Just a quick post today. I have a few recipes I need to post but I am worn out after a busy day at work and my creative juices have stopped flowing. I like to go with super easy when I fry okra. I’ve tried batters and fancy breading recipes but none of the really seem worth the extra effort. You will notice in my first picture I snuck in some zucchini fries too. Sometimes frying those wonderful garden fresh veggies is just so good!
Fresh Fried Okra
salt, pepper, cayenne, or any spice you desire
oil for frying
Wash your okra and trim stem end. Cut into bite size pieces or leave whole if desired. You should look for small okra; larger pieces tend to get a woody texture and bite size make it easier to eat.
Heat oil over medium high heat; use plenty of oil in large skillet for best results or fry in separate batches.
Place okra in a bowl and toss with an egg or two depending on how much okra you have; I used about a pint basket of okra and one egg.
Remove okra from egg and toss with flour. Sift gently to get rid of excess flour. Place breaded okra in hot oil; let cook for about a minute before stirring. Carefully stir to make sure all surfaces are submerged and not sticking together; continue to fry for 2 – 3 more minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from skillet onto paper towels. Immediately sprinkle with salt and pepper and any other spices; think of it like a french fry when seasoning. If you have a favorite season salt or blend don’t be afraid to sprinkle that on.
I bought some broccoli at the farmers market today …. in retrospect I should have known it wasn’t the best idea. Broccoli doesn’t like this much heat and it’s been very hot. It tends to get bitter and I am not a huge fan of bitter. I did a little research on how to remedy this and combined the best ideas I could find. I must agree that it worked. I first blanched the broccoli with a little vinegar in the water … this probably did the job alone, but I decided I wanted a lemon butter seasoning so I went ahead with my plans. It came out very well; I must confess I purchased this fresh from the farm I did have to remove a couple of worms … they happen; I’d much rather pick out pests than contend with pesticides. After blanching I found the 2 rather easily. Soaking in salt water before beginning also helps so make sure and wash and check your veggies thoroughly.
12 o.z. fresh broccoli
1 quart water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbs butter
juice of one lemon
Bring water and vinegar to boil. Add broccoli and boil for 1 – 2 minutes. Immediately drain and submerge in ice water for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside until ready to cook. In sauce pan melt butter, add lemon zest and lemon juice. Cook broccoli 4 – 5 minutes until heated through.
I love finding a piece of beef marked down. This week it was a package of chuck steak; two small steaks weighing about 1 1/2 pounds. Certainly not fit for grilling; at least not to the medium rare I prefer my steak so I decided a roast would be delicious.
I went with just a stove top cook for these. It took about 2 hours total time. I always begin by seasoning with salt and pepper and browning the beef of both sides. This takes about 4 – 5 minutes each side. Once browned I added a half cup of water and covered. Reduce heat to low and allow to slowly simmer for about an hour. Prepare a few potatoes ~ I used about 8 baby reds cut in half. Peel a few carrots; I love carrots so I went with 6 cut in half. Charles likes celery so I added a couple of stalks of celery and one onion cut into quarters. Place veggies under meat after first hour has passed.
Continue simmering another hour or so until vegetables and meat are tender. Once tender remove meat and veggies from pan. If desired make some gravy with the drippings or serve with a little butter, salt, and pepper on the potatoes.
I decided to grill some zucchini today while the coals were hot. I really enjoyed the garlic butter combination. I’d actually intended to add some parmesan but forgot by the time lunch was ready! I enjoyed the zucchini cut into wedges; very easy to handle while cooking.
2 medium zucchini ~ quartered lengthwise
1 clove minced garlic
2 Tbs butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Mince garlic and combine with butter, salt, and pepper. Heat to melt butter and set aside. Over hot coals begin browning zucchini. About 2 minutes each side depending on grill temperature.
Begin basting with garlic butter. Butter may cause flare ups so be careful while grilling and rearrange as needed. Continue to cook 2 – 3 minutes longer or until zucchini is desired tenderness. Brush with remaining garlic butter just before serving if desired.
I still had half of a spaghetti squash leftover from my post the other day and decided I should make a tasty side dish. I went with butter and toasted garlic. We really enjoyed it; the squash still had plenty of body to it and the garlic added a delicious touch. Very quick and easy to make; of course you will need the par-baked squash to get started.
Spaghetti Squash and Toasted Garlic
1/2 spaghetti squash (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 Tbs butter ~ divided
1 large clove garlic ~ minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 dash cayenne pepper
Prep spaghetti squash. In medium skillet melt 1 Tbs butter; add garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Simmer for about 2 minutes until garlic is toasted.
Add squash and remaining butter and toss together. Heat another minute until hot.
The past two days I have been so disappointed. Just as I hit the publish button on my blog I look up to see the clock has turned to midnight and I’ve missed my “daily blog” by seconds. I had finished writing last night and was doing one final proofread as I heard the rebooting noise of my cable box letting me know I was too late once again! So back on track I must be. And hot wings are on tap for dinner. I am not a big bleu cheese fan and ranch isn’t my cup of tea either so today we tried to make a great dressing and ended up going for a parmesan peppercorn. I haven’t allowed much resting time for it as we were ready to dig in about 30 minutes after finishing but I think we have a winner.
Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 tsp each granulated garlic, onion powder, salt, and sugar
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp lime zest
4 tsp lime juice
2 Tbs milk
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
1 Tbs fresh minced parsley
Stir together all ingredients in any particular order. Serve with fresh vegetables if using as a dipping sauce. I would also think this would be great with a rib eye salad.
I was dying to make something with some of the leftover lamb from the leg roast. I first cooked down the bone to make a fantastic broth. I love beef barley soup and knew that lamb would be at least as fantastic. Substitute beef if desired and any kind of broth or stock will work. It could have used a bit more barley perhaps but really quite delicious.
Lamb and Barley Stew
1 Tbs butter
1 pound fresh sliced or diced mushrooms
4 cups broth – lamb, beef, or chicken
1/4 cup barley
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 1/2 cups diced potatoes
2 cups diced lamb or beef
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp garlic and a dash of cayenne if desired
salt and pepper to taste
Saute mushrooms for about 10 minutes in butter; cook to desired tenderness.
Add broth and bring to simmer. Stir in barley and cook for about 30 minutes.
Add carrots, celery and potatoes bring back to boil and reduce heat; simmer another 10 – 15 minutes or until vegetables and barley are tender.
Stir in tomatoes, meat, and desired seasonings. Heat through and serve.
I haven’t made a chicken pot pie in quite a while and we had plenty of leftovers from the chickens we roasted yesterday so I couldn’t resist stirring one up today. I made a homemade herb pie crust and put it on the top only. Sometimes I use a pie crust, other times biscuit, or even a puff pastry is good. Just make it the way you like!
Chicken Pot Pie
3 Small Potatoes
2 Celery Stalks
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp marjoram
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp garlic
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
2 1/2 cup leftover chicken
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup peas
Dice vegetables and sauté in olive oil for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Adjust the veggies to your liking; I ended up with about 4 cups total diced vegetables.
Add salt, pepper, and spices; stir in chicken broth and bring to simmer. Whisk together cornstarch and cold water; add this to simmering vegetable mixture and stir until thickened. Stir in remaining ingredients bring to simmer and remove from heat.
Pour into deep dish pie pan; top with pie crust or biscuit topping of choice.
I actually had a bit more than would fit into my pie pan so I made a small pot pie as well using the extra filling and crust.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes; allow about 5 minutes or so to rest before serving.
Here is the pie crust recipe I used:
1/3 cup cold butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4-5 tbs water
Mix flour, marjoram, and garlic in a medium bowl. Cut in cold butter until pea sized pieces form. Add water a tablespoon at a time until dough works together. Roll out dough to cover pie ~ there will be a bit extra or crust can be thicker.
As I mentioned yesterday Charles did all of the cooking for us. We had brussels sprouts with our dinner; you’ve got to love fresh brussels sprouts. They are so easy to prepare and are way tastier than the frozen kind. They are kind of fun to grow in the garden too. We’ve grown them a couple of times. Brussels like the cooler weather so planting late or early in season is the key. They grow from the bottom up so when harvesting you pick off the bottom sprouts and the plant gets taller and grows more sprouts as the weather permits. Anyway, here’s how he fixed them yesterday ~
Garlic Butter Brussels Sprouts
1 pound brussels sprouts
2 clove garlic – minced
3 Tbs butter
salt and pepper
Wash and trim brussels sprouts. In large pot bring 2 quarts water to boil; parboil brussels sprouts for 3 minutes. Drain, remove from heat, and cover with cool water until cool enough to handle. In medium skillet melt butter over medium high. Cut brussels sprouts in half and sauté about 8 minutes until cut sides of brussels sprouts have begun to brown and are desired tenderness. Add garlic and salt and pepper if desired. Toss together and heat another 2 minutes to release garlic before serving.
I love making new things with squash. When one of our latest magazines came in it had a spaghetti squash gratin listed … so I did what any loving wife would do and left the magazine open to the page, left it out where Charles would see, and purchased a spaghetti squash.
He and I cook alike. We find a recipe or picture we like (perhaps we even read the recipe) but after that all bets are off and the recipe takes on a new life. So while I was at work today I left him to do the cooking. Baked chicken with augratin spaghetti squash and brussels sprouts.
To begin with the squash needs baked. I’d always wrestled the with the squash to cut it in half, scooped out the seeds, and then baked. Apparently if you pierce the skin several times and roast it whole for about 1 hour and 20 minutes at 375 degrees it works perfectly and cuts way easier. Just flip over about half way through and allow to cool before cutting in half. Remove the seeds and using a fork fluff the spaghetti like pulp. Here is the recipe for the squash Charles made today ~
Augratin Spaghetti Squash
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 Tbs butter
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 Tbs flour
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 cup extra sharp cheddar
1 Tbs parmesan ~ freshly grated
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Combine the broth, cup of milk, butter, and garlic in sauce pan; heat through. Shake together flour and 1/4 cup milk until smooth. Add to sauce pan and simmer over medium heat stirring constantly until thickening begins. Add remaining seasonings and cheeses; combine well. Put prepared spaghetti squash into 2 quart buttered casserole and pour sauce over top. Top with bread crumbs and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Kick heat up to 425 degrees and bake an additional 5 minutes to further brown top if desired.