Too Many Green Tomatoes

The Crankee Yankee and I have eight raised bed gardens at the front of our house. This year we had a super-bumper crop of roma and cherry tomatoes, green peppers and garlic along with the other produce. By the end of the summer, I had made tons of tomato sauce, froze dozens of tomatoes and of course we ate as many as we could. The rest we gave away.

But when the tomatoes stopped producing, we still had loads of green tomatoes. What to do with them all? I started looking up recipes for them; coming from a long line of frugal women, it went against my grain not to use them.

I tried a green tomato salsa, which turned out to be “meh.” That went into our compost heap. I made a green tomato pie with lots of cheese, and that was ok. And of course I froze some green tomatoes; I’d hate it if I found the best recipe in the world for green tomatoes and then didn’t have any.

But when in doubt, make soup. Believe it or not, those little green tomatoes are fabulous for soup; who knew? I found the following recipe for curried green tomato soup.

Check it out and try it; honestly, it’s one of the best soups I’ve ever had!

Curried Green Tomato Soup
Adapted from the Boston Cooking School Cook Book, 1948

2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs minced onion
1 tsp curry powder
2 cups green tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper

Melt butter, add onion and cook slowly until soft. Add curry powder and tomatoes and cook until heated thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now here is where the recipe became mine…

*To the tomatoes I added:

5 cups or so of roasted peppers, mostly red but a couple small green, yellow and orange ones
2 cloves of roasted garlic, smashed
1 can of garbanzo beans
Cayenne pepper
Cumin
Coriander

I let this simmer a bit over medium-low heat, then added:

1 cup light coconut milk
More seasoning to taste

Using an immersion blender, I blended the soup until it was smooth but still had nice big pieces of pepper, tomatoes, and whole beans.

It turned out great! The green tomatoes added a nice amount of tartness and surprising crunch. I imagine if you cooked the soup longer than I did (about 15 minutes) the flavors will blend more and the tomatoes might become softer.

*The comments are not mine; but from the one who tinkered with this recipe to make it so delicious. I’m embarrassed not to have found her name; she deserves the credit!

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Mug Cakes—Who Knew?

I have just discovered mug cakes, and they are fabulous. What IS a mug cake, you ask? It is literally a little cake in a mug. It’s the perfect dessert for when you want to have something sweet at the end of a meal. The mug cake is not a whole cake, so you can have your cake and eat it, too—but you won’t have a whole cake sitting there with one slice  gone, tempting you to have just one more slice.

Mug cakes are surprisingly easy to make, and they are delicious. I have tried two recipes so far; one for a luscious lemon curd mug cake, and one for a deep fudgy chocolate one. Both are so easy to make and are sooooooo good.

And get this: they take less than five minutes to make! This includes mixing the ingredients, and popping it into the microwave for about 1 minute and 30 seconds or so. Then bingo: your mug cake is ready to eat.

Here are the recipes for both:

LEMONY MUG CAKE

INGREDIENTS:

4 T. all-purpose flour

1/4 t. baking powder

2 t. granulated sugar

3 t. *milk

1/4 t. vanilla extract

1/2 t. vegetable oil (canola works just fine)

1 t. fresh lemon zest

1 t. lemon curd

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine all ingredients except the lemon zest and the lemon curd into an oversized microwave-able mug. Mix with a small wisk or spoon until the batter is smooth. (Hint: dig deep into the mug to make sure that you have mixed the ingredients thoroughly. The first time I tried made a mug cake, I didn’t mix it enough so my last couple of teaspoons was mainly flour and baking powder. Yuck.)

2. Add in the lemon zest and lemon curd and mix until the batter is smooth.

3. Cook in the microwave for about a minute. Check it done-ness by inserting a knife all the way to the bottom; if it comes out clean, it’s done.

Let the cake cook a few minutes before eating. It’s at its best when eaten while warm (and also because why on earth would you want to wait any longer?) Add more lemon curd if you want to; it’s lemony deliciousness beyond compare. (I have been guilty of eating an entire jar of lemon curd myself.)

Here is the chocolate version:

CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 t. baking soda

1/8 t. salt

3 T. milk

2 T. canola oil

1 T. water

1/4 t. vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1. Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a microwave-safe mug; stir in milk, canola oil, water and vanilla extract. (HINT:  see hint above for the lemon mug cake; the same applies here.)

2. Cook in microwave until the cake is done in the middle; about 1 minute 30 seconds.

The next mug cake recipe I am going to try is the salted caramel one. (Can you hear the mug cake angels singing?) I can’t wait to try this one as I would prefer eating caramel anything at any time. (I would probably eat a shoe if it was dipped in caramel.) Once I taste-drive it, I’ll post the caramel mug cake recipe here.

Stay tuned.

*I use almond milk, and honestly—it doesn’t make a bit of difference at all.