Recipes for Saturday’s Green City Market Cooking Demonstration

Even with all of the spectacular meat vendors at the Green City Market, I have to say what the market never fails to do is bring out the vegetable lover in me. I’ll leave the market with a dizzying variety of fruits and vegetables and ambitious plans to utilize them. This Saturday, we’ll once again focus on the fruit and vegetable bounty of the market, and create a one-hour lunch menu that I hope could make anyone a vegetarian for a day, and happy about it.

Given the pork-heavy and bounteous seafood offerings on Big Jones’ regular menu, people often comment when I go the vegetarian route for an event. The comments are generally positive, but either way my response is always the same – If you love cooking vegetables, and I do – cooking vegetarian is easy, but more importantly, it’s a discipline that I like to impose on myself from time to time because it forces me to make interesting food without meat. It also ensures vegetarians have a place at my table, and as I work with the Green City Market to build a sustainable food community, I welcome all.

Thanks to the Green City Market for the opportunity to present. It’s an honor and privilege to be able to participate and contribute to the success of the Green City Market in this way. We’ll be cooking:

Fried Green Tomatoes with Vinegar Slaw

Blueberry Johnny Cakes with Cheese Curds

Puree of Yellow Summer Squash Soup

Fried Green Tomatoes

  • 4 Large Green Tomatoes, sliced 3/8″ inch thick and cored
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 2 cups fine grind white cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Cooking oil or lard, for frying

Slice the green tomatoes and place in a two-quart container. Cover with the milk and refrigerate for two hours. Mix the cornmeal, salt, and pepper and taste for seasoning. In a cast iron pan with at least 3″ sides, heat 1″ of cooking oil to 350 degrees with a clip-on thermometer. Piece by piece, press the tomato slices in the dredge, careful to make sure the slices are well coated before gently laying into the hot oil. Fry 2-3 minutes on the first side and 1-2 minutes on the second side. You’re looking for the color to just begin to turn golden; if it’s too dark the tomatoes will be mushy. Green tomatoes have a natural affinity for vinegar, so vinegary sauces and relishes are the way to go.

Vinegar Slaw

  • 2 cups very finely sliced cabbage
  • 2 cups very finely shredded kohlrabi
  • 1 bunch green onion tops, very thinly sliced
  • 3-4 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup strong vinegar, such as cider or sherry
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 few red pepper flakes, or minced hot pepper

Toss all ingredients to combine, and refrigerate about one hour before serving.

Blueberry Cheese Curd Johnny Cakes

  • 2 cups white cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup cheese curds, chopped to the same size as the blueberries

Sift together the dry ingredients, then add the milk, eggs, butter, salt, and pepper. Very gently stir in the blueberries and cheese curds. Bake on fairly low heat in a buttered iron skillet or on a griddle by dropping tablespoonfuls. Cook to brown the first side, about three minutes, turn and cook until done on the second, about two minutes more. Keep on a plate in a low oven, covered with a clean cloth, to keep warm until serving.

Puree of Yellow Summer Squash Soup

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 pounds yellow crookneck or patty pan squash
  • 1 bunch yellow knob onions, peeled and chopped. Save the green tops for slaw or garnishes
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 bunch squash blossoms, about 10-12 flowers
  • 3 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • nutmeg

Melt the butter over medium heat until melted and foaming. Add the onions and squash and saute to sweat. Reduce heat and simmer until tender and falling apart, about twenty minutes. Add the milk and cream and gradually bring to a boil. At the boil, add the squash blossoms and remove from heat. Stir in the salt and cayenne. Puree in a blender in batches until smooth, and pass through a fine mesh strainer. Grate nutmeg over each bowl to taste.