Funny how thoughts will just pop into our minds as we stand around doing the mundane sorts of things that occupy most of our daily lives.
During the summer Richard finished the retaining wall to keep runoff from the lawn from rushing across the driveway, and steps to replace the gash in the bank that was eroding more and more.
He bought topsoil and back filled against the retaining wall and I decided to plant some tomatoes that he had bought but forgot to plant.
The tomatoes were very happy there but got a late start. The bucket is not sloppy yard keeping, the water from our washing machine travels down a Rube Goldberg systems of gutters and pipes into the bucket, which has holes in the bottom, to water them.
Right now the plants are just beautiful, lush and green, and are continuing to set tomatoes, but a hard frost is likely within the next week or so -- we almost always have had a hard frost by Oct 31 -- and so these tomatoes do not have long to live.
I picked a few of the biggest green ones to make fried green tomatoes, and with the others that are too small to slice, dip in cornmeal, and fry in a little oil in a hot cast iron skillet, I will probably make "Penne with Green Tomato Sauce" which is in the September 1996 issue of Gourmet Magazine. That issue of the magazine had a section of recipes for using green tomatoes. Every time I think about throwing away this stack of old magazines, I hesitate because there might be other gems in there.
Or I could try "Cold Turkish Green Tomato Soup", or "Green Tomato and Walnut Relish," or "Gingered Green Tomato and Apple Chutney." Or I could just leave the green ones to sit on newspapers in the fruit cellar to ripen. Or maybe Richard will pull up plants and leave them hanging upside down in the fruit cellar for the tomatoes to continue to ripen.
But in the meantime, as I was tending the slices of cornmeal-covered tomatoes sizzling away in the very hot big black cast iron skillet, I suddenly remembered one of my favorite scenes from the Fannie Flagg novel.
The scene where the seemingly frail old woman, who has been cooking for years with a hefty cast iron skillet, picks it up and whacks the bad guy in the head…
I too have been cooking with a heavy cast iron skillet for many years; fortunately, I don’t feel the need to whack anybody here in the head with it.