I always thought I’d be famous. People even told me my name sounded famous:
Annie Sims Messenger.
Obviously, I agreed.
Although the talent that would lead me to fame remained undiscovered, my faith in my own future celebrity never wavered. I knew something would pop up in time for me to be strutting red carpets in my vibrant years.
Now, at age 31, with two children that have filled my heart with love but my rear with cellulite, and a husband whose ‘unspellable to most’ last name I chose to take, the odds are starting to stack against me.
Plus, I always sing my heart out at Karaoke and have yet to be snatched up by a talent scout. Not a good sign. (To all talent scouts reading this post: for future reference I like to frequent Japas27 on the Lower East Side. I’ll be the one alternating between Journey and Bon Jovi with passion oozing from her vocal chords.)
I am starting to face the cold, hard truth: My face may never grace US Weekly magazine, my Jimmy Choos may never stride down red carpets while swishing bolts of Badgely Mischka tulle, my eyes may never burn from flashing bulbs as I selflessly throw myself in front of my precious children as the paparazzi tries to figure out how I like my Starbucks.
The world may never end up being graced by my sparkling talent in…well, whatever it was that would have ended up shooting me to stardom.
So, I have decided to expand my horizons. Or rather, become more flexible with my previous definition of celebrity.
I am adding ’15 minutes of fame as a chef’ to the list of acceptable routes toward my name in lights.
And with that announcement, I give you my newest creation and (unofficial) entry for Top Chef:
Green Tomato Stacks with Goat Cheese, Peaches and Balsamic Reduction (Two Ways) :
~ green tomatoes
~ seasoning – salt, pepper, dried basil, curry powder
~ goat cheese
~ balsamic vinegar
~ brown sugar
Wash the green tomatoes and slice them into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of each seasoning to the flour and mix. Cover the bottom of a frying pan with canola or vegetable oil and heat on med-hi until small bubbles form around a wooden spoon handle when placed in the middle of the pan. With half of the slices, pass them through the flour mixture until coated and then place gently in the frying pan. Flip once the bottom edges look golden brown. Put the other half of the slices on a grill, flipping once grill marks appear on the underside. Be sure use a paper towel to pat excess grease off of the fried tomatoes once golden brown on both sides. Let both styles cool.
Add about 2 cups of balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan, along with 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla and heat on medium. Whisk every few minutes as it reduces. When bubbles are small, sturdy and shiny, turn the heat off and let cool. You can taste to see whether you would like it more tangy (add balsamic), sweeter (brown sugar), or thicker (cook a few minutes more) and let cool completely once it is to your liking.
Dice the peaches (about 2 or 3) into 1/8 inch cubes.
To assemble, spread a thin layer of goat cheese, sprinkle with the diced peaches and then drizzle with the balsamic reduction.
No need to serve with utensils! These are easy to eat with your hands in a bite or two. The perfect item to pass around at everything from a fancy cocktail hour to a corn hole championship BBQ. …or to have Padma and Tom consume in two perfectly sized (and delectable!) bites in your first Top Chef competition.
If you would prefer, you can easily make one style only, rather than ‘two ways.’ I should note that I brought these to a cookout and the grilled versions were everyone’s favorite when forced (perhaps aggressively) to choose.
You do NOT need to buy some fancy schmancy grill thing just to make sure tomatoes and such don’t fall through the cracks. We grabbed this one for about $4.50 at the local hardware store. Worked like a charm.
(I would be flattered and thrilled if you chose to try this recipe and/or share it! However, I will have to balsamic reduction* and feather you if you don’t give me proper credit for creating it or links to this site. Be forewarned…)
*I like my balsamic reduction quite sticky.