Appetizer

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green TomatoesThis is the first time I’ve had GREEN tomatoes in my life! Yes, my whole life. Say, WHAT?!? I actually got these beautiful green tomatoes from Travis’ family in Ohio at VanScoy Farms. They always have the tastiest veggies at the farm that make family gatherings that much better. I’m pretty sure my sister-in-law has renounced eating any cucumber that’s not from VanScoy Farms. Ok, ok. She hasn’t gone that far but her struggle is real. And I totally agree. Fruits and vegetables from ANY farm or local farmer’s market are worth a shot. They will change your life and the way you think of food. That’s one reason I love late spring and summer so much! Also, summer break from school. I’m just being real.

Fried Green TomatoesThis recipe is a good introduction to these mysterious green vegetables. Or maybe tomatoes are fruits, not vegetables…this debate never seems to end but I think they’re fruit. I’ll stick with fruit. You can correct me if I’m wrong. Anyways, the perfect part is that since green tomatoes have a little more structure to them and are a little less ripe than red tomatoes, they hold up to being fried like they were made for it!

Fried Green TomatoesI’m pretty sure the fried green tomatoes would have been devoured all by themselves, but Travis and I had to add some hot sauce and ranch dressing to bring these little guys to the next level. I’m not even sure that either of those are “traditional” pairings for fried green tomatoes. Whether or not, definitely worth a try. They were AMAZING!


Fried Green TomatoesSometimes fried foods can seem heavy and just unhealthy. First of all, the coating is light but *super* crispy thanks to the cornmeal and panko breadcrumb combo. Also, the tomatoes are only fried briefly since it’s just to cook the coating really. So don’t you worry, the tomatoes remain fresh tasting and delicious despite the panic the word “fried” can bring. Don’t panic, friends. Just try it.

Fried Green Tomatoes
Yields 16
Crispy and fresh fried green tomatoes
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 green tomatoes
  2. 1 cup flour
  3. 1/2 cup milk
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  6. 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  7. salt and pepper, to taste
  8. vegetable oil to fry tomatoes
Instructions
  1. Slice green tomatoes into slices about 1/2 inch thick. I was able to yield about 4 slices per tomato.
  2. Mix together flour and a pinch of salt and pepper on a plate. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together milk, eggs, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a pan (I used an 8x8 pan). Set aside.
  4. On a separate plate, mix the cornmeal, panko breadcrumbs, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. Dredge the sliced tomatoes in the flour, coat with the egg mixture, and then coat with the cornmeal mixture.
  6. Heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Test to see if it's hot enough by tossing a few breadcrumbs in. If the oil bubbles, it should be hot enough.
  7. Fry the tomatoes on each side until golden brown.
  8. Transfer to paper towels and sprinkle with salt while still hot.
  9. Serve with ranch dressing or hot sauce, optional.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Spinach Artichoke Cheese Ball

Spinach Artichoke Cheese BallI’m oh-so-sorry that it’s been awhile since my last post. These past couple of weeks have been filled with lots of activities including a long-awaited friend’s wedding in Pittsburgh (Yay for seeing friends from all around the country!!), an unexpected family gathering, and a surprise trip with my parents (surprise for them, not us) to a cabin in Ohio. All this among the general craziness of the last few weeks of the school year. Whew! Am I tired? Yes. Does a delicious spinach artichoke cheese ball make up for it? ABSOLUTELY!

Spinach Artichoke Cheese BallThis was a bit of an experiment that turned out wonderfully! I love spinach artichoke dip…love, love, LOVE. I also love cheese balls. There’s no other way to explain how this recipe came to be but that I love them both and wanted them at the same time. Hence, the spinach artichoke cheese ball.

Spinach Artichoke Cheese BallYou definitely need to refrigerate the cheese ball before serving if you want it to hold its shape. Otherwise you’ll end up with more of a thick dip. I’m totally cool with that too. Just giving you all a heads up so that when you choose not to read the recipe all the way through I’m not responsible for the fact that you have 5 minutes until the party and a cheese ball that’s more of blob. But hey, it would be a delicious blob!


Spinach Artichoke Cheese BallAlso, just as an FYI, it helps to chop the spinach and artichokes into small pieces. Even though they are cooked briefly, it will make scooping SO much easier if they are chopped up well. There’s nothing worse than a long string of spinach that just does not want to be scooped up with a chip. Okay, yes, there is probably something worse than that but I’m going for dramatic effect here. Plus, you might as well not find out so…chop, chop!

Spinach Artichoke Cheese Ball
Delicious spin on a traditional cheese ball
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 can artichoke hearts (15-ounce), drained and finely chopped
  4. 1 bag fresh baby spinach, chopped (10-ounce)
  5. 12 ounces cream cheese, softened (1 1/2, 8 ounce containers)
  6. 1 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  7. 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  8. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and artichoke hearts and saute approximately 2 minutes.
  2. Add the spinach and salt and pepper. You don't need much salt because the Parmesan cheese will add salt as well. Saute until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to let cool.
  3. Cream the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth.
  4. Stir in the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and spinach mixture until combined.
  5. Crisscross 2 pieces of plastic wrap on top of each other and place the cheese mixture in the middle.
  6. Using the plastic wrap, shape the cheese mixture into a ball (making sure to cover the cheese ball completely with the plastic wrap). Place the cheese ball in a small bowl to help hold its shape.
  7. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to one day to set.
  8. Serve with crackers or chips.
Notes
  1. Make sure to chop the spinach and artichoke hearts into fairly small pieces, since it will be easier to scoop up with a cracker or chip when there are smaller pieces.
  2. The longer you leave the cheese ball in the fridge, the more firm it will set. Without refrigeration the cheese ball is a bit loose.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/