Tag Archives: sliced tomatoes

Summer Thanksgiving on a Sunday Night

The Practical Cook adores a challenge, especially a vegetable challenge. When life gives you a bountiful harvest, why not have a Thanksgiving feast? Sunday Dinner went vegetarian with Complicated Veggie and her crew on board. If you want to test your culinary skills, invite them over, they earned the moniker from being vegetarians who all dislike different things, sometimes all at once. Don’t even think of waving a shitake at CV.

But I digress. Special thanks to CV Tall for coming up with the name Summer Thanksgiving, which captured the feeling of the event very nicely. Vegetables were cooked, and we got out of the way of their flavor. I was also inspired by two Algonquin Books cookbooks (Bill Smith’s fantastic Seasoned in the South and Dori Sander’s cookbook) and two from Workman (Crescent Dragonwagon’s awesome The Cornbread Gospels and Cheap.Fast.Good! from Alicia Ross and Beverly Mills). So there was much inspiration around this table.

Here’s the menu:

Cucumbers and Onions: I opted not to grind black pepper in them this time, due to the low spice tolerance of the audience.

Cucumbers and Onions

Cucumbers and Onions

Sliced Tomatoes: Home-grown, purple cherokees, and sungolds, with a sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil, mayo on the side.

Sliced Tomatoes with a Dab of Mayo

Sliced Tomatoes with a Dab of Mayo

Black-Eyed Peas: Home-grown, picked and shelled by The Practical Cooks Junior, with an assist from TPC’s Mom.

Black-Eyed Peas in the RInse Cycle

Black-Eyed Peas in the RInse Cycle

Butterbeans: The trick is a LOT of butter. Thanks to the waiter at Acme in Carrboro who tipped me off to that one.

Butterbeans Before the Butter

Butterbeans Before the Butter

Fried Okra: Medium high heat, medium heat with a cover, and a final sizzle. Perfect for the non-battered non-deep-frying home cook. And no potatoes in my fried okra, thank you very much. I never could abide by that.

Fried Okra, Dori Sanders Style

Fried Okra, Dori Sanders Style

Corn on the Cob: Pulled and shucked by The Practical Cooks Junior, with much pride and little oversight. Rock on you two.

Fresh Corn!

Fresh Corn!

Tractor Cornbread: This is, shhhh, one of the “Northern Cornbread” recipes from The Cornbread Gospels, very sweet and cakelike. I wanted a sure bet and a larger recipe to fill up the tractor pan.

Tractor Cornbread, Just Because I Can

Tractor Cornbread, Just Because I Can

Mashed Potatoes: They were late to the table and eaten fast, but I promise they looked good and tasted delish.

Freshly Dug by The Practical Cooks Junior

Freshly Dug by The Practical Cooks Junior

Squash Casserole (with a Soda Cracker and Parmesan Crust): I love squash casserole, but my crew does not. Of course, Team CV did, so it was a victory lap for me.

Simmer Simmer Squash Casserole Pot

Simmer Simmer Squash Casserole Pot

Squash Casserole with Soda Cracker and Parmesan Topping

Squash Casserole with Soda Cracker and Parmesan Topping

I’m sort of tired just typing this up, much less making it. I’m a pretty efficient cook, but this took some effort. However, the leftovers rocked out, and the company was well worth it. Next time I send out a call for help in eating up vegetables, you’ll know I’m not kidding! And, everyone left the table full, with just enough room for chocolate ice cream in a cone outside with the fireflies.

Summer Thanksgiving Feast

Summer Thanksgiving Feast

What do you cook for a crowd in the summer? Post your ideas here, or as a video response on YouTube.

Send your vegetable request and recipes to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Up next, the antithesis of vegetarianism, Foie Gras Tasting from the top of Las Vegas.

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Sliced Tomatoes

It is just beginning to be tomato season here in the South, a very happy time for The Practical Cook. When vegetables are at the height of their deliciousness, it’s best to just get out of the way and let them star. In late July and August, no self-respecting Sunday dinner table will be without sliced tomatoes. And don’t get me started on the joys of a tomato sandwich with mayo.

Tomatoes are one of those divisive foods. Rest assured, Gentle Readers, if you have eaten with The Practical Cook, she knows where you stand on the tomato goop issue. They create a lot of texture issues for people.

Sliced Tomatoes with Sea Salt and Mayo

Sliced Tomatoes with Sea Salt and Mayo

In an age where heirloom tomatoes are making a comeback, I encourage you to give them another try. There are less goopy ones, grape ones, green ones, etc.

If you find yourself with some ripe tomatoes, here’s my recommendation for serving, the inspiration taken from Bill Smith’s transcendent heirloom tomato plate at Crook’s Corner. If you have the chance, order it. No matter where I get my tomatoes, his tomato plate is always just a little bit better.

Sliced Tomatoes

a few very ripe tomatoes, heirlooms and varietals encouraged
basil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
mayonnaise

1. Wash and pat the tomatoes dry. Slice them using a very sharp knife and place them artfully on a plate

2. Chiffonade some basil (that’s fancy for cut in small strips). **I didn’t have any for this photo shoot. Forgive me.

3. Sprinkle the basil, a healthy sprinkle of your crunchiest sea salt, and a grind or two of black pepper on the tomatoes. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil. Serve with a dab of mayo on the side.

White bread is optional, but encouraged for the tomato goop fans, of which I am one. Welcome to summer in the South.

Where do you stand in the great tomato debate? Post your vote today!

Send your food pictures and reviews to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Up tomorrow, The Non-Boring Vegetarian Friendly Cookout Solution.

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A Case for Sunday Night Dinner

In the South, there’s a tradition of eating a fairly large Sunday dinner, and for the Practical Cook, this was at high noon growing up. In the summer, the table was especially full, complete with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and onions. I was down to my last cuke this Sunday, so opted for a jar of pickled beets, but the table was still pretty full.

Sunday Dinner with the Practical Cook

Sunday Dinner with the Practical Cook

This week, Gentle Readers, I’m cooking from my center, Southern Summer food. It’s familiar, it’s comforting, and it uses up a lot of what’s in the fridge. Life is busy, but Sunday dinner makes you slow down, if just to try one of everything on the table.

Sliced Tomatoes with Sea Salt and Mayo

Sliced Tomatoes with Sea Salt and Mayo

Sunday dinner is about catching up, relaxing, and serving more than the necessary amount of vegetables. There must be a main dish, a bread item (with honey and molasses available), sliced tomatoes, cukes and onions (pickled beets were a Punt!), a green vegetable, and something fried if at all possible. Potatoes are a nice addition, as is something in a casserole dish. Deviled eggs would not be out of place.

Princess Corn Muffins

Princess Corn Muffins

For dessert, if you can get there, pound cake, pie, or fruit-based desserts a la mode. I grew up in a farming family, and the habit of scrambling for calories at a big meal dies hard. When you work all day, you can eat like that. This is a sometimes meal for us now, but I encourage you to try your own version. Slow things down a bit, eat, talk, and enjoy leftovers the next day.

Sunday Dinner Time Means a Full Table

Sunday Dinner Time Means a Full Table

Do you cook a large meal during the week? For what occasion? Share your story in the comments.

Send your ideas and requests to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook good word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Tomorrow, Fried Squash with Soda Cracker Crumb Coating.

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Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, On the Table