Almost every weekend this summer there have been – and will continue to be - festivals somewhere on Delmarva that celebrate the produce that is ripening and being picked around us. Just this past weekend the small town of Wyoming once again sponsored the Peach Festival that began long ago at Fifer's Orchards and the town's population more than doubles on the first Saturday in August. Mary Fifer Fennemore's original idea of rewarding regular customers with a free ice cream day has now become one of mid-Delaware's most anticipated and well-attended events.
About 50 miles south of Dover – and not far across the Delaware State line – in Vienna, Md., the Great Eastern Shore Tomato Festival will be celebrated on Saturday, Aug. 17 in the small town of Vienna. There is a wonderful and easily accessible park along the Nanticoke River that will be a perfect venue for celebrating Delmarva's long history of growing, canning and shipping tomatoes all over the country. This event is sponsored by the Dorchester County Historical Society and will feature local bands, artisan crafters and vendors, tomato salsa and tomato pie competitions, the opportunity to savor fried green tomato sandwiches and activities for all ages. There will be NO admission fees and NO parking costs so this is a perfect time for you to come out and discover yet another of Delmarva's small town treasures.
I've been busy this past week reading and editing some of the tomato recipes that will be included in the cookbook titled "Fifty Shades of Red" that this Historical Society has been busy compiling. This cookbook will also be available for sale at the Tomato Festival.
This column features some of the recipes that I've been reading and trying this week. Spicer's three carefully tended tomato plants are producing enough tomatoes to keep me busy cooking and to keep Spicer busy taste-testing. I hope you will, too.
To contact Judi, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NON-FRIED "FRIED" TOMATOES
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
2 large eggs, beaten
5 cup finely crushed corn flakes or tortilla chips
Salt and pepper
2 pounds firm tomatoes, any color, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
Pam cooking spray
Lemon wedges OR ranch dressing
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray large rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray. Spray wire cookie cooling racks with cooking spray and place inside the baking sheets. Whisk together flour and Old Bay to mix. Place flour, eggs and "cornflakes" in 3 separate shallow dishes. Dredge each tomato slice in flour mixture, then eggs, then cornflakes. Place in a single layer on the prepared wire racks. Sprinkle slices with salt and pepper and lightly spray with cooking spray. Bake in preheated oven for 7 or 8 minutes then use a spatula to turn each slice and continue baking for 7 or 8 minutes more until golden. Serve with lemon wedges or ranch dressing. Serves 2 to 4.
Page 2 of 2 - CRUSTLESS CHERRY TOMATO PIE
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup crumbled, fried bacon or chopped up ham
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup FRESH basil, finely chopped (IMPORTANT TO USE FRESH BASIL)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease and set aside a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Whisk eggs and milk together in a large bowl. Whisk in the remaining ingredients and stir until evenly mixed. Pour into prepared pie plate. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, checking to see when knife blade inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to "set" for 5 minutes. Serves 2 to 4.
IMPOSSIBLE "BLT" PIE
12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup Bisquick baking mix
Lettuce and chopped tomatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease and set aside a 9-inch deep dish. Layer bacon and cheese in prepared pie plate. Place remaining ingredients (EXCEPT LETTUCE AND TOMATOES) in a medium bowl and whisk together until smooth. Carefully pour over ingredients in pie plate. Bake for 45 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and garnish each wedge with lettuce and tomatoes. Serves 4 to 6.