Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and it is time to bring out favorite and traditional family recipes. Brussels spouts is a vegetable which matures in the autumn and is often featured in Thanksgiving menus spreads of food magazines. My recipe for “Saucy Brussels Sprouts” is a family favorite which we have served for years. The recipe originated in the Parade Magazine of the Washington Post newspaper. It is very easy to prepare and includes boiled Brussels sprouts served with a creamy sauce.
When the very nutritious vegetable, the sweet potato, is cooked perfectly, it is tender yet still a little crisp with a wonderful sweet flavor. I have decided that it is actually a little tricky to cook sweet potatoes properly. But I think I found the prefect sweet potato fry in a restaurant in Breckenridge, Colorado, of all places. We recently visited this very upscale restaurant with a James Beard Chef winner on the staff. The sweet potatoes were cooked and served immaculately. I came home to try to duplicate their recipe.
Let’s cook fresh okra. It’s time to take advantage of this vegetable which is plentiful the summertime in the South and is easily grown in a garden here. I’ve discovered several delicious ways to fix okra since moving to Louisiana. “Southern Fried Okra” is one of those iconic recipes. My recipe is easy — using common household ingredients. It is crunchy and perfectly seasoned. The breading actually sticks to the okra for the most part. You may not want to purchase commercially breaded okra after eating this recipe. Give it a try!
I really can’t remember a Sunday dinner meal when I was growing up without creamed sweet peas especially during the summer months. It was truly a farm to table dish because the peas were picked from my parent’s very large garden that morning and served at the noon meal. Fresh creamed sweet peas have a delicious flavor that can’t be described. You have to shell and cook some yourself to get the idea. When I found sweet peas at the Shenandoah Valley farmers market in June, I had to purchase some to cook.
Here’s an easy recipe for a small batch of eggplant — “Roast Eggplant with Garlic and Zahtar.” Eggplant grows well in a Louisiana garden and I needed ideas to cook a few at a time as they ripened in the hot summer heat. One of my favorite eggplant dishes is served at a local Lebanese and Greek cafe. It consists of sauteed eggplant which is doused in lemon juice and garlic. The soft eggplant pulp blends with the spices perfectly and it is another “melt in your mouth” eggplant recipe. Thought I’d try to make a variation with my garden eggplant.
This week I have my favorite recipe for yellow summer squash. This squash is plentiful in stores in the summertime, why not eat it more often? I can pinpoint “Aunt Fanny’s Summer Squash Casserole” as the turning point in “how I learned to like to eat squash.” I never liked “squash”, but this casserole changed my mind.
This fall I feel like I’m on the television show “Chopped”. I am participating in CSA through my employer. On Monday I get a box of fresh produce from a local farmer to bring home and cook. Get ready, open basket, wait for the buzzer to go off and I’ve got a week to cook the box of food. It’s a fun challenge! And generous helping of fresh vegetables for our family.
I bought a sack of Louisiana-grown sweet potatoes a couple of weeks ago, and now need to find many ways to cook them. Fortunately, sweet potatoes are versatile, lending their use to a wide variety of recipes from desserts to side dishes and even biscuits (the subject of a future post). They are relatively bland and can be combined with many seasonings–I even found a recipe for curried shrimp-sweet potato soup which sounded interesting.
My favorite way to prepare sweet potatoes is simply to bake them. It’s easy, fool-proof and tasty. Given the wide range of flavors that go along with sweet potatoes, I also like to stuff the baked sweet potatoes with an assortment of ingredients. The possibilities are endless.