Tag Archives: okra

Grilling isn’t (all) About Meat

12 Aug

Summertime is in full swing here in Texas which means that just about everyone with access to a grill is firing it up on at least a weekly basis. Grilling gives you an excuse to do so many things – hang out outside, play with fire, invite people over, buy way too much food, drink beer, poke at items on the grill to see if they’re “done” – more things than I can list.

Grilled blue potatoes, eggplant and okra.

Something that I always find funny, though, is how many people think that grilling is all about meat. Whenever my vegetarian boyfriend and I are grilling (or attending an event where others are grilling), people always ask “oh, are you making something special for him?” Naturally, when we go to other people’s houses, I do bring something “special” for him, but when people are at our place, most of what we’re grilling is vegetables. I appreciate a good steak as much as the next person, but vegetables are fantastic (not to mention healthier) on the grill too.

Grilling is a fast, easy way to cook most vegetables and makes for a very satisfying meal.

This weekend, one of my friends and I got together to grill and decided to use up a large portion of my CSA veggies for the week while we did. It was beautiful. We made roasted blue potatoes, grilled eggplants topped with peppers, grilled okra, and grilled peaches (topped with vanilla ice cream).

Most of this is pretty basic, but here are a few notes on making each item:

I'm writing about grilling the veggies, but I couldn't help but love this picture of the blue potatoes raw - they're so pretty!

Roasted Blue Potatoes

  • Cut potatoes into small pieces (mine were small anyway, so I cut them into fourths)
  • In a bowl, toss potatoes with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and spices (I used fresh sage – that was great)
  • Put potatoes into a foil pack and leave the pack partially open on top
  • Grill over high heat for about 20 – 30 minutes or until tender, tossing them around occasionally

Grilled Eggplant Topped with Peppers

  • Slice eggplant into rounds that are about half of an inch thick
  • Lay on a cookie sheet and sprinkle the eggplant with a little sea salt
  • Let the eggplant sit and “sweat” for about 20 minutes. This gets out a little of the water
  • Soak up water beads on top with a paper towel
  • Brush eggplants with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Slice up peppers long ways and put on top of the eggplants (I used toothpicks to hold mine
    together)
  • I didn’t but you could add cheese at this point, it would be delicious
  • Grill eggplants for about 10 minutes or until there are light char marks on the side that faces the grill

Grilled Okra (Adapted from Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers, by Janet Fletcher)

  • Cut off okra caps
  • Pour some olive oil onto a plate, and roll okra in the oil
  • Sprinkle okra with paprika
  • Set okra on the top shelf of the grill (perpendicular to the bars so that they don’t fall through)
  • You want the okra to get really cooked, I like mine slightly charred
  • Cook for about 10 – 15 minutes, turning over half way through

Grilled Peaches

These are our peaches before grilling. Ideally, they'll have nice black grill marks on the flesh after you grill them.

  • Slice peaches in half or in thirds, removing pits
  • Toss peaches with a little bit of oil (we used canola oil)
  • Grill for about 5 – 10 minutes, just until they start to get char marks
  • Once finished grilling, toss in a bowl with a few tablespoons of brown sugar
  • Top with vanilla ice cream

As you can see from the photo, this made for a beautiful dinner that was also tasty and easy to prepare. Other veggies that I love to grill – corn on the cob, portabella mushrooms, squash of any kind, tomatoes and Brussels sprouts. I’m sure that there are more, but I haven’t tried them all yet.
Happy grilling!

Advertisements

The Survivors

2 Aug

As you are all aware, I planted my first veggie garden and started this blog on the same day in mid-June. Now, about a month and a half later, it’s about time for an update on how the garden has survived.

Here's the blossom on the eggplant. I'm hoping that this means we'll have some eggplant soon.

First off, planting in June is not really something that you should do. I think that for most of the plants that I selected, March would have been the ideal time. I’ll admit that a few items immediately committed suicide – including the strawberries and most of the herbs. They were dead within a week of planting. The two squash plants survived quite a while (one even produced blossoms) but they too succumbed to the overwhelming heat.

Fortunately for me, we’ve had quite a bit of rain, and temperatures that have been a little cooler than last summer, so some of the veggies have actually done quite well.

The tomato plant has been producing lots of tomatoes even though the leaves look quite unhealthy.

The survivors include the tomatoes. Though they looked rather peeked when planted, have lived and produced lots of small tomatoes for us to eat. They’ve actually been delicious. Oddly, the leaves have continued to look half dead, but the plant has given tomatoes very consistently (maybe 5 – 6 per week at the most – 3 this week).

The okra (yes, I planted okra) and eggplant have certainly been the most successful of the bunch. Both of the plants are now giant – the okra leaves are broad and flat and the largest ones are now about 16 inches across. They haven’t produced any actual okra yet, but I think that we may be getting some soon.

I'm not sure how big okra plants usually get, but the widest of the leaves on this one are about 16 inches across.

The eggplant has shown some promise this week by growing two pretty blossoms. It’s also gotten fairly large with its largest leaves being about 10 inches long. Do the blossoms mean that eggplants are soon to follow? I suppose that it remains to be seen.

Exciting news is that it’s almost time to plant the fall garden. I’ll probably start in about two weeks, but I’ve already selected a few new veggies that I want to try:

Brussels Sprouts

Cucumbers

Kale

Peas

Spinach

I’ll also add one or two other items depending on what’s available when I go to the store to buy my veggies.

Currently, my biggest debate is whether or not to start from seeds or from small plants. I’ll probably go with small plants, but that also depends on availability.

Sautéed Okra with Bell Peppers

31 Jul

I hate okra. I really do. I didn’t grow up eating it and still haven’t gotten used to the slimy grossness of most okra dishes. In spite of this hatred, I’ve been trying to make okra dishes lately because my CSA seems to have had quite a bit of success with their okra crop this year and they keep giving me beautiful, fresh, big okra.

After trying several recipes that didn’t quite work out, I tried a variation on a very simple recipe that I found. It turns out that it was quite delicious and somehow, slime free.

3 tbsp butter

2 – 3 bell peppers, deseeded & deveined, sliced into bite-size pieces

1 hot pepper (not too hot) deseeded & deveined, sliced into small pieces

1 lb fresh okra, with tips and tops cut off

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cumin

10 –15 coriander seeds (or a good sprinkle of ground coriander)

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.

Put bell peppers and hot pepper into the butter, keep the heat pretty low.

Once the peppers have had a little time in the pan, put the okra and spices in.

Cover and keep over low heat for about 20 minutes.

Done!

So easy and yet, I actually liked this recipe (even though it was okra!). Unfortunately, my camera was dead when I made this meal, so there are no pictures, but this dish was actually very pretty and colorful too.

Sprouts

14 Jun

Today is the first day of “Deliciously Austin,” a blog devoted to experiencing food in every way possible – growing it, cooking it, ordering it, but, most importantly, eating it.

My name is Ashley, and I live in Austin, Texas, where I’m constantly experimenting with new recipes, eating at as many new restaurants as I can, and, now, growing a vegetable garden.

This weekend, I finally planted my first vegetable garden. I say “finally” because it’s taken about three months to prepare the beds to plant (including removing grass that was growing in that area). I looked at quite a few websites to find out how exactly to go about planting my garden. Hands down, the best resource I found was Texas A&M’s AriLife Extension website. They offer several page reports on how, where and when to grow just about everything that grows in Texas. Based on their advice, I’m planning my garden for the fall & spring.

This is my new oregano plant, which was planted this weekend with several other herbs and veggies.

Unfortunately, after I had done the recommend soil test, created the raised beds, etc, it was already pretty late in the season to plant much. If you’re trying to start a garden, now is not really the time to do it – I believe that March or April is more appropriate, but I’m doing what I can. The nice people at the Great Outdoors did point me in the right direction for the vegetables that I could grow during the hot Texas summer. For the moment, I’m experimenting with what they recommended – I now have a lemon plant, some tomatoes, several herbs and spices, squash, okra, strawberries and eggplant growing in my garden.

Since it’s the beginning of my garden, it seems fitting that it should also be the beginning of Deliciously Austin. I’ve been tossing around the idea for a while, but am just now getting up the nerve to post my first entry. I’m certainly not a food “expert,” but like many people, I love good food and I love to try new things with food. One of my favorite ways to learn about new recipes and ideas is to read other people’s blogs. That being the case, I thought it was about time that I too started sharing what I learned while cooking and eating.

I hope you enjoy reading and come back to see me soon. Happy eating!