Cookin' with Lou

When I find something I like--a food item, restaurant and sometimes even a cookbook--I tend to overdo it, which means I will eventually get tired of it. But that hasn't been the case with the new cookbook I gave David for his birthday.

Big Ranch, Big City is the kind of cookbook you can and want to use every day--working your way through every recipe. We think it's that fabulous. Simple foods with lots of flavor. You may remember a few weeks ago, we made the shrimp pozole verde and loved every bite.

We have been eyeing a few other recipes in the book that were on the top of our "to-do" list, so when we came across green tomatoes at the farmers market last week, David snatched them up! He knew immediately he wanted to make the fried green tomatoes with crab remoulade and a broken tomato vinaigrette. Since it's still been lingering around 80 degrees in San Antonio, we thought this dish would bode well for the in-between seasons that we seemingly are stuck in.

It was a beautiful dish to make. And the textures and flavors we spot on. We got into the kitchen together and started cooking. David made the remoulade and I got the tomato vinaigrette started and then battered and fried the green tomatoes. Within 20 minutes, we were seated and enjoying this southern dish with a contemporary twist. The tomato vinaigrette seals the deal. It brings the right amount of acid and really makes the dish come to life.

That's the way Lou Lambert cooks. He takes classic ranch dishes and updates them giving them a city spinm if you will. And he does an amazing job. He has a handful of restaurants in Austin (Jo's and Lambert's) and Fort Worth (Lambert's Steaks, Seafood and Whiskey), and has created the menu at his sister's hotel restaurant in San Antonio, Hotel Havana's Ocho Lounge. Currently, he is busy hitting the trails promoting his cookbook and working on a PBS cooking show.

Lou Lambert cooking in his kitchen at home.

David and I are more than excited to have Lou with us this Sunday at the Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market where he will whip up a few dishes from his cookbook and then sign cookbooks that you can buy at the market. You can later gift these signed copies to your cowgirl and cowboy as well as city slicker friends for the holidays!

So come on over to the market this Sunday and stock up on everything you'll need for your Thanksgiving dinner menu. You can also meet Lou, taste some of his creations and load up on a fabulous and classically Texas holiday gift--signed by the author. As a token of appreciation (for yourself--to you from Santa!) and for those people in your life who are impossible to buy for, this cookbook will be a hit and they will always think of you when they use it.

Now that's what the holiday season is all about!

Buen provecho!

Fried Green Tomatoes with Crab Remoulade and a Broken Tomato Vinaigrette
The Cowgirl Gourmet made this recipe from Lou Lambert's Big Ranch, Big City cookbook

Print recipe

Fried green tomatoes are fine. All good southerns love them. But with the crab remoulade, fried green tomatoes are great. Add the broken tomato vinaigrette and now you're talking something special. These would be a great appetizer, though we made them for dinner with a gorgeous fall salad featuring sliced pear, Maytag blue cheese and walnuts.

Serves 6

Tomato vinaigrette
Makes 1 cup

1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed and then coarsely chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium high heat. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 5-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the tomato paste and sugar. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Add the white wine vinegar, stirring well.

Pour the vinaigrette into a blender or food processor and pulse until tomatoes are finely chopped. Use any leftover vinaigrette as salad dressing for spinach salad or anything else your heart desires.

Crab remoulade

1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, picked over for bits of shell
1 shallot, finely diced
2 Tablespoons finely diced celery
2 green onions, white and green parts, finely diced
2 Tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Kosher salt and finely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika

Stir all wet ingredients together in a mixing bowl and then fold in crab meat until everything is well combined.

Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Fried green tomatoes

Vegetable oil, for frying (about 1 cup or more as needed)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour or brown rice flour (divided)
2 cups cornmeal
4-5 green tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large skillet with vegetable oil over medium-high heat until oil reaches 375 degrees. Whisk together the eggs and milk in a bowl.

In another bowl, combine the cornmeal and 1 cup of the flour, season with salt and pepper and transfer to a large plate.

To fry the tomatoes, dust both sides with the remaining flour, lightly dip in egg mixture and then coat both sides with the cornmeal mixture.

Carefully drop the tomato in the hot oil and fry each side for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown.

Transfer the tomato to a paper towel lined plate, sprinkle with a little salt and place in a low oven to keep them warm while you finish frying the rest of the tomatoes.

To serve, top each tomato with a generous spoonful of the crab remoulade and a drizzle of tomato vinaigrette.

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