Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fried Green Tomato BLT w/Egg + Red Pepper Garlic Aioli

I can only hope to one day be as good a mom as my mom. My mom is neither overbearing nor nonexistent. As a kid, she was a working mom who still made it to my soccer games and helped me with many a school project. Almost three years ago, we planned my wedding together - sometimes with her taking the lead but quite often leaving it to me to get things done. On the big day, her contributions were evident all over the wedding but there was no doubt that the wedding itself was as it should be: a reflection of Jason and me.

Growing up she was always my friend, without ever forgetting that it was more important to be Mom first. As our relationship has progressed into my adulthood, she is still the magical combination of both Mom and friend. When there is good news to share, a question to ask, or a frustration to vent, Mom is at the top of the speed dial list.

In 9th grade, I wrote in to the Winston-Salem Journal to tell all of their subscribing world why my mom was the greatest. Hopefully, when I have a bratty high school son or daughter who seems dislike me more with each passing day, s/he will secretly appreciate me, too.

"My mom is the greatest because she listens to me. She lets me know that she is there for me and will try to help me with my problems. If I want to do something that she disagrees with, she will give me a chance to explain all the details, even if her mind is always made up. She does this because she knows it makes me feel better. She tells me about the mistakes she made as a teenager so I can learn from them.

Some people's mothers don't make them do things with their families. I normally don't want to go with my family, but when I do, I generally have a good time. Simple things like requiring us to eat dinner as a family keeps us close. My mom and I have arguments but, no matter what, I will always want her to be my mom."

Today after church, Jason and I had the pleasure of hosting Mother's Day lunch for our families. We served Fried Green Tomato BLTs, Roasted Red Pepper Corn Chowder, and Strawberry Shortcake. It was lovely.

Fried Green Tomato BLT w/Egg + Red Pepper Garlic Aioli
Kelley Gondring

Step One: Bake Bacon
Up until a few months ago, I always fried bacon, but then my friend, Kenneth, introduced me to baking bacon. And let me just say that for the following three reasons, I will never go back to the frying pan.
1. No irritating spitting of grease
2. No cooking in batches (unless maybe you are cooking for an army)
3. Needs less attention (so you're free to work on other things while it cooks)
To bake bacon, preheat your oven to 350. Lay six to eight slices bacon onto a cookie sheet so that there is little-to-no overlap. Check the bacon after twenty minutes and flip. Bake until browned to your liking on both sides. Cook time will be about 40 minutes but will depend upon thickness of the bacon you use].

14 slices cooked thick cut bacon

Step Two: Red Pepper Garlic Aioli
In a food processor, combine:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons goat cheese
3 cloves garlic
1/4 roasted red bell pepper, peeled and deseeded

Pulse 30-60 seconds until completely pureed. Pour into a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Step Three: Fry Green Tomatoes
Cut lengthwise into 1/4" slices:
3-4 green tomatoes

In one medium bowl, combine:
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

In a separate medium bowl, combine:
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup whole milk

One slice at a time, place in piece of tomato into the milk mixture and coat entirely. Dredge tomato in the breadcrumb/cornmeal mixture, again covering each slice completely. Set aside on large plate. Repeat until all tomato slices are breaded.

In a large skillet, heat:
1/2 cup veggie oil

Once oil is hot, fry tomatoes in batches 4 minutes per side. Place tomatoes on large plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Cover to keep warm.

Step Four: Toast
Place on a large cookie sheet:
14 slices sourdough bread
Drizzle with olive oil. Place in preheated oven for 5 minutes [more if crunchier bread is desired].

Step Five: Clean lettuce
Wash and dry:
7 leaves of your favorite hearty lettuce

Step Six: Fry Eggs
Heat skillet on medium and add:
1-2 tablespoons oil
Once the oil is hot, fry in batches:
7 eggs
[I did them over-medium so that the whites were completely done but the yolks were still good and runny.]

Step Seven: Assemble Sandwich
toast #1
1 table spoon Red Pepper Garlic Aioli
1 leaf lettuce
2 Fried Green Tomatoes
2 slices bacon, broken in half
1 fried egg
toast #2

Happy Mother's Day!
Eat up!

The top tomato is fried with cornmeal and the bottom with breadcrumbs. I thought both were equally good, but the cornmeal was much more cooperative when it came to coating the tomato.

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