Friday, November 1, 2013

What to do with Green Tomatoes?

What with moving to a new house this past Spring, I didn't get around to planting any tomatoes. My sister-in-law did, and she was supplying me with tomatoes all season. But as anyone who plants tomatoes in the north knows, once we get a couple of cold snaps, the tomatoes just give up on any idea of ripening. And so we come to the question: "What to do with green tomatoes?"

I had never even tasted green tomatoes before, so I am unfamiliar with the knowledge of what flavor they might blend with. I have the idea to try making my Guatemalan Green Sauce (Salsa Verde) with them and see what differences come out in the flavor. Meanwhile, I saw many pies out on the web that were either green tomatoes with apples, or alone. I prefer to make larger pies, so I used my 9 1/2-inch plate, which has a very deep dish. I set down what I thought would be a good start for a recipe, and got down to business. This is what I wrote:

Green Tomato Apple Streusel Pie

2 1/2 cups green tomatoes, peeled, sliced thinly
4 cups baking apples, peeled, cored, sliced thinly
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Green Tomato Apple Streusel Pie
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter for dotting pie

1 single pie pastry, fitted into a 9 1/2 or 10-inch pie plate, crimped high

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

I proceeded to make the pie, combining in a large bowl the tomato and apple slices, then the lime zest and juice with the salt. In a small bowl I combined the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, sugar and flour. This was poured over the apples and tomatoes and tossed well, then left to macerate while I prepared the pie pastry and made the streusel. The streusel was made by combining all ingredients except the nuts and mixing well with fingers until it started to make large clumps. The nuts were added last, and I set that aside. I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. I poured the tomatoes and apple mixture into the pie shell and topped with the streusel. The pie baked for 1 hour.

I had no idea what to expect for flavor. There was a slight different flavor, but not enough to jump out and make one wonder about it. I did add way too much sugar. The pie is terrific, but awfully sweet. I would cut back the amount of sugar in the apple and tomato mixture to either 1 cup or 1 1/4 cup. Certainly 1 1/2 cups was overdoing a good thing. The other thing is to possibly use 1 1/4 cups of sugar, and then top with a second crust or a lattice crust and omit the streusel.

Other than that, I love the pie. I am planning to make another one and see how my changes make it come out. Meanwhile, there is nothing a sweet tooth wouldn't enjoy. It was a very good first experiment with green tomatoes.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.