Recipe Time! Green Tomato Crisp!

The other day, as part of my Fall-To-Do-List-I’m-Determined-To-Really-Do-This-Year, I began shutting down the garden for the season. It’s one of those tasks that’s so thoroughly…fall. Cutting back spent perennials, pruning back shrubs, bagging leaves, splitting bulbs…taming all that stuff and taking care of this kind of ordinary business just feels so GOOD. I usually feel like a spectacular failure around this time of year because, inevitably, there’s always way too much renovation work to button up before winter, so tasks like these just fall by the wayside—so it feels like a huge mark of progress to be able to take the afternoon and just…putter around in the vegetables and set myself up for some highly successful spring planting in a few months. Little by little things are starting to feel rather civilized around here, as though the vision of living here that I’ve held onto in my mind is finally starting to align with reality. It doesn’t happen all at once, but it’s moments like this—out there in the crisp autumn air, peacefully yanking the languishing tomato plants from my modest backyard produce farm and wrangling them into a neat row of yard bags—that feel like glimpses into what life might look like someday. It ain’t bad.

Another major development has occurred: after 2+ years of hot plates and a small toaster oven, I have a working stove again! My kitchen itself is still a long ways from completion—almost everything in it is still “temporary,” except for said working stove—but it’s workable. And I am WORKING IT. Over the past week I’ve rediscovered the magic of roasted vegetables (didn’t realize how much I missed those!) and have baked like 7 different things. I don’t think of myself as some kind of great cook but I do enjoy it, and so restoring this basic functionality feels like a big deal.

SO! We’ve all heard of fried green tomatoes, yes? It’s, like, a thing in the South. I also vaguely remember my friend, originally from Tennessee, saying something one time about his mama’s Green Tomato Pie, a “this could come in handy someday” detail I catalogued somewhere in the back of my brain, only to have it reemerge as I looked down at all the green tomatoes still clinging to the plants I was about to rip out of the ground. So instead of just throwing it all in the yard waste bags, I collected all the remaining green tomatoes first and asked my friend for mama’s recipe.

He didn’t know the recipe. GREAT JOB, FRIEND. So I turned to google, looked at a few recipes, and decided I’d just make something up instead. Firstly, I didn’t want to make a pie crust. Secondly, the more traditional recipes I was finding struck me as extremely sweet with way too much sugar for my bland Yankee tastebuds. So instead of a pie I made it a crisp, and instead of the sticky-sweet filling I scaled way back on the sugar, plus I added some things, and then it occurred to me “wait, did I just develop a recipe? DOES THE INTERNET NEED TO KNOW?” so I’m going OFF BRAND to tell you all about it. This is when I take my dramatic turn as a food blogger. I have found my passion. Fuck houses; I’d rather eat.

So anyway. This is a dessert you can make with all those green tomatoes at the end of the season, and I don’t think it’s horrible for you as far as desserts go, and I really like it. The green tomatoes bake much like an apple, and the restrained use of sugar allows the tart green tomato flavor to come through without hitting you over the head with it. It’s a little weird but so far a limited selection of friends have confirmed that it is, in fact, pretty delicious so here we go.

INGREDIENTS:

Filling:

3-4 Cups thinly sliced green tomatoes
4 Tbsp flour (I used an all-purpose Gluten Free flour)
1/4 Cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg’s, but any kind should do)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Crisp Topping:

1/2 Cup ground unsalted raw almonds
1/2 Cup ground unsalted raw cashews
3/4 Cup oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of salt

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350. Wash your damn hands.

Step 2: In a large bowl, sprinkle flour over the green tomatoes and toss to combine. Throw in the rest of the filling ingredients and mix until all tomatoes are nicely coated. I used my hands. Transfer the filling to your baking dish in an even-ish layer (I used a 1 1/2-Quart round baking dish, but you do you).

Step 3. Grind your almonds and cashews. I used a coffee grinder, but whatever works (blender, food processor, mortar and pestle, rolling pin, laser eyes). Mostly you want a kind of coarse powder, like the texture of coffee grounds, but it’s good if there are still some larger chunks, like around the size of a…pencil eraser? Do what feels good. Choose your own adventure. Grind enough nuts to measure 1 cup and then transfer to a bowl.

Step 4. Melt the butter. I use the microwave. Mix the melted butter and the brown sugar, and then add the oats.

Step 5. Combine your buttery sugary oats with the ground nuts and mix until well-combined.

Step 6. Top your filling with the crisp topping in an even layer over the whole thing. It should be enough to provide good coverage! Sprinkle a pinch of coarse salt over it all—Maldon if you can; it’s the best! If you’re feeling fancy, distribute a few 1/2 T slices of butter on top before it goes in the oven.

Step 7. Bake at 350 for one hour, remove and let cool a little. You should see some of the filling bubbling up around the edges and the crisp topping starting to brown.

Step 8. Serve warm with ice cream! Or eat it however you want to! You’re a strong independent lady and you don’t need me to tell you how to enjoy dessert!


31 Comments

  1. Tomato cobbler is actually a thing: https://www.marthastewart.com/353816/tomato-cobbler
    But most recipes I’ve seen have it as a SAVORY dish. Your making it a SWEET one is really intriguing.

  2. This recipe gets requested again and again by my sister’s family. I actually like it better than the usual flour based recipes. https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gluten-free-lemon-squares-with-an-almond-flour-crust-recipe

    • yummmmm, that looks great! I don’t have celiac so I don’t have to be super duper strict, but I’ve been mostly gluten-free for about a year and a half and am always looking for good recipes. Thank you!

  3. Ooooh, that looks good!

    I, too, have been getting things ready for fall. Two weekends ago, I finally got out the little hand pruning saw from Harbor Freight and cut down or rather, shortened the upper trunk pieces of the Arborvitae trees I’d cut down in Sept of 2016 and got them in the yard waste can and the branches into the other, along with the grass and needles I sucked up with the mower and bagger that all had been lying next to my shed for 2 years. I still have mu succulents to bring in but they are on my back deck next to the house.

    Other than disconnect the hoses and cover the hose bib I’m ready for fall. I DO have a hardy Fuchsia that I will let bloom until the first from (sometime next month) and will let die back and cut way back in March.

    I have a HUGE Rosemary bush in the backyard that I may leave as is and do something with it next spring (move it) as it’s in a not great space and that means the tire that was used as the “bed” can finally be removed. It was that way when I bought the house, except the bush is now even larger and it was already of a good size then, even though I’ve whacked it back good this spring on one side that’s towards the fence.

    If you have not done so, do sheet pan dinners. Just chop your veggies, potatoes, carrots or whatever you decide to have, toss with olive oil, salt/pepper and spread out on your baking sheet, add avocados if you desire, just cut them into wedges and remove the skins, salt/pepper and drizzle lemon or lime juice and then drizzle a smidge of olive oil and place on your pan, add your meat, be it poultry, pork, sausages or seafood (I’d not put those in until the veggies have cooked some because most things like shrimp don’t cook long at all and roast in a fairly hot (450-475F) oven until all is done and it’s delish. Just tossing all vegies in olive oil and salt/pepper and any herbs you desire before roasting.

    If you have a deep freezer, even if a small one, make big batches of stuff and toss in for those nights when you just want to thaw and reheat is what I’d recommend, otherwise the freezer compartment of your fridge may not be adequate, I know mine isn’t and it’s frequently stuffed full.

    I hear I think you all have been getting rain? We have here, In fact, it’s looking to begin raining here as I type and on Saturday, had to stop in part due to having been at it since late morning and two, it was after 2pm and the clouds had been getting cloudy and grayer as we got into the afternoon and timing was perfect as it began to sprinkle that soon turned into moderate rain for the rest of the day and into the evening and overnight before finally letting up.

    Anywhoo, fall is one of my favorite seasons., enjoy it!

    • I gotta try some sheet pan dinners! Good going on all your projects. We’ve had some rain here, too, which is why this baking got done, haha! I was actually thrilled when Saturday turned out to be cold and rainy and miserable—cleaned the whole house, too!! I’m so tired of climbing ladders outside.

  4. Last year my sister and I made green tomato relish/salsa with all of her green tomatoes but I haven’t even eaten all of my share yet. This looks like a great dessert and I love that it isn’t loaded with sugar as I’m really more of a fan of fruits with a bit of sour/tart flavor.

    Don’t worry about being off brand with a cooking post. This is obviously related to the kitchen, and the kitchen is part of the house, and your blog is about house stuff. And congratulations on having a stove/oven/range again! Your new functional and beautiful kitchen will be done eventually and you’ll have lovely natural light to take photos of your cooking for the blog. :)

    • Ohhh, green tomato relish! I gotta try that. I still have tomatoes! And thank you! I will say the natural light in the kitchen is pretty amazing after it being so dark for years. Now if only those windows had moldings!

  5. > It doesn’t happen all at once, but it’s moments like this—out there in the crisp autumn air, peacefully yanking the languishing tomato plants from my modest backyard produce farm and wrangling them into a neat row of yard bags—that feel like glimpses into what life might look like someday. It ain’t bad.

    I experience these moments too. It’s like, for half a second, you are at peace, pleasantly productive, and unhurried, and all of that makes you feel like an actual adult who is on top of things. I keep waiting for the day when I’m, like, 70, and moments like that will be most of my day.

    • Yes, that’s exactly how it is! I’ve basically been 75 years old since I was 10, so this makes a lot of sense haha.

  6. Yep, definitely going to have to make this but since I have deep Southern roots and we make our tea with a full pound of sugar I will definitely tweak it to please my sweet taste buds ;)

  7. I am sad that my tomato game is nonexistent, because I am intrigued!

    You are failing hard as a food blogger btw, cuz all the big food bloggers know that you need to carefully calibrate your posts with several tangential stories about shit that’s basically unrelated to the recipe and also enough pictures and popups so that when your readers are in the grocery store with shitty cell service, the colorful areas of their vocabulary increase exponentially as they try to check the ACTUAL RECIPE and their phones get stuck on a story about Great Aunt Mildred’s next door neighbor’s cousin and their phones won’t let them scroll down as the million nearly identical PIN ME pictures slooowwwwlllyyyy load, pixel by pixel…. Which is to say, PLZ CONTINUE FAILING, DANIEL! I’m here for it! At some point, I will procure green tomatoes and then I will have a PLAN. :D

    • THIS! Was trying to get ingredients this morning from a site, had to scroll past 15 NEARLY IDENTICAL pictures, through a bunch of garbage rambling words, and nearly gave up until I finally reached the actual recipe. Then it wanted me to click through to another page for the sauce portion and I freaking gave up

      • I thought some dreck at the beginning waxing poetic about the seasons and my southern friend’s mama would cover it!! I’LL TRY HARDER NEXT TIME.

        But for real, I’m SURE people stumble on my blog and have that exact reaction, because all they wanted to know was how to do ________ and suddenly they’re invited to hear about my whole life story and maybe not even get anything they need out of it. So as annoying as that I’m-in-the-grocery-store-without-cell-service-you-asshole feeling is, I have to remind myself that even though *I’m* not one of their blog readers because I just stumbled there from a google search, other people are and maybe they’re invested in the rambling words and stories about Great Aunt Mildred’s next door neighbor’s cousin. And that bloggers have created a world where literally ANY RECIPE you could possibly want or need is available, in mere seconds, to anyone, for free. Those billion photos and pop-ups are how they’re able to do that, and I’m benefitting from it, albeit with an extremely minor kind of irritation. And then I don’t feel so frustrated just trying to find the fucking ingredient list. ;)

  8. i’m from the PNW, and had NO IDEA that fried green tomatoes are a sweet thing!! all this time i thought it was savory. clearly, i’ve never had the opportunity to try them!

    • Oh! They’re not! Sorry if that was unclear! They are savory, and delish, but I wanted something less deep fried and more dessert-y!

  9. Stoves are really great. And a new recipe!

  10. I love your recipe writing style. The editorializing is very fun–and very ON BRAND. Have you heard of Thug Kitchen? I feel like you might like their writing style. And their food is awesome too.

  11. YUM! I made a green tomato pie a few years back when a rainy and cool Brooklyn august left me with half my harvest green in October, and I’m proud to say that the cousin who only eats pizza and burgers had two helpings. Hadn’t tried it as a crisp yet.

    Have you dipped a toe into composting? I got an excellent spinning bin on Amazon (pest-proof, easy to empty, and the bars inside help mix the stuff) and it has changed my gardening forever. I’m obsessed. I have a stainless steel bin cut flush into my counter (did it myself into IKEA butcher block) from Blanco, and all veg and fruit and paper leavings go in it. Toss em once a week into the bin, and empty my leaf sweepings and weed pullings in whenever I tidy up, and give it a spin every now and then. If I start a bin in spring and fill it through the fall, it’s ready by the next spring. I never properly researched beyond knowing it should be at least 60% yard clippings, but it magically just… works. I’m three years in now and my veggies look like they’re on steroids. It gives me an easy dumping spot for the minor yard waste too. If you’re interested I can dig up the bin or snap a pic of my IKEA hack!

    • Yes, I do compost! I have a tumbling composter, which is maybe like yours? I can’t even remember where I bought it…wayfair maybe. I’m still getting the hang of getting the right mixture going but I use what I have (same strategy as yours!) and I credit it for the vegetables growing so vigorously! Love the countertop cut-out idea for kitchen scraps! I use a cookie jar, haha.

      • Ooh, the countertop guy is just my favorite ever. It feels so bespoke. I lived with it on the counter top for years before I finally had a butcher block with nothing beneath it so it had enough room without hitting a drawer, but now that it’s recessed, it’s my favorite thing in the kitchen. It’s the Blanco Solon. Kinda pricey but very worth it. My compost proportions seem to be kept in check by ‘all of the leaves that Greenwood Cemetery can blow across the street at me’ every year (read: SO MANY LEAVES), so it’s not a science, but I also end up with a lot of earthworms in my bin somehow and I think they’re doing all my heavy lifting. They are very, very fat. So try that: all the leaves that exist, and some fat worms?

  12. Hi Daniel, long time reader, first time commenting. If you have any green tomatoes left, just stick them in a bowl with a banana and they will ripen :)

  13. I’m so happy your back in a real-ish kitchen. Roasted vegetables are my jimmy-jam. I’m not really a fan of cooked vegetables any other way. Can’t wait to one day see your updated kitchen. I loved the old cobbled together one, so I’d imagine the new one is going to be the bees knees.

    If you need another green tomato recipe I highly recommend this one for fried green tomato pie. It’s not actually fried, just sort of mimics the crunch with butter soaked panko on top (yesss). I always add goat cheese, because goat cheese is delicious, but you do you.

    https://wonkywonderful.com/fried-green-tomato-pie/

  14. Faithful reader: recipes = good. Food is part of a home. That’s your nest, Babe.

    It’s not just about wood, glass, dirt and concrete with a little metal to spruce things up. Aside from the dirt (just say no), you can use all the rest of that for cooking too anyway.

    I love cobblers. I am not a fan of pie crust under a pie (great rolled out, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar then rolled up, cut like wheels and baked into cookies!). Nana’s secret cobbler recipe was very similar to yours but she added cinnamon to every cobbler regardless of filling. As I have used blueberries in place of tomatoes in dishes (with fish, it was amazing. No one puts blueberries and onions together but you should!), I bet the cinnamon would not be gross with the green tomatoes. The other thing she liked to do was add sour cream. Sounds creepy but it also works.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    • I used to make this banana bread recipe with sour cream, and it was sooooooo good! I wonder what I did with that recipe…Oh—and there is cinnamon in the filling, and I think it works super well with the green tomato flavor, yes!

  15. For the pie-crust-shy folks out there who dread trying to combine ice cold water a tablespoon at a time with the flour/fat mixture, both because it’s a pain in the ass and it takes forever … there’s a better way that results in a lovely flaky crust every. single. time. Use boiling hot water. Yikes you say? That goes against all of the rules? NO. It works. Well. Every time. Because you don’t have to overwork the dough to get it all combined. For a recipe that includes 2.5 cups of flour with 1 cup of fat & 1 tsp salt, use .5 cup of boiling water. It comes together really quickly. Doesn’t matter if you use shortening, butter or lard, turns out well every time. Also, ditch the fork and spend a few bucks on a pastry blender.

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