Kitchen Adventures: Frying fresh garden vegetables

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Food column by Becca Owsley

By Becca Owsley

This adventure starts in the garden with a couple things to do with fresh vegetables.


Since fresh always is better, garden season is great for people who love to cook. Coming up with new ideas to prepare garden goodies also is fun.

After I interviewed Ruth Hayden, who was featured on last week’s Wednesday’s Woman page, she handed me her recipe for Summer Squash Patties. With some squash from the garden that needed to be eaten, I tried her recipe.

While I love cooking with fresh vegetables, my dogs don’t like it as much. They like to come in to swoop up whatever might fall on the floor, but they are not fans of vegetables. In fact, they usually either sniff them and walk on or chew on them a second, make a funny face and spit them out. They tend to prefer cheese, bread or bacon dropped on the floor. They’re not very health conscious.

To continue the veggie fry up, I fried green tomatoes.

LuLu’s in Gulf Shores has amazing fried green tomatoes. After picking up her cookbook during a visit earlier this month, I decided to give them a try.

First off, this recipe actually includes four recipes, which served as a reminder to read a recipe carefully before buying ingredients or preparing the dish.

None of the extra recipes were complicated. I did leave out the hot sauce in the main recipe and the jalapeno peppers in the WOW Sauce because, for my taste, it was spicy enough. I also cooked them in an electric skillet instead of a cast iron skillet, mainly because of convenience. Cast iron skillets usually produce a great result when frying food.

The tomatoes were great but the WOW sauce made the dish. In fact, the left over sauce tasted great on squash patties.

Because it was around supper time when this fried veggie fest was over, I decided to make a fried green tomatoes BLT. I had this dish for the first time at Back Home in Elizabethtown and have seen it several other places since then, including LuLu’s.

Using the fried green tomatoes puts a great twist on the classic sandwich.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Summer Squash Patties
2 cups finely chopped summer squash
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup self-rising flour
½ cup self-rising cornmeal
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying 

Combine all ingredients and add a little milk or water if necessary to give the consistency of think pancake batter.
Drop by spoonfuls into hot oil in a skillet
Cook three minutes on each side or until golden brown.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a drop or two of hot sauce if desired.

Recipe from Ruth Hayden.

LuLu’s Fried Green Tomatoes
2 cups LuLu’s Crazy Frying Flour (recipe included)
2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon LuLu’s Perfect Pepper Hot Sauce
4 green tomatoes
6 cups peanut or vegetable oil or enough to fill a skillet about two inches deep
LuLu’s WOW Sauce (recipe included)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees to keep the finished tomatoes warm while the others are frying.
Place frying flour in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk and pepper to sauce. Slice green tomatoes ¼ inch think and set aside.
In a cast iron heavy skillet, heat oil to 355 degrees over medium high heat. Use a candy or fry thermometer for accuracy or heat until a little flour flicked into the oil sizzles.
Dip tomatoes in buttermilk, then dredge tomatoes in frying flour. Dip back into milk mixture and dredge again in frying flour, coating tomatoes thoroughly.
Fry tomatoes in small batches, about 4 slices at a time, until golden brown, approximately two minutes on each side, turning once during the cooking.
Drain on a paper bag on a cookie sheet. Place fried tomatoes in oven while others are cooking. When all batches are completed, serve immediately with WOW Sauce.

LuLu’s Crazy Frying Flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons LuLu’s Crazy Creola Seasoning (recipe below)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper 

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Makes two cups.

LuLu’s Crazy Creola Seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
4 teaspoons granulated onion
¼ cup paprika
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons white pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves 

Combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container.
Makes ½ cup.

LuLu’s WOW Sauce
2 whole fresh jalapeno peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Creole mustard
¼ cup horseradish

Coat peppers with olive oil. Char in a hot skillet or under a broiler. The trick is to blacken the skins evenly by turning them frequently.
Once peppers are charred, place them in a plastic bag or covered bowl for about 15 minutes. As the peppers cool, the heat and moisture sweat the skins from the peppers. Once skins are removed, cut peppers in half, carefully remove seeds and finely chop.
Combine chopped peppers, mayonnaise, mustard and horseradish in a bowl. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate.
Makes 1 ½ cups.

All LuLu’s recipes are from “Crazy Sista Cooking” by Lucy Anne Buffett.