about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

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    A Look Back.



Healthy Versions of Southern Classics.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been making all sorts of adventurous vegetarian food for the farm staff – things like millet, quinoa, and seitan.  The purpose of my internship is to help educate both the staff and the CSA members, on how to create healthy yet delicious farm to table food.  Since the farm guys have all been such good sports about my “hippie food”, this week I decided to give them a break.  Instead of introducing something new, I decided to do a twist on something old – southern classics. 

I started by once again unleashing my inner baker.  We have a plethora of blueberries on the farm right now, and when I saw this recipe for blueberry cornbread, I knew it would be perfect for my staff lunch. 

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The recipe only called for one cup of blueberries, but I decided that since I had more, I might as well use them.

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Poured the batter into a baking dish and slid it into the oven for 30 minutes…

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The final result – amazing blueberry cornbread madness!

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I didn’t really think about it at the time, but the addition of the extra blueberries increased the moisture content of the cornbread, making these really dense and almost cake-like. 

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Even though they were thick and doughy, they were absolutely delicious. 

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They kind of reminded me of blueberry pancakes in a square shape!

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Drool.

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The next attempt at a healthified southern classic was this Un-fried Green Tomatoes with Fresh Tomato Gravy recipe.  I was particularly nervous about making this because I’ve never actually had fried green tomatoes, so I wasn’t sure how the final product was supposed to taste.  I started by slicing a bunch of big green tomatoes…

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And then prepared them using my handy breading station.  I dipped each slice in fat-free milk, and then coated them in a mixture of flour and cornmeal, with a pinch each of salt and sugar.  The key to getting them crispy was putting them directly onto a HOT sheet pan, that had been pre-heated in the oven. 

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These baked in the oven for 35 minutes total, and I flipped them once after 20 minutes.  The final product – crispy and crunchy on the outside, and sweet and tangy tomato on the inside. 

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Served with a tomato-mushroom “gravy” that was made by simply simmering mushrooms and tomatoes together over low heat for a long time, extracting a ton of flavor. 

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We put a little spoonful of the gravy on top of each bite of tomato – the perfect combination of flavors!

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Like I said, I had never had fried green tomatoes, so I wasn’t sure if these turned out well or not.  The minute they hit the table the farm staff absolutely freaked out.  Every last tomato was devoured, and no one believed me that there was no oil or frying!

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A huge success that I know they will ask me to make again.  I wish I had made more – they disappeared so quickly!

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I’m going to make these again for me and Casey for dinner one night next week.  I am trying to embrace my southern surroundings!  :)

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Onto my next southern dish – my first time making OKRA.  To be honest, I was really scared.  There was a lot of talk of slime prior to cooking these, and I did my best to make the okra appealing despite the somewhat slimy texture.  This okra started off PINK, and turned green when I cooked it – so weird!  Is that normal?

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Final dish – simple sauté of yellow squash and okra tossed with salt, pepper, and a little feta cheese. 

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I only used a little bit of feta, which was a tasty and subtle addition to the dish. 

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Next time I am going to try baking the okra to see if I can avoid the slime!

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Last but certainly not least – I made two frittata dishes!  These were actually the stars of the lunch spread, and I’m not sure why I didn’t end up with more pictures of them.

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The first was a mushroom and pepper frittata topped with fresh tomatoes, basil, and hunks of baby Swiss cheese.  I can’t even explain to you how good this was. 

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Cheese literally oooooozing out of the crevices of each piece.  This was also the first time I’ve eaten an egg in over 6 months.  We’ve decided to re-introduce eggs into our diet, but only in small amounts and only from sources we have researched.  It all comes down to knowing where your food comes from.  The first bite felt kind of weird, but the rest were absolutely delicious.  :)

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Frittata #2 was filled with fingerling potatoes, zucchini, and onions – another great combination.  I added a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to this egg mixture, which gave it a really nice flavor. 

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I would say my healthy southern spread was my most successful lunch to date.  There was not a single piece of food left on the table when we all got up to go back to work!

After I cleaned up the lunch dishes and the pool house, I busted out of work early to hit the road to Indianapolis.  I am currently blogging in the car, headed toward Lexington, Kentucky!  Rather than try to do the almost 11 hour drive in one shot, we’re stopping a few hours out so that we don’t have another super late night drive.  I am too old to drive into the wee hours of the morning!

See you in Kentucky!  :)

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32 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Lee     at 12:49 am

Since moving to the South 8 years ago, fried green tomatoes are one of the only Southern foods that I’ve really liked (and boiled peanuts). I’ll have to try your version.

[Reply]

Meagan Reply:

Boiled peanuts? I’ve never heard of that!

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

I have seen them, but never eaten them!

[Reply]

Meagan Reply:

It does kinda sound good though!

[Reply]

Annie@stronhealthyfit     at 1:02 am

Please open a restaurant someday so I can eat some of your food! It all looks so delicious. Blueberry cornbread- brilliant :-)

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Haha I will see what I can do!

[Reply]

Ida     at 2:19 am

your cooking skills are really impressive! seems like you never repeat anything. I love eggs, and local, free range taste the best. I really want to have my own chickens some day.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thank you! I try to keep things new and interesting. :)

[Reply]

Lalla     at 3:57 am

It looks all so delicious! :D
I have a question: I would like to do the blueberries cornbread, but I have an allergy to corn (this is also called mais, right?). What can I put instead corn? Do you have any suggestion? :) Thank you
greetings from Switzerland
Lalla

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Hmmm that’s a tricky one. Maybe try adding some semi-cooked millet? It’s a similar flavor. I haven’t tried this though, so no promises that it would work!

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Karen     at 7:48 am

Great idea on the blueberry cornbread! My CSA bag has had blueberries for the past few weeks, I will have to try it. My bag has also had okra for the past few weeks and really draw a blank as to what to do with it (besides fry it). I have found that if you sauté it for 6 minutes or so you can stir a lot of the slime out. Also, you must have red okra. I have heard it turns green when cooked. Pretty cool trick!

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

It was so pretty!

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Brittany     at 8:51 am

I love okra. I grew up in East TN and okra is a staple. You can sprinkle a little corn meal in the mix to take up some of the slime. That is just how okra is… slimy. :) I always sprinkle a little corn meal in my mix. Okra, green tomatoes, and squash with a little bit of cornmeal mixed in is AMAZING! :)

I live in Louisville, KY now. If you are coming through I can tell you of some really great restaurants! I am in Cincinnati right now and ate at the Green Dog Cafe thanks to your blog!!

E-mail me if you want more info! brittanyann85@gmail.com

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

I am driving through Louisville right NOW!! Hope you liked green dog. I am jealous!

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Nice – I will give that a try next time!

[Reply]

Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen)     at 8:54 am

I love making healthy version of classic favorites. All of my friends are always so shocked that what they are eating it healthy. I was shocked when I baked the green tomatoes before. They were so good and crispy! Good for you showing them it can be done! The blueberry cornbread sounds delicious!

Have a great trip and stay safe on the road!

[Reply]

Brittany (a healthy slice of life)     at 8:56 am

Those unfried green tomatoes are amazing! I really want to try them!

I envy your ability to create recipes- they always turn out so pretty and yummy looking :)

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Meagan     at 9:28 am

I’m glad to hear you are adding eggs into your diet. They are so nourishing and full of good fats! Those fried tomatoes look really good. I didn’t know about the hot sheet pan trick. I am definitely going to try this with sweet potatoes and see if I can get them crispy :)

[Reply]

Emily     at 11:46 am

OH I can’t wait to try those tomatoes. They look divine!

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Beverly     at 11:57 am

All of these dishes look amazing! I love fried green tomatoes and can not wait to try your method. Yum!

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Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt     at 11:58 am

As a girl of the South, I can tell you there is nothing better than fried green tomatoes, fresh okra, and of course, grits. I love the idea of feta with okra. Definitely going to give it a try!

[Reply]

Katie @ Healthy Heddleston     at 12:56 pm

Those meals looks amazing! Good for you to try cooking all those ingredients that you had never tried before!

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thank you – I was nervous!

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Rachel     at 12:59 pm

Can I ask why you’ve decided to reintroduce eggs into your diet?

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

We had only eliminated them because of the treatment of chickens at most factory farms, but we had been looking for a good local (ethical) source so that we could eat them again.

[Reply]

Robyn     at 4:23 pm

Everything you made looks so good! Especially the un-fried green tomatoes. And the cornbread. Okay everything in general haha. Never have tried okra though.

[Reply]

Dan     at 10:58 am

Emily, can you provide details on how you made the frittattas? They look delishush!

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

I should do a fritatta post, since they are much easier to explain with pictures. BUT – the short version is that you saute the vegetables in a non-stick pan, and mix up your egg mixture on the side. Once the veggies are cooked, pour the eggs into the pan and let it sit for about 5 minutes until the bottom and sides are well cooked and browning. Then pop it under the broiler to cook the rest of the top, and pull it out once you can tell the middle is cooked (not jiggly). SO GOOD!

[Reply]

bein good to me     at 10:24 pm

I made the blueberry cornbread last weekend and put in an extra handful of blueberries like you suggested and it turned out AMAZING! Great recipe, thanks for sharing!
-Lisa

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Oh yay – I’m so glad! :)

[Reply]

Alexis @ hummusapien     at 9:50 pm

those unfried green tomatoes look spectacular! What a wonderful idea!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

That’s one of my favorite recipes!

[Reply]

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