One of our favorite things about living in the Temecula Valley is that while it has recently experienced a huge influx of upscale shops and dining (which we love), the soul of Temecula will always be the earth. We grow things here: grapes, olives, avocados and a huge variety of fruits and vegetables. With that said, we had no idea of the bounty that the valley offered until we joined the Inland Empire CSA. The Inland Empire CSA offers a box of fresh, locally grown organic produce each week and we are always delighted with what we find inside.
With sunshine on our faces and crisp air in our lungs, we wandered the Old Town Temecula Farmer’s Market. The rains had kept us (and others) from enjoying the usual treasure hunt for several weeks, so we lingered longer than usual to reconnect with the farmers and vendors. The farm-fresh eggs and honey, the chilies and ceviche, the artisan wares . . . . It all wanted to come home with us!
But, the Sage Mountain Farm booth is our “go to” spot, so we headed on over to pick up our box. I am a bit of a rookie at this, so I frequently encounter ingredients that I have never used before. I turn to Chef Andrea for advice and she always comes through. Please enjoy my first-ever attempt at Fried Green Tomatoes . . . they are super easy to prepare and turned out delicious!
Fried Green Tomatoes
4 large or several small green tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch rings
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Pete’s Firehouse BBQ Rub – Original
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
In a deep-fryer, preheat oil to 350 degrees F
Season tomatoes, on both sides, with salt and pepper. Place flour and garlic salt in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, beat eggs with the milk. In another dish, mix bread crumbs with Pete’s Firehouse BBQ Rub and cayenne. Dredge tomatoes through the flour, then the eggs, and then through the bread crumbs. Panko gives the tomatoes an excellent crunch and texture. Add only a few pieces to the fryer at a time, so they can cook evenly, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve with Sour Cream Dip.
Sour Cream Dip
16 ounces of sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons Pete’s Firehouse BBQ Rub – Original
2 scallions, white and green parts, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
We love to feature other local ingredients in our cooking and Pete’s Firehouse BBQ Rub was a slam dunk for our seasoning. We also used it in our marinade for the chicken wings pictured, along with about a 1/2 cup each of Temecula Olive Oil Company’s Garlic Olive Oil and Ponte NV Sherry. The sweet and savory flavors are a perfect match for the chicken and complimented the tartness of the Fried Green Tomatoes. You can find Pete’s on Facebook and at the Murrieta Certified Farmer’s Market on Sundays. Their ribs, brisket, chicken and pulled pork sell out every week!
Thanks again to the Inland Empire CSA and other local vendors who give us the raw materials we need to cook something healthy and unique for our families.