Ah...a classic, that one. Fried Green Tomatoes was SUCH a good movie, full of girl power and irony...kind of like me after working all summer cutting down trees, splitting firewood, and in general acting like I had a pair and knew what to do with em only to have to schedule visits with the chiropractor and physical therapist until the end of time. Haha, not really....just until I've had enough back-crackery and decide that I just have to stop acting like some musclebound freak just kicked sand in my face and start acting more like a girl. But not entirely...no one should ever make the mistake assuming I am a helpless female lest I snap them in half to more neatly shove the two pieces into their own...never mind, you get the gist. But I appreciate you opening doors for me, and will turn your spine ice cold with such a look if you don't - didn't your momma teach you any manners?
My daughter has lived "down south" for the last 11 years, and is finally coming home to Oregon in less than 2 weeks. I am wildly excited, and have been keeping it low key because I was afraid I would jinx it and she might move instead to some other back-water state too far away. (And before you make some huffy comment about Georgia being where you were born and raised and how DARE I call it back water, I live in a town where there is a mannequin and a washing machine with mangle on the "cupola"(translation: roof) of the local tavern) But the moving van is on the way, she will be shortly after turning her keys over the a realtor, and now we just have to wait for her to drive from Georgia to Oregon via North Carolina and Chicago where she'll stop to visit friends....it hardly seems real. We are working on some changes to our home so they can nest when they get here - I might actually get bathroom #2 (LOL....get it??) because of this! What WILL I DO with myself??
My little girl left home for the Army the January after she graduated from high school, and has been away ever since save for a few visits back....there were big milestones like marriage, child-bearing, and home ownership in that span of time, not to mention the last 9+ years of direct grandmothering I've missed out on. If I didn't see them now and then, I think my grandson would probably think that Gramma was the mailman, and Gramps was the UPS guy....a LOT of stuff has traveled North to South in the last 10 years. So if you see UPS stock take a dive, or see a sudden rate hike at USPS in mid-September, it's probably their fault. Do I care?? NOPE....I am just tickled that ALL my kids will be home again...WHEEE!
Living in the South introduced her to all kinds of southern delicacies, like Popeye's chicken, Waffle Houses, and Domino's pizza...yeah, pretty much the same crap we have here. Sure there are actual local spots, and a few joints that we don't have here in the Northwest, but if you have decided to go semi-vegan the South is generally not the place to explore those kind of food choices. The south is cooking with lard, bacon, back fat, butter, and enough peanut oil to deep fry a pterodactyl for the Annual Confederacy Pride Picnic - I think the wedge salads down there are battered, fried and served with a side of cornbread to wipe the grease off your face with. During one visit I went to Sconyer's BBQ joint off the Bobby Jones Highway, and ordered up a vat of local specialties to bring back to my daughter's for dinner. At times like those, I wish I wasn't such a good cook...or that maybe I need to open my own drive-thru if they can force people to wait in line for 30 minutes for that crap.
On our last visit, the one where we went to Savannah and I had to confess that I had wrongly judged Paula Deen after visiting her sons restaurant there, a few bright spots shone through the nasty cornbread, watery pulled pork, and horrible biscuits and gravy I've been subjected to in Southern restaurants over time. One was the fried green tomatoes with vidalia onion relish we ordered on a whim at The Lady & Sons that bakin' hot day in Savannah. I'm not eating fried foods anymore, so until yesterday I had not tried to duplicate it at home, but after a trip to my sister-in-law's produce stand and a chance sighting of some lovely green 'maters, I decided to make them as a Labor Day treat for the kids that were here this weekend. You can get the recipe off the internet too, but it doesn't come with a neat story or family dirt and cusses like mine do....but to each his own. These were so startlingly delicious that I had to put them on my cheeseburger, onion relish and all, and I blacked out while I was eating it due to extreme deliciousness....it will be the first special on my flagship restaurant's grand opening menu....I shall call it the Iggy Burger. My lands.....
Fried Green Tomatoes
4 large green or even slightly orangey tomatoes
2 C. buttermilk
2 C. self-rising flour*
Fresh ground black pepper
Slice tomatoes 1/4" thick and salt on both sides; put in colander and let drain for 30 minutes. Heat oil in pan at least 1" deep to medium high...you want it to almost be smoking, and keep it hot. Using a fork, put drained tomatoes in the buttermilk, then into flour and coat well; carefully lay them into the hot oil, grind some pepper over them and fry until browned on the first side. Gently turn so as not to dislodge the coating and brown on the other side. Remove to a paper towel lined platter, then to a cooling rack so the coating doesn't sweat off, or directly onto your serving dish and eat immediately with heaps of vidalia onion relish. Or on a cheeseburger if you got the guts.
*if your self-rising flour has a grey layer in the container that you suspect is the waste of some kind of bug infestation, you can make your own with untainted all purpose flour by adding 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp of salt per cup of flour and stirring it in.
Vidalia Onion Relish
2 Vidalia or sweet onions, peeled and diced
1/2 C. mayonnaise, plus another 1/4 C. later
1/2 C. seasoned rice vinegar
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. chives, chopped (I didn't have any, put in some parsley)
Mix all ingredients and let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The vinegar and onion juice make this rather watery, so after it marinated, I dumped it in a strainer, removed most of the liquid, the re-introduced an additional 1/4 C. mayo into it with a dash of salt...voila!! Perfect creamy consistency, and I figured no added fat because I drained a lot of the original mayo out....and this sh** was so good I was eating it with a spoon....Handsome Stranger was horrified, but to me it tasted like candy. I also heaped a big spoonful on the one bite of a hot dog I could get down - I can think of nothing this would not be delicious on. A fudge brownie with peanut butter icing included. So yeah, anyway....serve in large spoonfuls on top of fried green tomatoes, and tell your pants they're lucky that green tomatoes are not available year round. Y'all come back now, y'hear??