June 23, 2013

Fresh summer goodness,  right here.

Fresh summer goodness, right here.

Once again, it’s a farmers’ market dinner.

The first black-eyed peas of the season are in. Ditto the first okra. I tried, and failed, to recreate the cucumber salad from Steinhauskeller, but what I turned out isn’t bad. I had organic, farm-raised chicken left over from what I’d roasted last Sunday. There were tomatoes. If I can’t work from that, I need to turn in my knives.

Speaking of which, the newly sharpened knives are powerfully sharp. A gash in my finger testifies to this.

I diced up an onion, fished out a couple cloves of confited garlic from the stash in the fridge. Threw that in some olive oil in the Dutch oven. Brought some water to a boil and poured it over four Roma tomatoes (makes the skin peel off oh-so-easily). Diced up about two cups worth of leftover chicken, plus some for Lucy, who was most appreciative. (Must spoil the pooch before I hand her off to her godmother Christy for a month, to live out in the country and play with her best bud Monte.

Roughly diced the now-nekkid Romas, tossed them into the Dutch oven. Let them cook until they started to break down, which was about five minutes. Added basil, oregano, a pinch of cayenne. About a pint of black-eyed peas. Two cups of water. Let it boil, then cut it back to medium low for 30 minutes.

Thought about breaking open a package of fresh mozz for the tomatoes, thought better of it, being I had so much food already. Sliced and salted them.

Took my little baby bag of okra, added a quarter-cup or so of cornmeal, a sprinkle of salt, a sprinkle of black pepper, and dropped it into a hot skillet of oil. This was the first fresh okra I’ve seen, and it was a variety I’d never seen — something Crimson, or Crimson something, I forget. Red on the outside, otherwise looked much like, well, okra. Heat turned it a dark color, not unlike regular okra but darker. Maybe a greenish black. Tasted pretty much like, well, okra, but had a vaguely different taste that I couldn’t pin down. Good, though.

I’d earlier peeled, seeded and sliced two decent sized cucumbers, sprinkled them with about 3 tablespoons of sugar and added about 1/3 cup cider vinegar. I drained that off after they’d soaked maybe an hour, and added about 1/4 cup of sour cream (as I had no plain yogurt), a tablespoon of freeze-dried dill, a sprinkle of salt and a sprinkle of white pepper.

It may well be that the Steinhauskeller cucumber salad skipped the vinegar-and-sugar step and went straight to the yogurt. This was good, but not as good as what I’d had there. There’s going to be a second attempt at that.

It was a fairly worthwhile day, packing. I got all the art and framed photos packed, except for two pieces, and they require a bigger box. It took six mirror boxes, and three other decent-sized boxes. And I only broke the glass in one small piece. Tomorrow it will be decor and odds-and-ends, then I leave Tuesday morning, go to East Arkansas to take some stuff, come  back Wednesday, pack the kitchen and any last minute stuff Thursday, and the truck comes to get me Friday. I’ll hang here Friday and clean the place up, spend the night, then head east myself on Saturday morning.

If you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em wanted to come help with any of that, it’d be fine with me.

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