Thursday, August 19, 2010

Slime & Broth

Regardless of the weird cool spell, it's the time of year that long-growing produce becomes available, and a very good reason, in my book, to turn to Vegan Soul Kitchen for some inspiration. When I look at what I've got (okra, watermelon, corn corn corn, the most delicious tomatoes), I know Bryant Terry is the right guy to figure out my next meal. And it's working out between he and I: he's not afraid of spice, of a sweet tooth, a foofy cocktail, or even of extreme simplicity.

When I read the "recipe" for sweet corn broth, essentially cobs with the corn cut off for other purposes, boiled in water with a dash of salt, I thought it might be too zen for me, but I did end up sipping some corn broth eventually, and I found it to be quite nice for those times that you want a little something but aren't full on hungry. (Since then, I've come to the realization that I might be a real broth/infusion fan, having sipped mint water, ginger water, pickle brine, bean broth and the like in just a handful of days. Oh miso, oh mushroom broth and seawood broth, oh oh oh.) And I'm not one of those wilting in the heat kinda gals who can barely lift her head for a sip of broth. I love summer heat, and I love food, but these simple (watery) foods are somehow extremely satisfying.

Broths aside for the moment, here's my favorite dish of August so far: lemon jalapeno okra. Terry mentions that he's a slime-phobe, and approaches okra carefully. I've never had a problem with the slikity-slime, but when I once complemented a chef on the best okra I'd ever eaten, he assumed I had the slime block, and shared his secret from Caribbean cooking: citrus kills the slime.

Have at it!

Lemon Jalapeno Okra

- 1 lb fresh, small okra pods, cut in quarters lenthwise
- 1 diced jalapeno
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Juice of one lemon
- Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

I don't fry a lot, mostly because I hate cleaning up spatter, but this crispy okra is worth it. Throw everything in a pan and fry it until crispy! I start with half of the oil and half of the lemon, add the rest of the oil when the pan gets dry, and use the last half of the lemon in the last minute of cooking.

And, before August is through, can, dehydrate, and freeze some things, would ya? It's tempting to laze about in a hammock, but those of us who want good food from around here through winter need to get to work!

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