What I Cooked Last Night

Sometimes I make up these crazy meals that turn out to be wonderful. When that happens, i think it is worth sharing. Occasionally something turns out to be a total disaster, then it is the story, rather than the recipe that is worth sharing. My kitchen creativity is best used on leftovers. I can work tasty magic with leftovers. Be sure to read the first post, "About My Cooking Style" which will help in following recipes when given, or to recreate meals from my prose.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Fresh From The Farm

My daddy (I am Southern. Southern women call their fathers "daddy" for their entire lives. ) brought me a pile of produce from the family farm yesterday. Score! I took a quick inventory. There were some gorgeous tomatoes, a handful of okra, a ton of yellow squash, cucumbers, shelled crowder peas and a large bowl of fresh blueberries. I had the makings of a sensational summer supper; Skillet Okra & Tomatoes, Gazpacho Salad, Grilled Squash and Crowder Peas with Brown Rice.

First I washed everything and then set about getting it all ready to cook. The crowder peas went into a medium saucepan with a handful of diced onions, a bay leaf, salt & pepper and a piece of turkey bacon. I brought them to a boil, then let them simmer while I did everything else. Meanwhile, I made the brown rice, using a recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated. I have included it below. While the peas simmered and the rice baked, I prepared everything else.

First I threw some diced onion, a big handful, into a medium skillet with some olive oil. Then I sliced up the squash, lengthwise. I sprinkled it with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and misted it with olive oil. I let it hang out while I tended to the rest. I diced up the okra and added it to the skillet. I added salt and pepper, a dash of Tabasco and let it brown a bit while I diced up two tomatoes. I laid the squash out on the grill then added the tomatoes to the okra, then seasoned the dish with about a teaspoon or so of Bouquet Garni, a French herb blend. You could use Italian Seasoning or any herbs that you like. After reducing the heat, the vegetables were good to simmer for about ten minutes.

Gazpacho Salad, (in my version anyway) consists of diced tomatoes, cucumber and onions, seasoned with dried parsley, a dash of Tabasco, salt, pepper and granulated garlic. I dressed it with a tablespoon each of balsamic vinegar and olive oil and left it to marinate in the icebox.

After giving the squash a flip, I set the table and when I was finished, so was the meal. I removed the bacon and bay leaf from the peas before serving. They were delicious over the rice, and the two together make a complete protein, the perfect compliment to an all vegetable meal.

Fast, easy, fresh and healthful, simply the perfect meal. I just love the summer. Who needs meat when you have such wonderful produce? I hope that your summer is just as tasty!

Idiot Proof Brown Rice

1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
2 1/3 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place rice in an 2 quart baking dish that has a lid. Add all seasonings and give a good stir. Add boiling water straight from the kettle. Cover tightly with foil and put the lid on the top. Bake for one hour. Let sit for 5 minutes before removing lid and foil.


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