What can I say? Life got seven kinds of busy. However, on the plus side, I'm here now...right? And I have all sorts of things to post for you -- pictures, a recipe, stories, and more. So settle in for a good long post, full of all sorts of Kristel-approved fun.
First off, some seriously good banana bread. As you may remember, I have a thing about spotted bananas -- they totally gross me out. The cloying smell, the sick-sweet taste, the mushy texture...I wouldn't eat an overripe banana if you paid me. However, I'm also a farmer's daughter and I abhor throwing food away. So, when the repulsed get ripe bananas, the repulsed make banana bread.
Now for the sad news -- I have no idea what recipe I used to make this bread. I remember it called for four smushed bananas, I remember I used part applesauce and part oil, and I remember I added cinnamon and nutmeg. The precise recipe, however, I have no idea. I'm sad I can't share a recipe with you -- this banana bread was wonderful. The crumb was dense and tender, and the walnuts crunchy, and the banana flavor just powerful enough.
Next, an simple and fast dinner. I usually get home pretty late from work, and I always try to get something on the table as soon as possible. I don't like to eat late, so the faster I get dinner ready, the better. This meal was made on a whim, but it turned out to be so tasty, that I felt obligated to take a picture. Curly pasta, dressed in a light tomato sauce, with mini sun-dried tomato chicken sausages, mushrooms, and olives. A simple side salad, with a dollop of homemade guacamole for dressing.
Next up, unique, spicy, complex and completely delicious shrimp.
It started with a pound of shrimp and no ideas. D had requested black beans and rice as a side dish, and I had already made a mango peach salsa. I also knew I had some broccoli rabe to saute as another side, but what to do with the shrimp kept eluding me.
Finally, I poked my head into the refrigerator in despair and my eyes landed upon a bottle of ginger beer. I poured the ginger beer into bowl, added a chopped garlic clove, some hot sauce, some fresh ginger, and the shrimp. I marinated the shrimp in the ginger beer mixture for about an hour, and then sauteed them in a bit of canola oil until just done. Then, I boiled down the marinade until it reached a sticky consistency. I plated the shrimp on a pool of the sauce, and surrounded it with a mound of mango salsa, a scoop of beans and rice, and a stack of broccoli rabe. Lucky for me, the gamble played off -- the entire meal was wonderful, but the shrimp were absolutely phenomenal. The sauce was exquisite -- the sweet and spicy ginger added an exotic bite, the garlic an earthy undertone, and the hot sauce a contrasting spice. yum!
The shrimp and their sauce.
The rest of the plate -- the beans and rice, the mango salsa, and the broccoli rabe.
Next, the roasted lamb. I butterflied a boneless leg of lamb, rubbed the inside with salt and pepper, and laid whole rosemary stems and garlic cloves across the meat. I rolled it up and secured the leg with metal picks, and baked it until it was medium rare. The lamb was served with mint pesto (mint, olive oil, salt, garlic), thinly sliced summer squash sauteed with lemon basil, and roasted potatoes. Everything was delicious, perfectly seasoned, and well matched. We *loved* this meal.
And, last but not least, a recipe.
I had picked up some green tomatoes at the Farmer's Market, with the idea of frying them. You see, I have southern roots (my mother is from Alabama), I love the move Fried Green Tomatoes, and I have a great cast iron frying pan. Surely I was destined to know how to make fried green tomatoes (even though I'd never tasted, made, or seen them before).
I came up with the following recipe. I'm not sure how authentic it is, but it tasted pretty wonderful to us. Enjoy!
Fried Green Tomatoes
--4 large green tomatoes (or one for each person dining)
--1 cup flour
--salt and pepper, to taste
--4 large eggs
--1 tablespoon hot sauce of your choice
--1 cup cornmeal
--canola oil for frying
--hot sauce for serving
1) Slice the tomatoes into 1/2 inch think slices
2) pour the flour, salt, and pepper into one shallow bowl, the eggs (scrambled with a bit of water and the hot sauce) into another shallow bowl, and the cornmeal into another shallow bowl
3) heat an inch of oil in a large cast iron pan
4) dredge the tomato slices in flour, then dip them into the egg mixture, and then into the cornmeal (add more flour, eggs, or cornmeal to the bowls if you begin to run out)
5) as you take each slice out of the cornmeal, slide it carefully into the oil. Add each new slice as it is ready, being careful not to crowd the pan too much. If you add them too fast, the oil will drop too much in temperature and the tomatoes will get soggy instead of forming a crust
6) Check each slice periodically to see if the side in the oil has browned. If it has, turn it over and allow the other side to brown.
7) as each slice finishes frying, take it out of the oil with a slotted spatula and place on a plate covered in paper towels
Pile onto a plate, and offer hot sauce on the side.
M likes them cold the next day, in a pita pocket with hummus.