I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stewed Okra and Tomotoes

Joe and I celebrate 5 years of marriage on Friday. I am a lucky, lucky girl to be able to spend every day of my life with someone who makes me laugh, cheers me on, shares my interests, loves me without abandon, and is truly my best friend. Thank you, my heart, for every moment of the past five years. I look forward to many more.

We spent the weekend traveling a bit to celebrate--first to friends' wedding in Pennsylvania, then on to Washington DC to be touristy and to eat. More on the eating part to come... It was so lovely to be able to get out of town and spend a lot of time out doors on one of the last summery weather weekends we may have before the seasons change for good. It was a little hot at times as we walked around the nation's capitol, but I tried to soak it up and enjoy every last drop. I always love the fall, but slightly dread the winter that is always sure to follow so try to cling desperately to summer's last moments. The following recipe reflects this attitude, by using the some of the last of the summer produce. However, it works just as well on a brisk, cool fall evening. Serve it as a side with a roast or top it with a poached egg for a simple lunch.

Stewed Okra and Tomatoes
6 servings
1 TB olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
3 c. chopped fresh okra
1/2 t. paprika
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2-3/4 c. water or stock
salt and pepper

In a large sauce pan heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and saute until tender. Then add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Then add the vinegar, okra, paprika, the whole can of diced tomatoes (juices and all) and water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes

Feeling a bit nostalgic today. Stuck indoors waiting for the cable man to show up, so I've been working on some photo editing, which meant I was looking through a bunch of old pictures. Also have spent some time emailing friends and family. Not exactly feeling homesick, but definitely missing those who aren't in NYC (and even a few who are. It's easy to go far too long without seeing certain friends in this town). It's always the hardest when we don't have another trip back to Kansas on the calendar and I'm not sure when I'll next get to hug my loved ones.

This recipe will always make me think of home. My mom would have us plant a massive garden every summer in our backyard, and the best part was always the tomatoes. There is really nothing better than a fresh-picked ripe tomato right off the vine eaten like an apple...possibly with a slight sprinkle of salt. Only a little bit lower on the tomato totem pole are fried green tomatoes. I love the tart bite the tomatoes have and a crunchy, Parmesan-bread crumb coating is the perfect compliment. This is more or less how my mom made them and I've never come across any that I like so much. This is an excellent way to use those tomatoes that don't have time to ripen up at the end of the season. I have my friend Mary to thank for this batch, as little critters have been getting to hers as soon as they turn red, so she let me take a few green ones so they wouldn't get nibbled on!

I served these more or less as an appetizer one night. As a side I served corn in one of my favorite preparations: cut right off the cob and cooked with lots of butter, salt, pepper, and chopped up peppers (here chocolate peppers, but usually with bell peppers).

Fried Green Tomatoes

3-4 medium green tomatoes, cleaned and sliced 3/4" thick
1 c. flour
1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 t. seasoned salt
1/2 t. paprika
1/2 t. celery salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. salt
2 eggs
1/3 c. milk
frying oil

Heat 1/2" of frying oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.
Mix together the flour, panko, Parmesan, seasoned salt, paprika, celery salt, pepper and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl, beat together the eggs and milk.
Dip the sliced green tomatoes in the egg mixture and then coat with the breadcrumb mixture.

Place the coated tomatoes into the hot oil and cook until browned and crispy on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. 

Be sure not to overcrowd the pan, cooking in smaller batches. If the breadcrumbs are burning and cooking too quickly, turn the heat down to medium. Then remove to a paper towel covered platter before adding the next batch of tomatoes to the oil. Serve immediately.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lemon Blackberry Trifle

It has been a hectic few weeks around these parts. The trip back to Kansas was packed full of family, friends, babies (yes, Miss Penny Lane made her appearance so we could meet!), and a bacon explosion. We came back to NYC after the earthquake but just in time to prep for Hurricane Irene.

Stocked up on canned goods, water, candles, flashlights and wine, we settled in to await the storm. And wait and wait. Luckily we never really got the hit in our neighborhood. The power stayed on and other than a few trees going down, the damage wasn't too bad. I think the biggest toll was on our patience as we sat indoors just expecting the storm to hit at any minute. Luckily we passed the time with board games, movies, and cooking. We made a wonderful homemade lasagna, cookies, french toast. And although all the prep and expectation was mostly for naught, it was a great excuse to hole up in the apartment and spend good quality time with my husband.

This trifle isn't something we actually made while hiding out at home during the rain and wind, but it wouldn't be a bad way to weather a summer storm. It has bright sunny flavors but is incredibly simple and may even be a good way to use up a few items if the power does go out and you need to quickly use up some things in the fridge. It isn't really a recipe, but is a basic outline that you can add to/change up for any occasion.

Lemon Blackberry Trifle
lemon curd (perhaps this recipe)
homemade whipped cream (like this?)
crumbled butter cookies
blackberries (blueberries, strawberries, peaches??)

Layer up all the ingredients into clear individual serving dishes. Grab a spoon and enjoy!