Saturday, August 13, 2011

Not Too Late!

I am so happy that all of the fresh vegetables of summer have not come and gone before I could cook some of them from fresh!
I went to my favorite produce stand today in hopes of getting SOMEthing, even if it was just green peanuts. Imagine my delight to find fresh corn, cream 12 peas and okra.
Tomorrow night I am going to roast a fat duck and serve it with creamed corn, field peas and fried okra. The peas are easy enough - rinse them, put them in enought water to cover plus an inch and a half, pop in a ham hock and some ham base and cook til good. Fried okra and creamed corn are a different kettle of fish. People make it too hard for themselves and ruin the fresh goodness in the process. Easiest recipe first - Creamed Corn!

5-6 ears fresh corn, husked and silked
1/2 tsp bacon grease
1 tbl water
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the nibletss from the corn and be sure to squeeze the "milk" from the cobs. Ihave a corn stripper but you can do this with a paring knife. I like to conduct this part of the prep over a glass pie plate because you can scrape the milk and niblets out more easily.
In a non-stick pan melt the bacon grease (optional, but makes it better. If you've cooked bacon for breakfast, just scrape the plate it drained on and you should have enough) and add the corn niblets and milk, heat on medium low. The corn should thicken - add a little salt and pepper. The cooking process doesn't take long, maybe five minutes or so, because you don't want to make glue of the corn or completely cook away the crispness. Taste it and stop cooking when it tastes good to you. Add little bits of water as needed to keep the corn the proper consistency.

Fried Okra
This is my favorite thing to share when it comes to country vegetable cooking tips. Okra shouldn't be dunked in breading and fried like a popper.
2 pounds fresh okra, rinsed, topped and tailed and cut into quarter to half inch pieces
corn meal
Bacon grease:)
Canola Oil
salt and pepper

Scatter about a half cup of the cornmeal (I use buttermilk cornmeal mix) over the okra cuts, toss til the okra pieces are well covered. The meal should stick to the okra pretty well. After you've rinsed it, go straight to the cutting so you don't lose any liquid. Add a little salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of bacon grease and a tablespoon of canola oil to a non-stick or cast iron skillet and melt it over medium high heat. Toss the okra a bit to shake loose the meal that isn't coating the vegetable.
When a drop of water sizzles in the pan, add the okra and let it cook a few moments, move the okra around the pan with a spatula and try to let as many surfaces receive a crisping as possible. Reduce heat to medium and continue to stir around; okra should be tender in fifteen minutes. You can remove it from heat and let it sit while other dishes cook and then pop it back on a burner on high for  minute or so to reheat.

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