Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


I've been cooking more and blogging less the past few days. Various reasons, but the result is that I have some photos without the time or energy to accompany them with a full fledged blog post.

That said - here is a sampling of what I've been cooking/we've been eating the past few days:
Caponata (hope to get this organized for a July GYO post) 
Eggplant, sauteéd with onion and garlic that I've frozen to hold for winter soups, stews and sauces.

Relleños - This was a true experiment in terror.
I used Italian Corno di Toro peppers which are convoluted so they don't grill very efficiently, plus although our newsletter said they are thick walled and meaty, I found them a bit think skinned after grilling so was forced to use a complicated toothpick scaffolding framework to hold them together while they fried.  It could be because they were hard to skin due to the uneven grilling.  Don't think I'll try them for relleños again although they tasted GOOD.
The batter is very forgiving - hides a multitude of terrors as it turns out - but we had to be veeeeery careful while eating so as not to bite down firmly on fried toothpicks along the way. Delicious though (the relleños, not the picks).

I made another delicious batch of gazpacho. Nothing says summertime like a cold glassful of gazpacho.

And finally, a recipe I printed out last summer and never got around to preparing for Black Skillet Okra. The results come so close to fried okra only without the additional oil and calories of immersion frying that I might never fully fry okra again. It was faster and easier and much less mess afterwards than old school frying. A real deal all around.

Here's the recipe: Black-Skillet Okra
Time: 15 minutes

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1 pound tender young okra, washed
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (preferably peanut or grape seed).

1. Stir flour and cornmeal together in small bowl, and set aside. Heat a clean, well-seasoned 9- or 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat 5 minutes. Heat oven to 200 degrees.

2. Trim stems and pointed ends from okra, and slice pods into 1/2-inch rounds, dropping rounds into fine-screen, footed colander. Spray lightly with water, shake to remove excess drops, and toss okra well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle coating mixture over okra, and toss in colander to coat evenly. Shake colander to remove excess coating.

3. Increase skillet heat to high. Add half the oil to skillet. Drop half the okra into skillet in single layer. Wait 5 seconds, and stir. Continue to fry and stir until okra is deep brown and crisp with spotty char marks, about 5 minutes. Transfer fried okra to sheet pan in warm oven. Using mitts, remove hot skillet from stove, and wipe clean with paper towels. Return hot skillet to burner over high heat. Add remaining oil, and fry remaining okra. Serve okra hot, with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, fluffy rice and fried chicken or pork chops, or as croutons in a green salad.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings as a side dish (or 3 servings for real Okra hounds like me and my husband).

Tomorrow I pick up another CSA basket and we begin again.  Stay tuned....

No comments: