Fried Green Tomatoes

Corn meal above cracker crumbs

“I miss the smell of coffee, and bacon fryin’. Oh and what I wouldn’t give for a plate of fried green tomatoes like we used to have at the cafe.”  Remember that line by Ninny from “Fried Green Tomatoes?” 

I love fried green tomatoes ~ I’m referring to the great vegetable now, not the movie; although, the movie is one of my absolute favorites.  Right now is the time of year to be frying up some green tomatoes as they’re the perfect size and they’re firm enough that they remain firm after frying. 

Bacon drippings or lard is the traditional way to fry green tomatoes but, there are a lot of variations with whether to dip them in milk or eggs and to bread them with cornmeal, flour or cracker crumbs.  I’ve always made some with corn meal and some with flour.  This time though, I made half with corn meal and the other half with cracker crumb breading.  I could not believe how delicious they were with the cracker crumbs!  It’s a bit of nostalgia for me because it reminds me of Grandma’s fried green tomatoes dipped in egg and then breaded and fried to perfection in lard. 

“Towanda!!!”  “I’m older and I have more insurance!”  What an incredible scream from Evelyn when she was cut off in the parking lot and crashed into the snippy girls’ car in “Fried Green Tomatoes!” 

Here’s the recipe:

Fried Green Tomatoes


5 green tomatoes, sliced ½” thick
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon McCormick’s Seasoned Pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup saltine crackers, crushed
2 eggs, beaten
Cooking oil or bacon drippings


In a small bowl, stir together flour, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
Crush the crackers into another bowl.
In a third bowl, beat the eggs.
Melt oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Dip each tomato slice in the egg to coat.
Then into the flour mixture.
Dip the floured tomato slice back into the egg mixture.
Now finish by dipping it into the cracker crumbs.
Place the breaded tomato into the hot skillet.
Fry until golden on each side, about 4-5 minutes for each side.
Serve hot.

These fried green tomatoes will make you scream ~ TOWANDA!

Visit my friend, Linda’s blog, at My Kind of Cooking for her great recipes and a chance to win her cookbook.  She’s in Minnesota now at the Mid-States Trade Show, showcasing her new cookbook. 

Grilled Italian Sausage and Peppers

Add some spice into your next barbecue with quick and delicious Italian sausage!  Just light the grill, throw on a few sausages.  What could be easier?  There is an art to it though and Bill has it down pat!

The problem is they may burn easily.  I used to parboil them in water before Bill grilled them and then realized that even if a little beer is added to the water, all the parboiling did was pull the flavor out of the sausages and make flavored water in the pot.

Now they go straight from the refrigerator to the grill.  Bill’s secret to grilling the Italian sausage is to grill them on low heat.  It keeps the flavor in and cooks the middle perfectly.  And he uses tongs, no forks!  Once the skin is pierced, you’re in for some flare ups which leads to burnt sausages.  It takes a while longer to grill them this way but, the appearance is great and they’re packed with delicious flavors. 

Of course, sautéed red peppers are almost mandatory for topping Italian sausage sandwiches!  I go for hot Italian sausage, Bill likes the mild.  They’re great and grill them up Bill’s way for the best Italian sausage and pepper sandwich!

Grilled Italian Sausage and Peppers


6 Italian sausages
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 large white onion, sliced
1 small tomato, cut into wedges
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar


Slow-cook the sausages over low grill heat.
In a skillet, heat olive oil.
Add peppers and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
Place onions in with peppers.
Add remaining ingredients and sauté for about 3 minutes.
Cook until onions are limp.
Assemble Italian sausage on a bun, adding pepper mixture.
Top with horseradish sauce or mustard.

Ummmm, gooood!

Visit my friend, Linda’s wonderful blog, My Kind of Cooking, for a chance to win her great cookbook!

Peachy Keen Ice Cream

Dad loved his ice cream!  I love ice cream!  It’s my favorite “food.”  I could eat it any time of the day.  I am sure I inherited this trait from Dad.  

It was a wonderful thing when Mom went to the basement and pulled out the ice cream maker on a hot summer day.  She mixed fresh fruit with milk and cream to make a custard, then placed it in the tall metal can and inserted the paddle.  Dad packed lots of rock salt and ice around it and then the hard part started ~ the hand cranking.  It was a messy experience with the melted rock salt and ice slurry that I thought was great fun!  As the crank became hard to turn, after about a half-hour, the ice cream was ready to eat.  I do it the easy way now with an electric ice cream maker!

Old way -
hand crank

                                          My way -

Peaches are great also.  Remember the other day when I made peach cake?  I bought enough peaches to make peach ice cream also.  They were excellent juicy Michigan peaches packed with flavor and perfect for ice cream.

 Cooling over ice

Here’s the recipe:

Peach Ice Cream


2 cups fresh peaches, peeled and chopped
1¼ cups sugar, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons peach brandy
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 egg yolks


In a bowl, combine peaches, ½ cup sugar, lemon juice and peach brandy. 
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally.
Remove peach mixture from refrigerator and drain juice into a small bowl.
Return peaches to refrigerator.
In a saucepan, combine ¾ cup sugar, heavy cream, milk and vanilla.
Bring just to boil.
In bowl, whisk egg yolks.
While whisking, slowly stream in about 1/3 of the boiled cream mixture.
Mix well.
Continue whisking and add remaining cream mixture.
Return to the heat and cook while stirring constantly.
Mixture will thicken as it returns to a boil.
Remove from heat and strain into a bowl set over ice.
Add the reserved peach juice.
Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s directions to freeze. 
After the ice cream begins to stiffen, when almost done, add the peaches and continue to freeze until ready to eat.


Peach ice cream is the real scoop!

By the way, the average American consumes more than 23 pints of ice cream a year.  Are you the average American? 

Visit my friend, Linda’s blog, My Kind of Cooking, for the prize winning recipe at the fair and for a chance to win her great cookbook!

My Homemade Ketchup

I love mustard but, ketchup is an American icon for hamburgers and French fries!

Years ago, Dad not only had the garden at home but after his retirement, he started the first community garden in Louisville and had a garden plot there as well.  The amount of tomatoes he raised was amazing.  

Mom canned a lot of tomatoes, made tomato juice and then she made ketchup.  Bubba reminded me of how much he likes homemade ketchup and that I haven’t made it in a long while.  So, yesterday I made ketchup.  The aroma of it cooking is unbelievable, very spicy and good. 

This is sweet, tangy and spicy and it takes time for it to cook down.  It’s easy but, it’s definitely not for an impatient cook because it takes time!  I ended up with close to 3 pints of ketchup from this recipe.  

I let it cook down until it was very thick, mainly because Bill likes it thick, not “runny” like Mom made it.    If you don’t want it so thick, cook a shorter period of time and you will have a higher yield.  Another good thing is that you know exactly what is in it, no preservatives!

If you like ketchup, you should really try the homemade kind!  Add more sugar if you like it sweeter, more vinegar for a bite and then start in with the spices until it suits your taste.  Add more red pepper flakes if you like some heat with it.  Experiment!

Waiting to be skinned and chopped

Cooking with the spice bundle

Strained and cooking down ~ dark, rich color from the spices

Ummm, mmmm!!!

My Homemade Ketchup


½ bushel canning tomatoes, about 30 pounds
3 large onions, cut into large chunks
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons allspice
2 tablespoons onion powder
3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground coriander
10 garlic cloves
6 cinnamon sticks
5 tablespoons peppercorns
3 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons celery seeds


Wash, peel and chop tomatoes.
Add to a very large heavy pot and bring to a boil.
Add onions, vinegar and sugars.
Lower heat to a simmer.
Stir in next 9 ingredients.  Mix well.
Cut a square of cheesecloth.
Place on the cheesecloth the garlic cloves, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, mustard seeds and celery seeds.
Tie into a bundle, drop into tomato mixture.
Stir it all well.
Cook for about 1-2 hours until it is about half of what you started with, stirring frequently.
Remove cheesecloth bundle, set aside.
Carefully put tomato mixture through a sieve into a large bowl.
Return strained mixture and cheesecloth bundle to pot.
Continue to simmer, stirring very frequently so as not to burn.
This could take another 30 minutes to an hour, depending on heat level and how thick you like it.
Cook until it reaches the desired consistency.
Pour into sterilized jars.
Cover with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate.

It’s lick-your-lips delicious!

Visit my friend, Linda’s blog, My Kind of Cooking, for the prize winning recipe at the fair and for a chance to win her great cookbook!

Fabulous Fish Tacos

I tried something new for us last night for dinner ~ fish tacos.  Kathy, our daughter-in-law, was talking a while back about how great fish tacos are.  I’m always looking for ways to include more fish in our weekly menus and finally got around to making them for dinner the other night.

Most times, in restaurants and in recipes, the fish is deep fried.  It’s delicious that way, but I thought it was better left to the restaurants.  I sautéed orange roughy filets in the skillet with a little olive oil and the rest is the typical taco thing, except for using mozzarella cheese.  Yes, mozzarella!

Bill and I thought they were delicious!  The concept is so easy and they’re healthy also.  As we were eating them, Bill thought they were missing something and then when we had just finished eating, he said, “Lettuce! We forgot to get the lettuce out!”  I had both shredded cabbage and shredded lettuce in the refrigerator and they’re still in there.  So, be sure to include that in yours!

So Kathy, the next time you and Matt are here for a meal, it will be fish tacos!  Unless it’s breakfast time…

Orange Roughy Fish Tacos


1½ pounds orange roughy or another flaky white fish
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cucumber, chopped
½ green bell pepper, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
Shredded cabbage or lettuce
Sport peppers (for mine)
Salsa, your favorite
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 flour tortilla shells
3 hard taco shells


Add oil to skillet and heat.
Add fish filets, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper.
After fish is sautéed, remove to plate and keep warm.
In same skillet, sprayed with cooking spray, heat tortilla and taco shells.
Assemble tacos however you like.

ENJOY!  They’re delicious!

Visit my friend, Linda’s blog, My Kind of Cooking, for the prize winning recipe at the fair and for a chance to win her great cookbook!

Wild about Mushrooms

I remember my Mom and Dad foraging in the yard and woods for various wild mushrooms when we lived on the farm in Pickerington.  

Then later, when we moved to Louisville, the neighbors all thought they were crazy for picking wild mushrooms.  They always gave Mom and Dad warnings about how risky it was.  Thankfully, that didn’t stop my parents.

Early Greeks and Romans are thought to be the first cultivator’s of mushrooms, using them in numerous dishes.  Today there are more than 70,000 thousand varieties, shapes and sizes of mushrooms with only a very small fraction of them being edible.  

So, if you’re not familiar with the types of mushrooms, only forage for them with someone that can identify them and whom you would entrust your life!

A much quicker way to forage for mushrooms is to go to the grocery store like I do.  Then they make their way onto the top of a pizza, into salads and casseroles or my favorite way, sautéed.  

Here’s my way of sautéing them:

Sautéed Mushrooms


1 pound button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste


Heat oil and butter in a heavy skillet over high heat.
When the butter and oil is very hot and frothy; add the mushrooms.
Do not let the butter burn; be ready to toss in the mushrooms quickly.
Sauté the mushrooms for about 5-6 minutes, tossing them, until they absorb the butter and oil.
Add garlic powder and salt and pepper.
Continue sautéing for another 3-4 minutes; shake the pan and toss the mushrooms. 
They will start to release the fat and now they should be browned nicely. 
Remove them from the skillet and serve.


Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog, at My Kind of Cooking for her great cookbook giveaway.

Fresh Peach Cake

Peaches were used by ancient Egyptians as offerings to the God of Tranquility.  No wonder most of us enjoy peaches and it makes me love August too!  That’s because it means there are great Michigan peaches at the farmer’s markets.  They’re large, ripe and juicy! 

This recipe is from a friend and makes the best peach cake you can imagine.  It may seem like a cobbler but, it’s really more like a cake.  

Here’s the secret why this is so very delicious:  the peaches are combined with brown sugar and allowed to macerate over-night in the refrigerator.  Oh, are they good the next day ~ very soft with an intense flavor.  Then they turn into this magnificent “homey” dessert!

Be sure to make it in a large glass baking dish or other 2 quart shallow pan.  I use my Le Crueset Au Gratin dish.  It is shallow and large and has more surface to crisp up the great edge of the cake.  The edges are awesome!

Do not open the oven door until baking time is completed.  After the time is up, I look at it and then usually bake it another 5 minutes or so to get the great golden color plus, it makes that yummy edge better too!

This is an amazing dessert you will love and devour if you are a peach lover!  I wish I could really let you know how delicious it is by giving you a serving with a little vanilla ice cream!

It’s a peach cake for the gods!

Ready for the oven

Baked, look at that edge!

Here’s the recipe:

Fresh Peach Cake

Prepare the peaches the day before:

5 medium, firm peaches, peeled and sliced
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon almond extract, optional

Mix together the peaches and sugars.  Cover and refrigerate over-night.  The next day, the peaches will be in a thick syrup.

Make the batter:

½ cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla


Combine in a small bowl:
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon


Heat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small saucepan, bring the peaches and juice just to a boil. 
Pour melted butter into a shallow 2 quart baking dish.  Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, milk, baking powder and salt; mix well.
Pour flour and sugar mixture over the butter in the baking dish.
Spoon the hot peaches and juice over the batter.
Sprinkle with cinnamon topping.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

This is true love!  Ummm-mmm!!!

Visit my friend, Linda’s blog at My Kind of Cooking for her cookbook giveaway.

And, check out Bo’s Bowl for another great giveaway!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful day!


Thanks to all of you who entered the CSN Le Crueset giveaway!  There were over 100 entries to win this great $60 voucher.  I used and the winner is Dishesdone @ There’s Always Thyme to Cook.  Dishesdone, please email me ( so that you can receive the wonderful CSN LeCrueset prize! 

Thanks again so much to all of you who entered and congratulations to Dishesdone!

You know,

nobody can ever

cook as good as

your Mama.

~ Paula Deen

You know, nobody can ever cook as good as your mama. Paula Deen
Read more at:
You know, nobody can ever cook as good as your mama. Paula Deen
Read more at:


Jules-Alexandre Grun

ᴡᴏᴏ ʜᴏᴏ!!!

ᴡᴏᴏ ʜᴏᴏ!!!



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