I realize, it’s halloween and okra is not exactly candy. But this simple recipe is so good, you’ll crave it like chocolate. Ok, maybe that’s a stretch, but you’ll crave it nonetheless.
Okra is something that’s completely new to me. I’ve been living here in Texas for awhile now, but have never been so inclined to give this humble vegetable a try until I had it at this summer at Contigo.
Their preparation is pretty straight forward: oil, garlic… cook them over high heat so they get that nice char without becoming slimy. The genius part is the way they finish it with sherry vinegar. It gives them such a sweet, tangy, almost pickled, kind of flavor… you’ll start eating these and not be able to stop.
Our vacation was filled with two weeks of unapologetic amounts of cheese, bread, wine and pastries… so coming home, this is the kind of comforting meal I look forward to… healing asian foods… shiitake mushrooms, ginger, sesame (and kale just for kale’s sake).
This is inspired by a recipe of Heidi’s that I’ve made countless times in a variety of ways. I just love the basic flavor idea – simmering ginger broth kicked up with lime juice basil, mint, and crushed red pepper flakes. Just because vacation is over doesn’t mean it’s time to eat boring food.
I kicked up the health-factor a notch by using shiratake noodles. (If you’ve never heard of them here’s the wikipedia description). The have no carbs or calories. I know… I was scared too. I had some rice noodles waiting in the wings in case these didn’t work out but they were delicious. The key is to use them in the right application. They won’t replace al-dente pasta, so I would not recommend using them in any kind of Italian dish. But they work well in Asian soups where you’re after a more slurpy noodle anyhow.
I seared some salmon to go on top, but it would be a delicious by itself as a vegetarian meal. If you’d like some more veggie protein, add some extra edamame or seared tofu.
I’m not always good at simple. Looking back at some of recipes I’ve posted recently, I realized that I heavily rely on my vitamix and my food processor. To me, these things are not a hassle, but “old me”, (in a previous life, I never used to cook), would completely skip over a recipe if it asked me to drag out my food processor. Even if i could find all of the pieces for it, I wasn’t interested in the mess and the cleanup.
So the other night, I set out to make something that didn’t require fancy ingredients or any kind of gadget. This stumped me for a few minutes and then I revisited Nigel Slater’s book, Tender… which I think is the perfect book when you need “less-is-more” kind of inspiration. His recipes don’t require exact measuring, and they serve as more of a guide than a precise process.
In lazy late-summer spirit, I settled on this herb-packed roasted red pepper recipe with yogurt sauce. I realize the ingredient list here doesn’t look super short, but I promise it goes quick. And feel free to put away the measuring spoons… it’s ok eyeball your ingredients, and alter things as you wish.
This is actually the third time I set out to make farro. And for one reason or another, a farro post is still yet to happen. Thanks to my superior pantry labeling system (a million unlabeled bags), I happened to grab these wheat berries instead. Turns out, pre-cooked wheat berries and pre-cooked farro look remarkably similar to each other.
Not that it matters… in these salads, any grain will do. The formula is simple: grain + green + nut + chopped fresh herbs + a tangy cheese (optional) + a seasonal special guest. Today’s seasonal guest is figs.
But unlike my other recent fig post, I don’t have a charming farmers market story. This weekend, we didn’t get up and out early. We laid around on the sofa watching netflix. In fact, I can hardly believe the summer is almost over and we’ve been so boring. But that’s about to change (no we’re not having a baby), but we’re getting ready to take a trip.
I was really excited to see figs pop out at our farmers market. I feel like fig season is so short… I can never show up at the store expecting figs to be there on any given day, so I just snatch them up when I see them.
That night I put together this simple flatbread… a no-fuss, no-oven, casual Saturday dinner that we shared with nice summery white wine.
Oh, and by the way, we’re becoming old people this summer. We’re the old married couple that strolls to the farmers market early on Saturday mornings. The old married couple that watches “programs” on TV together. We bicker for the sake of bickering (or when we’ve run out of other things to talk about). And we spend probably way too much time alone together. But somehow we like it that way.