They had been sitting out on the table on the porch for weeks, not turning red. A couple turned a weak, pale orange, but the rest remained green and hard. Finally David asked if he could throw them into the compost pile. Tomatoes from our garden—toss them out??? “No, I’ll deal with them tonight,” I promised. So after dinner, as he was leaving for his studio and I was settling into my reading chair with a good book, he stuck his head back in the door to remind me that the tomatoes were waiting. Drat!
The good news was that I found a recipe for something called Green Tomato Mincemeat in that old stand-by, can't-live-without-it book, Putting Food By (1973). The bad news was that the recipe assumed the cook would be (1) making a huge batch of the stuff and (2) canning it. I just wanted to get the job done, not perform math (to cut the recipe down to the small number of green tomatoes on hand), so, I winged it and measured nothing. Chopped the tomatoes. Chopped up an apple. Found what looked like enough raisins. Got out the apple cider vinegar, the last of some apple syrup I was tired of seeing in the cupboard, cinnamon and (since I didn’t seem to have the other spices called for) “pumpkin pie spice.” Got it all simmering in the double boiler and sat down with my book at last. Before we went to bed, green tomato mincemeat was resting in the refrigerator.
On Halloween, when I got home earlier than David and our houseguest, I thought I’d make a green tomato mincemeat pie. My first impulse was to make regular piecrust, but then I noticed the store-bought graham cracker crust I’d bought weeks before, for some reason (I’m sure there was a reason), and never used. Feeling lazy and guilty, I quickly shifted to Plan B: store-bought crust and streusel topping with rolled oats, brown sugar, etc. Was this cheating?
Sunday morning when David asked if there was anything for breakfast, I suggested green tomato mincemeat pie with cheddar cheese. He elected to give it a try, and I must say it was delicious. It was so good that I recommend graham cracker crust (you could make that from scratch) and streusel topping for green tomato mincemeat pie, and, in fact, I’m thinking that maybe next year it wouldn’t be a bad idea to put up half a dozen jars of green tomato mincemeat.
Next, these chestnuts must be dealt with, but Thanksgiving isn’t that far in the future, and nothing says Thanksgiving like cream of chestnut soup.