Big Apple, Small Basket: Week #4

Welcome to a new summer weekly installment at SKC called Big Apple, Small Basket.  Check back to read more about Kendra’s adventures in finding, maneuvering and cooking summer dishes from the many farmers’ markets in New York City.  Click for Week #1Week #2, and Week #3
The San Francisco version of the subway is called BART, an acronym for Bay Area Rapid Transit (the train’s real name) and also Bay Area Rides Together, which is its advertising slogan.  Unfortunately for the people who named and advertise for BART, neither thing is particularly accurate.  First, BART ain’t that rapid.  Kinda takes a long time.  And ticket prices vary depending on your destination, meaning that you have to use your ticket to exit the station, meaning that if you lose it in your big grandma purse during the ride you’re sort of screwed.  I know this from experience.  Also, Bay Area Rides Together makes me think of that scene in Hey Arnold where the gang gets stuck on the subway and everyone holds hands and sings songs, even the mean people and the hobos.  That has never happened on BART before, as far as I know.  The businesspeople, mom-and-daughter combos laden with shopping bags, and men in various stages of inebriation either going to or coming from sporting events…just sort of do their own thing.  Which I guess is music in a way.
Growing up in the East Bay meant that a longish stretch of under-the-water BART tunnel action was necessary in order to get to San Francisco.  I was pretty afraid of this leg of the trip as a youth, what with the ear popping and the sort of heavy air situation that happens when you’re down there, and also the incredibly rational visions I’d have of the tunnel cracking open and the ocean flooding in and numerous humpback whales smacking into the train, etc.  Once I asked my mom if such a disaster had ever occurred on BART before.  Furrowing her brow in thought for a moment, she said, “You know, I think it happened to your dad once.”  WHAT?!  Why tell me that? Why lie to a seven year old?  WERE YOU WONDERING WHY I HAVE IRRATIONAL FEARS? BECAUSE THATS PROBABLY YOUR ANSWER.
On a drizzly Saturday morning last week I hopped the train to Brooklyn for the Brooklyn Borough Hall farmer’s market, and felt a pang of homesickness when we descended beneath the East River.  The popping ears, the heavy air — it felt just like home.  Except the roof of this train car was leaking steadily into a puddle on the floor and some foreign tourists were pointing at the leak and voicing concern in a language I did not understand but an inflection I knew very well.  The seven year old in me booked it off the car the second the doors opened and walked up to dry land–dry land with a farmers’ market.
Kendra Vaculin leaves New York City soon and is freaking out about it.  She has one more year at Northwestern University, where she double majors in Creative Writing and Theatre, before she is spat back out into the real world to flounder about and figure out her life.  Things she is sure of: there will be food, and cooking, in abundance in her future.
Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket // Fried Green Tomatoes
the plaza in front of Brooklyn’s Borough Hall; Borough Hall stop on the 2, 3, 4, 5
The dreary weather turned this otherwise bustling greenmarket into a quiet, rain-scented smallish colony of tents, which was refreshing after last week’s Union Square madness.  Produce and produce products (ciders, jams, pickled vegetables) were the name of the game, and I even stumbled across some interesting growables I’d never seen before.
Tomatillos? Or husked tomatoes?  Oh.  Those exist. Ok.
Spotting the green tomatoes for the first time this summer (and having read way too many Southern restaurant menus at work in the past week) turned my tunnel vision toward fried green tomatoes, and I didn’t stop until I was crunching away at them while reading a book on my kitchen floor (its a lifestyle choice).
Fried Green Tomatoes
adapted from the Neely’s
4 medium green tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch think
salt and pepper
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cumin
pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
Pour a few glugs of oil into a pan, a little more than covering the bottom, and heat (this is not a deep fry, but almost).
Set up a dredging station for your tomatoes, with one bowl containing a mixture of the flour, garlic powder and cumin, one bowl with the beaten eggs and milk, and one bowl with the breadcrumbs and cayenne.
Salt and pepper both sides of the tomatoes. Dredge them first in the flour mixture, then dunk in the egg mixture, then coat in breadcrumbs.  Fry about two minutes  per side, or until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel before enjoying.
I wish I’d had the patience to do something cool with these guys.  A fried green tomato BLT would have been ideal.  But instead I ate them all plain over the course of the next few days because they were just so good by themselves.  Do you have a favorite thing to do with fried green tomatoes (or with normal tomatoes that would work with their crisp green cousins)?  Share, and make me jealous.

Originally posted on Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

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