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Celt's Garden - Green Tomatoes and Sweet Onions

Ah, the tomatoes are finally ripening, and the Walla Walla sweets are in. Even before the tomatoes ripen, they can be eaten green. Look for tomatoes that are getting close to turning color, past the hard and sour stage. Slice the tomatoes along the latitude lines (the fat way), about a quarter inch thick. Dip in beaten egg and then cornmeal or finely squished bread crumbs. Fry up gently in a little butter or oil. Fine, fine with your sweet onion omelet.

Green tomatoes also make excellent chutney (see the chutney recipe in the earlier post "Summer Frenzy") and the American standard, picalilli.

Picalilli (green tomato relish, goes way back to our British heritage)

Finely chop green tomatoes, onions (Walla Walla sweets are excellent here, any onion will do), optional green peppers, optional cucumbers, optional green apple bits, liberally salt with kosher salt and mix up well.

Let the whole lot drain overnight, then measure how much you have. Scald pint canning jars. For each six ounces by volume, add 1/4 teaspoon each mustard seed and celery seed, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and pack into jars. Pour boiling apple cider vinegar over the picallili to within a half inch of the top, add a few cloves and peppercorns to each jar, seal and steam or water bath can for 10 minutes.

Sweet Onion Omelet

Slice a whole Walla Walla sweet onion. Heat a little butter or oil in a frying pan and sweat the onion slices over a low heat until they are limp, translucent and starting to brown. Meanwhile, scramble some eggs, scoot the onions aside and pour the eggs in the pan. Then you can pull the onions on top the eggs and they won't overcook. I like to flavor it up with a little fresh basil, also going strong this time or year, a clove of garlic and some slivers of hot red pepper, but just a pinch of black pepper is also good, lets the onions shine. Then put thinly sliced cheese on top and cover. Let cook on low heat until done.

Sweet Onion Tart

Pastry crust: 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour, kamut or any favorite, with 1/4 cup butter or coconut shortening mashed in. Keep working it until it has the consistency of coarse bread crumbs, then add 1/4 -1/2 cup cold water until you can make a soft dough that sticks together.

Press the dough in an oven proof dish. The motivated may roll it out. Into the crust, put sliced onions, thinly sliced cheese, fresh basil leaves, a little savory and thyme and a grating of nutmeg.

Egg filling: 3-4 eggs, beaten with a little milk and 1 tablespoon sherry, brandy or whiskey. Pour filling over onions and bake at 375 degrees F until it sets (a knife in the center comes out clean.) Put a few fresh basil leaves on top for your presentation.

Serve with steamed new potatoes and whatever fresh garden veggies look good this week.

You notice that this local eating business isn't such a big deal - once you start cooking with what you can grow yourself or buy locally, you fall right into the rhythm of the seasons.

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Comment by Charles Kelm on September 8, 2010 at 10:54am
Thank Celt - that sounds a lot easier than the way I had heard about. I wish I had known about all this last year, when I was left with most of my crop as green balls of disappointment.
Comment by Celt M. Schira on September 8, 2010 at 10:45am
Permie, The dining room works, too. Every year, I go out and get the green tomatoes at the end of September and lay them in shallow cardboard fruit flats, one or two layers thick. Line the flat with newspaper and put more newspaper between the layers and over top. Check every few days and pull out the ones that are starting to turn color to ripen up on the counter. They aren't as sweet as the vine ripened tomatoes, but they make great sauce. It's possible to have fresh tomatoes into December. Pull out and trash any that start to get nasty.
Comment by Charles Kelm on September 8, 2010 at 1:50am
I was listening to The Self Sufficient Homestead podcast today (might have been an old episode) and they mentioned that you can pick all the green tomatoes just before the first frost and wrap them individually in newspaper and put them in a cool, dark area. You then check them every 3 or so days for ripeness. Not sure if it would work or not. I will be trying this I am sure. Only a fraction of my many tomatoes have ripened so far.
Comment by Celt M. Schira on August 31, 2010 at 3:42pm
Heather, thank you so much for the chive seeds.
I'm glad you find the recipes inspirational. Sometimes people sloooow down walking past the house when I am cooking.
Comment by Heather K on August 31, 2010 at 3:17pm
Hey Celt1 Sure wish I lived closer! I would come over whenever I smelled some of your recipees, or you needed a help in the garden!
I've got chive seeds in the garden, but I need to remember to catch them before they fall and while they are dry for your seed project!

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