Saturday, July 20, 2013

Make Hash Not Trash – July 20, 2013

I LOVE OKRA.  Anyone who knows me knows that okra is my very favorite vegetable.  It has almost no calories, grows and freezes well here in Kentucky and tastes like butter.  I unfortunately haven’t, however, gotten others to embrace its slimy texture.  So, if I’m making it for myself, I simply clean and boil in a pot of salted water before draining and eating the whole thing with a bit more salt.  But, if I’m trying to show its best qualities to others, I look for ways to lessen the slimy joy.  I just recently found a great okra recipe which also happens to be a hash.  Hash is also probably the best way to use up food that would go to waste.  When I was reading the food book from the tenement museum in New York City, they referenced a cookbook from the 1800s which had 18 hash recipes which would have been greatly valued by housewives trying to make the best use of everything they had.  This was probably not one of those but it has a great Indian influence that I really enjoyed.

 Okra Hash

1 T. mustard seeds
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 minced onion
2 minced cloves garlic
2 tsp. minced ginger
½ lb. diced potatoes
¼ tsp. red pepper
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ lb. okra in ¼ inch slices
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. turmeric

Heat oil in heavy pan.  Add mustard seeds and cook until they pop.  Add onion, garlic and ginger and sauté 2 minutes.  Stir in potatoes, red pepper and salt.  (Pauls’s Fruit Market had local homegrown potatoes.)  Cover and cook on low 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and stir in okra, cumin, coriander, turmeric and more salt or pepper if needed.  Cook, uncovered, 10 minutes on low stirring occasionally. 

Because the okra is harvested at the peak of corn and tomato season (and just as the first peppers are becoming ripe), another great option is stewed corn with okra and tomatoes.  This recipe is great with cherry tomatoes too.  I used red and yellow cherry tomatoes.  

Stewed Corn with Okra and Tomatoes

½ chopped sweet onion or shallot
1 chopped jalapeno
1 chopped bell pepper
1 ½ T. butter (or more to taste)
1 lb. chopped tomatoes
3 c. corn (about 3 ears)
½ lb. small okra or okra chopped in ½ inch pieces

Saute onions, jalapeno, bell pepper and 1.2 tsp. salt in butter for 7-9 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes breaking apart as cooking for 15 minutes.  Add okra and corn and cook another 15 minutes until okra slime has cooked out.

One Year Ago - Corn Salad and Sweet Corn Gelato

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