Last week I officially found myself at the place any self-respecting food blogger should not be, and that is after three and a half years going a whole week without posting. By now we’ve experienced a couple of early frost days, some heavy rains, and, most of all, some of fall’s beautifully clear, picture perfect, sunny days of the year.
In the midst of this month’s frenzy of activity was the imminent need to move inside a couple of the herb potters and hup to it pulling out the last of the summer vegetables, after that is, plucking what remained upon the already withering plants.
Some additional assorted small green tomatoes emerged off of the final plants, along with a few I held back after preparing the other weeks Green Tomato Chutney. Unlike any other year, when I would likely move on towards the seasons change, I felt determined to capture the final moments of summer and specially prepare today’s Mini Fried Green Tomatoes. Besides, too, I had been looking for a reason to open the package of fresh cornmeal purchased at the Delaware Valley College Market that had been freshly ground out at Castle Valley Mill just a couple of miles away. I spent the day at Castle Valley Mill located in Doylestown just a few weeks back, along with the Chef, and his team from Emeril’s Chop House located at the Sands Hotel in Bethlehem. What a fun and fascinating day we shared, learning about the Mill, its history, and the renewed old tradition of milling fresh grains, including its production using original restored old equipment.
The remarkable Castle Valley Mill, with its warm, hospitable, and hard working owners, Fran and Mark Fischer, is another story I am eager to be sharing with you sometime soon but having been caught up in a whirlwind of the fall activities coupled with some specially unique events over these weeks it seemed that no matter how hard I worked, it was as equally challenging to get ahead. On the other hand, there are those moments in life that need to be captured in the now, just showing up, and being focused on the people and the places we are with at the moment.
Last week, my sister Carolyn, and her hubby, Roger, visited from Vegas. The time went so fast and I felt rather sad upon their leaving. One of the goals of the day for Carolyn who had been missing the east coast beauty of fall foliage, was to experience the splendor of the leaves changing color. We enjoyed one of the day’s touring around the Delaware River towns, including Frenchtown then driving further along to Clinton where we enjoyed a lovely lunch by a crackling fire at the Clinton House.
Afterward, heading on back, we strolled along the bridge on the border between New Hope, Pennsylvania and Lambertville, New Jersey, before sharing a bottle of nice wine by the fire at the Lambertville Station Restaurant.
The following day we enjoyed a drive into Philadelphia along two of my favorite wooded and water lined winding roads, the Lincoln Drive, and Kelly Drive, although I couldn’t photograph the emerging multi-colored fall foliage since I was driving, did I mention winding roads? Still, after the car tour enjoying some of the favorite old sites, we enjoyed a tapas sort of lunch at one of my favorite spots, a Jose Garces restaurant, Amada. Chatting and enjoying the special moment over platefuls of meats and select cheeses some tasty dipping sauces with cold glasses of house made Sangria, we were also were quite fond of this Fava and Lima Bean salad. Delicious.
No sooner had Carolyn and Roger left when I needed to be off to my semester long Korean Cuisine class at Drexel University, where we weekly meet for 6 hours absorbing a brief introduction before busying ourselves to the feature foods of the week. Breaking into teams, we busily cook for some hours before coming together over the large shared tables set center in the professional kitchen, enjoying our day’s preparations as a community, while learning too more extensively about the history and cultural components of traditional Korean foods and dishes.
I love the Korean Cuisine Course and will be sharing more about it with you shortly.
Also in the mix has been my grandson, the J-Dude’s cross country season, including getting up around 5:30 am each Saturday morning to arrive in time for the meets. This photo Saturday we traveled to the Delaware shore area where are AOC club did well in the medal category including the Dude set by himself on the right. Yes, that is the looks of 9 and 10 year old boys. Chuckle.
Afterward, we had a sort of tailgate out of one of the vans. The kids had a good time. This was a cake walk sort of Tailgate being the pros as we are on the Tailgate trail, though we also did some big scale grilling and cooking in team tradition when our American University field hockey team played Princeton some weeks back. Yes, a busy but really special fall it has been.
We also attended the festivities on the inauguration of my best friend in high school, Mary Ann Baenninger, PhD, as the President of Drew University in New Jersey. Mary Ann was pretty much one of those friends if you are lucky enough to have in your life, easily manages to make a huge impact on you forever, and by the speeches on her special day, it was pretty clear that she has continued to do this every path along her way. How cool is it though to think of the person you used to stay up with talking into the wee hours of the morning, figuring out life, becomes the President of a University? Well, to be accurate, she arrived at Drew not long after her ten years as President of the College of St. Benedict in Minnesota. Either way, it really is something special. The first night held a cocktail reception and a lovely dinner with two of the introductory speeches provided by each of Mary Ann’s children, Maggie, and Danny.
And I really loved sharing the special precious time with all of her family. Above is Mary Ann’s Dad, “Len” we kind of always referred to him by his first name when we were young too. And beside him, Mary Ann’s beautiful daughter, Maggie.
After the dinner was a spectacular concert provided by diverse musical areas of the university, highly respected for its performance studies. Above, some of the musicians were tuning up prior to the event. There was an African sounds group, a symphony, a flute production, a chorus, a jazz band, each displayed with such impressive professional talent.
The following day was the installation followed by a campus wide buffet luncheon. I’m happy to have this shot of Mary Ann and me. The installation was so amazing, but my favorite part was Mary Ann’s speech on that Inauguration day which was pragmatic, while also being over the top energizing, and highly inspiring. Pure Mary Ann. And my blue dress, a Drew University color was chosen earlier in the week after a luncheon with another high school friend, Maureen (Moe) from our small, private all-girls, Melrose Academy, though Maureen arrived the year Mary Ann graduated.
While Aunt Betty and I enjoyed some time together this month over various lunches, she celebrated her 89th birthday down the shore, and so we shall revert back and celebrate the event together shortly. So then, wrapping up this month was the 88th Birthday celebration of my father -in law, Bob, aka: Grandad. Lots of the family were able to gather together at the historic Duling-Kurtz Inn in Exton which brought lots of fun and special moments to the occasion.
And so you see, there has been quite a lot to go along with those little fried green tomatoes over the season. And though I realize you won’t likely capture this key ingredient until the season comes again, perhaps this sharing makes it rather fitting as part of life, capturing those special moments as they come upon us, just showing up, and being focused on the people and the places we are with at the moment. See you soon.
- 8 little medium sized green tomatoes, approximately, sliced around 3/4 inch thick
- 1/4 cup flour for dredging tomato slices
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2-3 shakes Tabasco sauce
- 1/4 cup flour for coating mixture
- 1/4 cup cornmeal (Castle Valley Mill brand if you can get it!)
- couple pinches coarse kosher salt
- few grinds cracked black pepper
- peanut or canola oil for frying
- * your choice dipping sauce for accompaniment
- Prepare a parchment lined baking sheet for dipped tomato slices. In a bowl mix together the beaten eggs with the Tabasco. In another bowl mix together the flour, cornmeal, a good pinch salt and a few grinds fresh cracked pepper. Dredge tomato slices in flour, shake off excess then one at a time, dip dredged tomato first into the egg mixture, then into the batter placing the coated slices onto the lined baking sheet. Refrigerate tray for about fifteen minutes to firm up coating. Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet, a deep fryer may alternatively be used. Fry tomatoes until golden brown before turning over and cooking until golden brown on the other side. Serve hot immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.