published Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Green Tomato Bake is good for every gardener's leftovers

Good morning, readers. This morning we are out of pocket, in a town that has no blue pumpkins. I speak of those wonderful pumpkins that are really green, yet are named "blue." But that's another story, for curried pumpkin soup weather.

One young requester comes to you from that other town with many questions about food. She wants to know how to make easy baked chicken that is coated with ranch dressing and dried potato flakes (perhaps it was featured in Real Simple magazine?), and she wants recipes using acorn squash that minimize its stringiness. And she wants any chili with beans except one made with beef, and finally, white chocolate cookies.

Can you help? Please do.

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Now down to business. Margo Daugherty of Englewood, Tenn., has tomatoes in her garden still, "always green tomatoes at the last of the season. I have made pickles and frozen them and dehydrated them, but for those who like fried green tomatoes, here is a recipe to use them up and enjoy with a new recipe."

Green Tomato Bake

8 medium green tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices

Dash of Tabasco sauce, to taste

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

11/2 cups fresh bread crumbs

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 tablespoons butter, divided

Heat oven to 350 F. Toss tomato slices with Tabasco sauce.

Place half the tomato slices in the bottom of an oval casserole dish. Mix cheese, bread crumbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Sprinkle half the bread crumb mixture over tomato in casserole. Dot with half the butter.

Place the other half of the tomato slices on top of the bread crumbs, and cover with remaining bread crumb mixture. Dot with remaining butter.

Bake uncovered for 50 minutes.

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Here's Pat Kerr's version of a Texas sheet cake, in our reader's search for a non-gritty icing to be poured over the cake while it's still in the baking pan. This version calls for a little sour cream in the cake. I, who have a problem with overdoing ingredients, wonder what a mere 1/2 cup of sour cream could do for such a gracious plenty of batter. Can you explain, you food scientists?

Texas Cake

1 cup water

2 sticks butter or oleo

4 tablespoons cocoa

2 cups plain flour

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon soda

Bring to boil water, butter and cocoa. In a mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, eggs, sour cream, salt and soda. With electric mixer, beat all ingredients together until thoroughly blended. Bake on an 18- by 12- by 1-inch cookie sheet in a preheated 350 F oven for 20 minutes.

Icing

1 stick butter or oleo

6 tablespoons milk

4 teaspoons cocoa

1 box powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped nuts

Dissolve butter, milk and cocoa in a saucepan. Mix in powdered sugar, vanilla and nuts. Beat well and pour on cake in pan.

*

The discussion of Ina Garten's simple chicken recipe sent Yeast of the Ridge to her considerable cookbook collection. She came up with two that so pleased her, she thought she would share with you. "The first is for scones, and these look particularly healthful," she said. "The second is my attempt to find a good baked spaghetti recipe. This one is made with penne pasta, so I don't think it's the one requested, but it is definitely worth trying."

Maple-Oatmeal Scones

31/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 cup quick-cooking oats, plus additional for sprinkling

2 tablespoons baking powder

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

1/2 cup cold buttermilk

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or water, for egg wash

Glaze:

11/4 cups confectioners sugar

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Heat oven to 400 F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt. Blend the cold butter in at the lowest speed, and mix until the butter is in pea-size pieces. Combine the buttermilk, maple syrup and 4 eggs, and add quickly to the flour-and-butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough may be sticky.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface, and be sure it is combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin, and roll the dough 3/4- to 1-inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into 3-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are crisp and the insides are done.

To make the glaze: Combine confectioners sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. When the scones are done, cool for 5 minutes, then drizzle each scone with 1 tablespoon of glaze. Makes 14 large scones.

Variation: Sprinkle some uncooked oats on the top, for garnish. The warmer the scones are when you glaze them, the thinner the glaze will be.

Penne With Five Cheeses

Kosher salt

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup crushed tomatoes in thick tomato puree

1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (11/2 ounces)

1/2 cup shredded imported Italian fontina (11/2 ounces)

1/4 cup crumbled Italian Gorgonzola (11/2 ounces)

2 tablespoons ricotta cheese

1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced

6 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 pound imported penne rigate pasta

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

Heat oven to 500 F. Bring 5 quarts of salted water to a boil in a stockpot.

Combine all the ingredients except the penne and butter in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

Drop the penne into the boiling water, and parboil for 4 minutes. Drain well in a colander, then add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl, tossing to combine.

Divide the pasta mixture among 6 shallow ceramic gratin dishes (11/2- to 2-cup capacity). Dot with the butter, and bake until bubbly and brown on top, 7 to 10 minutes.

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The aroma of maple oatmeal scones is wafting, but only in my imagination. I plan to turn my imagination into something real, as soon as this column ends. Let us know what you are cooking.

To Reach Us

Fare Exchange is a longtime meeting place for people who love to cook and love to eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include precise instructions for every recipe you send.

* Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750.

* E-mail: janehenegar@gmail.com.

* Fax: 423-668-5092.

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