Tomatoes Make June Heat Waves in Texas Totally Worth It!

Low Carb and Paleo Friendly to many, Oven Fried Green
Tomatoes make a great side for Barbequed Pulled Pork and
Summertime and the livin’ is easy! Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high.

June in Texas is more than Gershwin tunes and tall cotton! June means triple digit thermometer readings. On the Gulf Coast, June means the hurricane watch begins and will continue into September. But June, means something else in Texas.

June means tomato season busts wide open and between now and about mid-July, it isn’t rainin’ men (thank you to The Weather Girls for helping me continue my musical theme), heck, it isn’t rainin’ much of anything. Texas is in a drought, you know!

Nah, I think this song best describes the affinity I feel towards homegrown tomatoes. Wish I could embed the video but maybe you'll go listen to the link. Apparently there are others who feel as I do! :) (Homegrown Tomatoes by Guy Clark).
Summer bounty! Green Tomatoes,
Fresh Okra and freshly picked onions.
Yes, June in Texas signals the start to tomato season and any home grown Texan knows, that’s reason to rejoice.

That’s right. I said it.


Oh no she dittent!

Yes, I said tomatoes. And on a low carb diet too. I hear ya. You’re thinkin’ I’ve lost all my marbles and gone to the dark side. I haven’t. Honest. Low carb does NOT equal no carb. It really doesn’t. 

There are many things I willingly give up in our low carb way of life. And there are even more things to eliminate with paleo nutrition. Buh bye high glycemic grains and even gluten! See ya’ later white stuff. G’ bye high glycemic  fruit. Sayonara sugar, I don’t need you anymore!

I gleefully eschew agave. I thumb my toffee nose at honey. Yes, I do. I’ll never be coocoo for coconut palm sugar. And Fluffy Chix Cook will continue to be highly selective about  artificial sweeteners, strictly limiting their use in a prudent, judicial and totally boring manner.

But please! Please! Don’t ever ask me to give up my ‘maters! I heart nightshades and the mighty ‘mater sits on the throne of honor as the Queen of the Nightshade Festival for this brief 6 week window of opportunity.

Ferris Bueller is a Righteous Dude!
I'm sure Fried Green Tomatoes
contributed to savnig Ferris!
Nightshades, for those of you who might not know and who aren’t beguiled by the sweet lure of nutrition nerdville, are a family of veggies that not only include tomatoes, but such righteous dudes as eggplants, peppers and chiles. I know cuz Ferris told me – and Wikipedia, too, but mostly Ferris.

Well hells bells, if you don’t eat nightshades in Texas, you might just open yourself up to a whole heapin’ helpin’ of hot water. You might just find your card carryin’ Texan status threatened. Two year olds have been seen chompin’ on jalapenos here in Texas. We grow ‘em young! It’s pretty close to an unwritten rule!

It’s no joke I still believe in zucchini bunnies, fairies, little elves in the walls and Santa. And I still believe that somehow, there has to be a way for us to all just “get along.” I firmly believe there is room in this world for tomatoes and a low carb way of life to get along together! Heck, maybe even go steady!

Maybe we can just make a start right here, today? In fact, maybe…maybe, you could think of this Oven Fried Green Tomato recipe as more than a recipe. Maybe you can think of it as a bridge…That's right. Fluffy Chix Cook and build bridges, one tomato at a time, in their spare time!

Oven Fried Green Tomatoes go great as a side to a
Mixed Grill with Asparagus. A Low Carber's dream meal!
Oven Fried Green Tomatoes
Yield – 4 Servings
Prep Time – 10 Minutes
Cook Time – 25-30 Minutes
Difficulty – Must be able to simultaneously walk and chew gum.

2 medium to large Green Tomatoes
1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese, dry grated
1/2 c. Pork Rind Crumbs
½ tsp. Granulated Garlic Powder
¼ tsp. Cayenne
½ tsp. Paprika
¼ tsp. Thyme Leaves, dried
2 tsp. Parsley Flakes
½ tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground
½ c. Egg Whites (about 3 large eggs, separated)

Preheat oven to 450°. Wash and dry tomatoes. Cut tomatoes into 3/8” thick slices.

Beat egg whites until starting to foam.

Combine all dry ingredients. Place small quantities of the crumb mixture onto a dry plate. Place some of the crumb mixture into a large shaker bottle. I use an empty Tone’s Spice bottle with the large holes as my shaker bottle.

(Breading Note - Use your breading mixture a little at a time. That way, you don't get it all soggy each time you bread a batch of tomato slices. And if you don't use all the crumbs, it will preserve them until your next use! Once you've contaminated the crumbs with egg whites, you need to toss any leftovers or make a quick omelette pancake with the remaining egg white contaminated batch! I'm not kiddin'! Don't store any crumbs that have been hit with egg white. Here's the equation in case you are analytical like me! (Egg Whites + Breading Mixture + Room Temperature)xTime = Praying To The Porcelain God. We're talkin' spewing here. Don't do it!)

Dip green tomato slices into egg whites. Shake off excess egg whites.

Place dipped tomatoes onto crumb covered plate. Sprinkle tops of tomatoes with the crumb shaker. Cover tomatoes liberally with crumb mixture. Press the crumbs into the tomatoes. Turn them over, make sure the backs are well-coated as well as the sides! Go to town. Have fun. Make a mess. Oh, there will be messes made!

Set breaded tomatoes aside and repeat until all tomatoes are breaded.  If there are any crumbs left sprinkle them between all the tomatoes and press down into the tomato. Don’t squish it, but make sure the crumbs are adhering. If they aren’t, then redip. Nothin’ to lose here! Just redip and rebread!

Spray breaded tomatoes with olive oil spray. Both sides. Don’t forget!

Bake at 450 for 12 minutes. (You can use a rack sprayed with olive oil.)

Or use non-stick aluminum foil, your choice. I’ve done it both ways and there may be slightly more crispness with the rack method.

Turn the tomatoes once. Be gentle and try to keep the coating intact.

Bake another 12 minutes or until crust is golden. Serve piping hot.

Yep. You heard that right. These need to be so hot you almost burn the roof of your mouth!
Taste them. If they need salt, add a pinch of Kosher salt. I find the parmesan cheese and pork rinds give it enough salt to please, but meh. You’re the boss of cheese and ketchup – nay, tomatoes!

We serve these with many different sauces such as Creamy Jalapeno Ranch, regular basic homemade Ranch, Remoulade, and this easy peasy little horseradish sauce I made up on the fly not too long ago. Whoooo doggie, it was awesome. (Oh and another thing! You think I don't know you're over there lookin' at this platter of oven fried veggies sayin', "Well that looks just like the pissboy (aka Mel Brooks - History of the World, etc)." And you could be right. They won't win any prizes in the 4H Beauty Pagent!

But they taste mighty fine. Especially when you apply another equation to reality:
(Low Carb Oven Fried Veggies - (minus) Deep Fried Transfat Laden High Carbage Crap)/Time = ΔHappy Place.

Now you might not know how to read that but here's what that equation says:
The difference of "Low Carb Oven Fried Veggies" when you subtract "McDonald's French Fries or BK's Onion Rings", divided by the amount of time you have low carbed, determines the amount or relative change in your scale of happiness! :) See, and you thought I couldn't do advanced math. Hell, Jethro and I don't go barefoot 'round here for nothin'!

Horseradish Dipping Sauce is a lightened dipping sauce
and works great with veggies, fish and chicken!
Horseradish Dipping Sauce
Yield – 1/2c Sauce
Prep Time – 5 Minutes
Cooking Time – 5 Minutes
Difficulty – Power tools will be involved

¼ c. Greek Yogurt
1/8 c. Sour Cream
1/8 c. Mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
2 Tbsp. Roasted Grape Tomatoes (about 6 grape tomatoes)
1 tsp. Lemon Juice

1 dash Worcestershire Sauce
1 dash Tobasco Sauce
2 Tbsp. Horseradish (we use Boar’s Head or Atomic brands)
½ Tbsp. Parsley, Italian Flat Leaf
¼ tsp. Granulated Garlic Powder
2 pinches Cayenne Pepper
2 pinches Black Pepper, freshly Ground
1 pinch Kosher Salt

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a small food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

SusieT’s Notes –This is another case of owning your recipe. Some people prefer a 1:1 ratio of parmesan to pork rinds. Some like it 2:1 parm to pork. For green ‘maters, I prefer the mix to be closer to 1:1 parm to pork rinds. The pork and tomatoes play well together. But don’t go getting the idea that it’s going to taste like bacon. Cuz it doesn’t. It tastes like a crispy breading!

Oven Fried Green Tomatoes plays well with Pulled Pork
Oven Fried Green tomatoes taste great with anything from Oven Fried Fish to Grilled Steak and Mixed Grills. Maybe the best meal we've had recently was the tango we danced with Oven Fried Green Tomatoes and our Pulled Pork and Coleslaw. Oh wow. It was delicious.

I’m warning you. Make these and you’ll find yourself on the slippery slope to oven fried okra. And oven fried onions rings are sure to follow! I’m not kiddin’. Been there done that. Bought the ‘Mater Queen t-shirt to prove it!

Summer time! And the livin’ is easy…fish are jumpin’.
And the ‘maters are ripe! (Ok, busted. Those are my lyrics! *blush*)

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