Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Roasted Okra, Sauteed Swiss Chard, and Tomato and Avocado Salad

Tonight I was finishing up last week's CSA delivery and diving into this week's.

CSA ingredients used: okra, 2 bunches swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, basil

I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out what to do with this Okra. I know, I am from the south, so the answer should be easy: fry it. Let me tell you, I LOVE fried okra. I always have. However, remember that one of my rules is that I do not fry food at home. I am not a fan of slimy okra, and have never enjoyed the flavor okra takes on when it is stewed with tomatoes. So, I found this recipe with really good reviews online for roasted okra and gave it a try. Of course, I modified it a little to fit ingredients I had available in the kitchen.

All that is needed is washed okra, pam, salt and pepper. Do not cut or chop the okra. Just wash it.

Spray a baking dish with the pam. Salt and pepper the okra. Spread the okra out in the baking dish. Add a light spray of the pam on the okra.

Then bake the okra at 425 for 20 minutes, turning them with a spatula every 5 minutes. Here is the finished product:

Ok folks, confession time: I was super skeptical about this dish. Even as I was cooking it and smelling it, I was just sure that this would be my first blog entry about a total failure of a dish. However, it was DELICIOUS. It tasted just like fried okra but without the breading. The texture was perfect, not woody or slimy. It was not crunchy as the recipe I had read described, but the texture and taste were very pleasant. It was like fake fried okra: ffokra. I will certainly make this again. Oh, and did I mention it was easy and took no special ingredients?

Next dish: Sauteed Swiss Chard

I used 2 bunches of swiss chard, 4 tbsp grape seed oil, salt, pepper, 2 tsp lemon juice.

First, I washed each leaf of swiss chard. Then I folded the leaves in half, cut off the stems, and chopped the stems into 1 inch chunks:

Then I sliced the leaves into 1 inch strips width-wise:
I put 2 tbsp of grape seed oil into a large non-stick skillet. Then I added the stems, and salt and pepper. I sauteed the stems for about 7 minutes.

Then I added the other 2 tbsp of grape seed oil, the leaves, and more salt and pepper to the pan. I mixed the stems and the leaves well, then sauteed for another 7 minutes.

Finally, I drizzled the lemon juice over the finished cooked product before serving.

The taste and flavors of this dish were fantastic. However, I was not a fan of the texture. They were a little course for my taste. Next time I will try similar seasonings but a different cooking method.

Finally,  I made tomato and avocado salad. It was the same tomato salad recipe from last week, only I added a cut up avocado that I bought at the grocery store that was beautiful and cheap.

Here are my three dishes for the evening:

Which made for a nice vegetarian plate for supper:

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