Friday, October 11, 2013

Jersey Fresh - Maque Choux with Fried Green Tomatoes

Jersey Fresh- Part 1

Exhibit A) The Cast of Jersey Shore (FAKE)-
There are a lot of misconceptions about New Jersey. 

Thanks to crappy "reality" television and movies many people think we are a dirty state, filled with people who can't drive, who dress and "tawk" like trash, and who spend enormous amounts of time on fake nails and tanning. There is nothing more frustrating than having people from other states and countries expecting you to behave like trash just because that's how people from this state are portrayed on TV. 

Let's get something straight... there ARE people like that here, but they don't make up the majority, and I'm ABSOLUTELY positive they are not exclusively in NJ. Keep in mind only 2 of the cast on Jersey Shore were actually from NJ, so it's not an accurate representation by any means.

That being said, one of the perks of living in central NJ is the large amount of family farms. Family farms means fresh produce, fresh meat, and fresh dairy! There's nothing like sun-ripened fruits and vegetables. We are very lucky to have a small kitchen garden but we also live in close proximity to many farms and orchards. 
On the same stretch of road 10 minutes from our house there are 2 farms.

It is called the Garden State for a reason! So let's celebrate the positive, 
the real NJ... full of parks, beaches, and farms.

Here's my take on two Southern favorites made with Farm Fresh sweet corn and home grown Fried green tomatoes. Maque choux, pronounced "mock shoe," is a traditional dish of southern Louisiana's Cajun country. It is thought to be a mix of French Acadian and Native American fare. It makes a great meal on it's own, but you can add some grilled chicken/ turkey to it for a heartier meal:

Here's my recipe for Maque Choux w/ Fried Green Tomatoes

Maque Choux with Fried Green Tomatoes
Serves 3-4
For the Maque Choux:

1-tablespoon butter/ Olive Oil
1-small onion, minced
1-jalapeño, seeded and minced
1-green bell pepper, chopped
1-large ripe tomatoes, diced
1-elephant garlic clove, finely chopped
1-teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon oregano
2 bay leaves
1-teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
3-4 basil leaves, chopped
A pinch of red chili flakes
1½-cups water

2 tablespoons sour cream*
Kernels from 3 ears of corn (2-3 cups)
*Vegan- Follow Your Heart Sour Cream

For the Fried Green Tomatoes:
1 or 2 hard green tomatoes
A pinch of salt and pepper
1-cup all-purpose flour
1-cup buttermilk*
1-cup seasoned breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying

*Vegan- Soy Milk

Maque Choux with Fried Green Tomatoes

Serves 3-4

To make the Maque choux:

1. Melt the butter/ olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add the onion, jalapeño, bell pepper, salt, pepper, and paprika. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring, until the onion is translucent.

3. Add the tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, chili flakes, oregano, and thyme. Simmer for 10 minutes with cover, until the tomatoes start to break down.

4. Then add the corn kernels and water. Simmer with cover, until the corn is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Stir in the sour cream and let simmer without cover until slightly thickened.

To make fried green tomatoes:

1. Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick.

2. Place the flour seasoned with salt and pepper, milk, and breadcrumbs into individual bowls.

3. One at a time, dip the tomato slices first in the flour, then in the milk, and then in the breadcrumbs.

4. Heat about a 1/2-inch of vegetable oil in a skillet. Fry the tomatoes until golden on both sides.

5. Drain oil on paper towels.

Spoon some maque choux onto each plate with some fried tomatoes.



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