Waste not, want not.– Old timey proverb
Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of those who are poor and hungry. — Pope Francis.
What do you mean you’re all done? You haven’t touched it! You can’t throw that away. No. Do not throw it in the sink. Do not throw it in the sink! DO NOT THROW.. Do you know how long I spent growing/cooking that–OH COME ON! — me, to a certain kid in my house.
So yeah. Not a fan of wasting food. Especially if I happened to grow it. Tonight I made a stir fry with a new vegetable in it, bitter melon. I’d heard of its cancer fighting properties and ability to regulate blood sugar, so when I saw it at the giant Sacramento farmer’s market on Sunday, I thought I’d give it a go.
Made a nice stir fry using some bottled teriyaki sauce (Soy Vey if you were wondering). Really good flavor from the noodles, the egg, the broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, beet greens, and sauce. Despite the sauce–the bitter melon was definitely more bitter tasting than melon tasting. But hey, I made it, so I ate every bite on my plate. Might even add it again sometime, as supposedly one develops a taste for it eventually. We’ll see.
But I digress. I really can’t stand wasting food. And if I grew it, I become even more militant about ensuring it ALL gets used. Every. Last. Edible. Bit. The rest gets composted.
Now, I’m not the first to think this way. Far from it. My great grandparents likely called it nothing, because that’s just what everyone did. The good folks at the California Food Literacy Center are working on bringing it back into fashion with their “Fruit to Root” concept. I call it “I can’t bear to think of throwing away something that I’ve given my blood, sweat and occasionally tears to grow” so of course we’re making apple jelly out of the discarded peels and cores leftover from canning apple sauce! And yes–the carrot tops make a fine pesto.
And the green tomatoes left on the vines after I take them out to make room for our fall/winter garden? Well, since you asked…
The wife and I went out on an actual date the other night. We stopped by local favorite the Shady Lady, for a couple of cocktails but also their most excellent fried green tomatoes. The sauce is also pretty much all that is good in the world on a plate.
I was inspired. I knew I couldn’t replicate the sauce, so I thought I’d make up another type of sauce for my own fried, unripe tomatoes. The very next night, I cooked up a batch and they were pretty good if I do say so myself. The one mistake I made was using course ground cornmeal instead of the fine stuff. So it was a little too crunchy. I’m not an expert on this, so just use whatever recipe you have on hand or prefer. But the sauce turned out alright. Put it on the aforementioned fried green tomatoes, on a sandwich, on a cheeseboard (or a spoon if you’re me).
Garden buddy number one helped me put it together.
Recipe: Saucy Fried Green Tomato Sauce
3 cups green tomatoes
1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 to 1/2 stick of butter
Batch of fried green tomatoes using your favorite recipe
To begin, measure out about three or so cups of washed, unripe cherry tomatoes. Or unripe larger tomatoes. The point is that the tomatoes are unripe. Unripe people, unripe. But if a few ripeys get in, the world will not end. I hope.
Then have your kitchen helper put them in a pot.
Add in the vinegar, brown sugar (honey might also be good–use what you have) and cinnamon. Let it start to bubble up all delicious like over medium heat.
Let that bubble for a bit. The maters might start to pop. Use a boat motor blender (also called an immersion blender) to puree it and let it reduce down until you scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon and it takes a second or two to fill back in. Have a kid use a dull knife to cut up the butter and add it into the sauce. Oh yeah–turn off the heat first. Stir in the butter. Add it in bit by bit, until it meets your particular taste specifications.
I served it under fried green tomatoes. I mention that in case you forgot the earlier part of the post. I do get rather long in the tooth, so I really couldn’t blame you if you did. It isn’t exactly what you’d call pretty–kind of a brownish green. So dress it up with some bright stuff like fresh cherry tomatoes, basil, maybe some red peppers. I think this would go well with roasted beets or other root vegetables too. If you end up making it, let me know if you liked it.