HomeGrown

Home cookin’: HomeGrown Restaurant on Merrimon Avenue features local and seasonal food at good prices — and plenty of tomatoes in the late summer. Photo by Jonathan Welch

HomeGrown Restaurant at 371 Merrimon Ave. specializes in local, seasonal, affordable food. Miki Kilpatrick, who owns the restaurant with her husband Greg Kilpatrick, talks about all of the ways that the restaurant uses local tomatoes during peak season. For more information about HomeGrown, visit http://slowfoodrightquick.com.

Xpress: What’s your favorite tomato variety?
MK: Any homegrown tomato, of course! We try not to discriminate around here and love ‘em all, from those sweet little sungolds to the big ol’ Mr. Stripeys, even your basic indeterminate.

Where are your local tomatoes from?
We get lots of indeterminate tomatoes from Mr. Ramsey, Marshall’s ‘mater man and get heirloom varieties from Wool Branch Farm and Whispersholler Farms. All the tomatoes [this time of year] on our menu are local. We serve them on most sandwiches, with our garden salad, in salsa with our smoked tempeh burrito and fish tacos and in numerous other sauces.

Willing to share your favorite tomato recipe?
Sure, though we have to go on record as saying our favorite way to enjoy a perfectly in-season tomato is with salt and pepper, a little olive oil if you’re feeling fancy or placed between two slices of good bread with a little mayo and maybe some bacon.

Green Tomato Casserole
Ingredients:
(Base)
12 green tomatoes, cured and cut in half
2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced in rings
1 cup basil, chopped
1/4 cup garlic, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 cup sugar
(Topping)
6 green tomatoes
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups cornmeal
2 tbsp blackening spice
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper

Method:
Toss all casserole base ingredients and grill on a hot grill for 10 minutes. Place in a casserole dish. Mix all topping ingredients except for tomatoes and buttermilk to make a cornmeal dredge. Slice remaining tomatoes for topping in 1/4 slices. Dredge the sliced tomatoes in the cornmeal mix, dip in buttermilk and dredge in the cornmeal mixture again. Fry for 7 minutes. Shingle the fried tomatoes over the base in your casserole pan. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly on sides and golden brown on top.

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