Category Archives: Lynn Spencer

Summer Recipes: Amy’s Fried Green Tomatoes

IMG_1346 (1280x853) Fried green tomatoes have been a favorite summer treat of mine since I was small. I learned how to make them from my grandmother and like pretty much everyone I know, I have my own particular way of making them. Some folks bread theirs only with flour, others mix in cornmeal and still others use breadcrumbs or panko. And then there are the spice mixtures and dipping sauces!

Personally, I lean toward simpler ways of making these. I’ve enjoyed the heavily breaded panko versions in trendy restaurants but the fried green tomatoes you get out of my kitchen are much more traditional (and easy to make!), and this is how it’s done:

You’ll need

1 green tomato
flour
white cornmeal*
1 egg
milk or buttermilk (optional)
salt
pepper
cajun-style seasoning (optional)
cooking oil (peanut is traditional but many use vegetable oil due to allergies)

Instructions

1. Slice up the green tomato. Don’t slice too thin or the tomato will fall apart a bit in frying.

2. On a plate, mix your flour and cornmeal. I normally use 1 part flour to one part cornmeal.

3. Add salt and pepper to your flour/cornmeal mixture, to taste. Sometimes I’ll throw in some cajun-style seasoning for a little variety.

4. Crack your egg into a small bowl. Some folks like to add a little milk or buttermilk, but you don’t have to. Things work fine either way.

5. Pour the oil into a skillet. The secret here is not to drown the tomatoes with oil. I never use more than 1/4 inch of frying oil at the very maximum. Sometimes you have to experiment a little; too little oil and the tomatoes stick and burn but too much and they get soggy.

6. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. While the pan is heating, dip your tomato slices in egg and then dredge in the flour mixture.

7. Fry the tomato slices until they start looking golden. If grease is splattering too much, it’s okay to turn down the heat a little bit but don’t take it below medium.

8. When the tomatoe slices are done, place on a paper-towel lined plate and serve.

Enjoy!

*note: For those who are concerned about GMO’s, upwards of 90% of the conventionally grown corn in the United States is genetically modified. If this is of concern for you, you will probably want to make sure that you buy organic cornmeal because conventional will almost certainly contain GMO corn. The same would apply for vegetable oil as most canola and soy are also GMO.

- Lynn Spencer

Earworm of the Day – I Could Be Nothing (Great Lake Swimmers)

“Hauntingly beautiful” and “banjo music” are not phrases that normally go together in my mind, but for this song by the Great Lake Swimmers, they truly do. The music, the imagery, all of it lingers in the mind long after the last note dies. Enjoy!

– Lynn Spencer

Earworm of the Day – Dance Me to the End of Love (The Civil Wars)

It seems like the songs which get stuck in my head rank among the world’s most annoying. So, when something as hauntingly gorgeous as this rendition of Dance Me to the End of Love lodges itself in my brain, I just have to share. I’ve heard other versions of this song, but I think I’m liking The Civil Wars’ take on it the best. Enjoy!

Lynn’s Christmas Sugar Cookies

IMG_0935 (1280x853) Christmas just isn’t the same for me without sugar cookies cut into all kinds of festive shapes. My mother has a huge old cookbook she got as a graduation gift, and she just keeps stuffing recipes written on cards and random slips of paper into it. This cookie recipe is one copied by my great-grandmother onto a faded sheet of stationery and as children we always lit up when we saw the familiar sheet of paper emerge from the big yellow cookbook. Over the years, the recipe has been updated by various family members (no more lard!!), but we still love to make and decorate these cookies. Something about them just says Christmas! Continue reading

Mmmm…Blackberries

blackberries For the past month, I’ve been getting the most wonderful blackberries at the farmers’ market. Supermarket blackberries aren’t bad, but these are sweeter and more flavorful. I’ve been gorging myself on berries and we’ve had so many that I’ve been trying to find new things to do with them. One can add them to salads and there’s the obvious blackberry cobbler, but I’ve been looking for new recipes. I’ve found some online, but one of my new favorites was given to me by a friend.

It’s a recipe for blackberry syrup and it’s delicious over pancakes, and even better over ice cream. I haven’t been able to find a printed version of this one, but I believe it may have been adapted from something in a back issue of Southern Living. Here’s how it works:

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Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

laughter It’s been a wild summer at work, so I’m starting to get a little punchy. And when I’m punchy, I’m also pretty easily amused. Since laughter’s a good stress reliever, it’s a great combination. I doubt I’m the only one under pressure, so here are some funny tidbits I found and just had to share.

This first is a hilarious column on wine selection and drinking that one of my college friends sent me. Enjoy!

This second tidbit has been around for quite a while, but it still cracks me up. If you search music videos for the “literal version” on YouTube, you’ll find many of these. However, this video for Total Eclipse of the Heart is still the best!

Happy Hump Day! The weekend is in sight!

-Lynn Spencer

It’s Hot and I Don’t Want to Cook

spaghetti squash Phew! Summer is here. Well, officially it’s not here for a little while longer, but since it started hitting 90+ degrees in my neck of the woods around Memorial Day, it certainly feels like summer. And when it’s summer, the last thing I want to do is heat up my kitchen while making long, involved dishes. I’m guessing some of you are thinking the same thing.

So, what to do? Well, I’ve been making lots of Farmer’s Market Salad for dinner. Basically, this involves hitting the local farmer’s market and picking up whatever looks good, and then making it into a salad. In the nice little southern town where I grew up, the word “salad” basically meant either (1)tossed salad with iceberg lettuce, anemic tomatoes and perhaps a cucumber, (2) something starchy wallowing in mayonnaise, or (3) something suspended in jello – this last one always ran the risk of being the dreaded lime jello-spinach combo.

Thankfully, my dear husband grew up in the south of France and from him I learned that good salad can be any combination of vegetables and even (!) fruit. This made dinner so much more creative. This time of year, there aren’t too many fresh salad greens left in season, but I can get radishes, peas, berries, onions, fennel and even some of the first tomatoes of the year. Yum!

In addition to the salads, I also like making quick hot dishes. This one with spaghetti squash is a huge favorite of mine. You’ll need a spaghetti squash, some garlic (either powder or a couple of minced cloves), fresh chopped parsley, shredded parmesan cheese and olive oil (I like the flavor of extra virgin, but if you don’t, light olive oil works too).

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Timeless

time My watch broke recently. Since I’ve been known to actually sleep with it on, I thought I’d be utterly lost without it. However, over a month has passed and I now find myself in no hurry to replace it.

If I REALLY need to see what time it is, there’s usually a clock around somewhere. Well, we do have a courthouse in the area that feels compelled to have broken clocks with all manner of incorrect times but otherwise it’s not a problem. Without constantly checking my watch, I find myself developing a much stronger internal sense of time. It’s even carrying over at home – I’ve started getting up on time before my alarm clock goes off!

There’s something grounding about finding my way through the rhythms of the day. I get things done and everything seems to just flow better now that I don’t look down at a wristwatch every few minutes. There is something very freeing about moving from morning to afternoon to evening and just getting daily tasks done without trying to force everything into little blocks of minutes. Even better, I don’t feel time pressure nearly as much. I think I may hold off on getting that new watch for a while.

I do wonder, though, how many others would like to try living without their watches a bit. Do you think you could do it?

– Lynn Spencer