This recipe has got personality top to bottom, from the title to the spicy flavors to the sassy instructions. Doris C., the original author from Thorn Grove Baptist Church , sounds like my type of people. Doris also appears to be related, by marriage, to the author of the over-the-top MSG-fueled Chicken Delicious casserole in the same cookbook. They would have been a family worth knowing.
Fire and Ice Tomatoes are, at heart, a vinegared tomato salad with zesty spices (the fire) and cucumbers (the ice). The sauce isn’t terribly spicy by modern extreme flavor standards, but still has quite a kick. The original recipe describes it as ‘sultry’, which seems entirely appropriate. It’s perfect for a zippy summer salad or even as a hamburger topping.
When I make this I prefer to substitute other, tastier peppers for the green bell pepper, which can add some unpleasant bitterness and get a weird flaccidity when pickled. Our local market stocks a variety of flavorful but mild green and yellow peppers, like Anaheim, pasilla, or sweet Hungarian peppers, any or all of which are better options. I will also throw in a couple of serranos or jalapenos if I have them in the house.
- 6 firm, ripe tomatoes
- 1 green bell pepper (or any mild peppers)
- 1 large red onion
The sultry sauce
- 3/4 cup white or apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt (may be omitted)
- 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tbsp celery salt
- 1/2 tbsp mustard powder
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup egg whites, beaten with 1/4 cup water
When ready to serve
- 1-2 cucumbers (skin removed)
Prepare the vegetables:
- Cut a small cross in the skin on the bottom of each tomato. Blanch quickly in boiling water 1-2 minutes until skins come off easily. Skin and quarter and set aside.
- Cut pepper into thin strips. Cut onion into thin rings. Add to a large bowl with tomatoes and set aside.
Prepare the sauce
- Mix ingredients together and bring to a boil. Boil furiously for 1 minute.
- Pour sauce over vegetables. Toss gently to coat. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve, at least four hours.
When ready to serve
- Prior to serving, skin and thinly slice a couple of cucumbers. Toss the cucumber slices with the chilled vegetables and serve immediately.