Channeling the Broads

My Hygeia (painted by my mom)

There are some days when even my big girl, killer heels just isn’t enough. My confidence is waning, my strength is sapped, and I wonder just how I’m going to get through it all. Those are the days I need to call out the troops. Or, in my case, channel the Broads. You know a Broad when you see one – those tough, confident women that Sinatra sings about. Broads don’t take crap from nobody, NO HOW! And they DON’T tolerate whining. Picture Rosalind Russell in “Auntie Mame”, Bette Davis in “All About Eve”, Joan Crawford in…well, anything.

Everyone has his or her own “broadian angels” who never fail to inspire and push you forward (whether I like it or not). For me there are many, but I’ve picked out three to introduce you to. First there’s Hygeia. Those of you who remember your mythology may be thinking “she gets strength from being healthy and clean?” Trust me, the last thing I want to do when my confidence is sagging is swiffer something or munch on some broccoli. Chocolate, and a dirty martini? Well, yes, that’ll do. My Hygeia is Klimt’s Hygeia, or rather a painting my mother did of her a few years ago that now graces my living room wall. If you’ve ever seen the original, you’ve seen that “don’t even think of messing with me or my girls” look in her eyes. Her glance alone is all I need to inspire me to kick some ass. (Hmm…she intimidated the hell out of an ex, can’t understand why…) The glance was in the original too, but I think my mom put in a little extra, just in case…

Next there’s TAWANDA. If you’ve read “Fried Green Tomatoes” or seen the movie you know her. Channeling Tawanda makes you say things like “Oh, I don’t THINK so” when your friend, grieving from a recent divorce, tells you to leave the good wine for the ex because “it was his favorite”. The Tawanda in you pops that sucker open and toasts ‘good riddance’ to the son-of-a-bitch-rat-bastard (PTEW), and then maybe knocks down a wall or two. Finally, there’s the broadian angels ‘up there’ keeping an eye on me, my grandmother chief among them. Oma Betty is my mother-lode of Teutonic tough broad. And you best not mess with the Oma! She and all the many others in the arsenal inspire and remind us that there is strength to tap into, inside and out. Because we know the BROADS will always have our backs.

Oma Betty

Since Tawanda was around today, I figure it’s divine inspiration to make some fried green tomatoes. I recently had a terrific version of these in a restaurant in Richmond VA, while visiting another one of my broads, Bubby Estelle. I knew I’d have to try to recreate them when I got back north of the Mason-Dixon. I’ve added a dipping sauce to drizzle on top. And FYI – they make a kick-ass BLT too. I think Tawanda would be pleased…

Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Blueberry mustard Sauce

Serves 2

For the Sauce

  • 1/4 cup blueberry all fruit (I use all fruit because it’s a little thinner and less sugary than jam)
  • 1 TBSP honey mustard
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix together all of the ingredients. Chill until ready to use.

For the Tomatoes

  • 1 large green tomato (about 1/2 lb)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • oil for frying

Slice the tomato into ¼” slices. Put the flour into one bowl, the buttermilk in another. Mix together the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper in a third bowl.

Add enough oil in a frying pan so it’s about a ¼” deep. Put pan over medium-high heat. The oil is ready if it sizzles and bubbles when you drop in some breadcrumbs.

Set up your three bowls in the order of flour, buttermilk, and the cornmeal-breadcrumb mixture. Dip the slices into the flour first, the buttermilk, letting the excess drip off first, and then the crumbs, making sure they are fully coated. Place carefully in the hot oil and cook until one side is golden brown (about 2-3 minutes). Carefully turn the slices over and fry on the other side. When both sides are nicely browned, remove to a rack or paper towels to remove any excess oil. Sprinkle generously with salt while they are hot.

Divide between two plates and serve with the sauce. Add a green salad and you’ve got a great lunch. Calories: 315/serving.

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