Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Country Food

I don’t know if it’s my mother in me or my southern roots or perhaps I am a reincarnated version of myself who lived through the great depression. Whatever it is, I have this issue with wasting food. It breaks my heart to throw food away when people all over are hungry. This drives Josh absolutely bonkers! Maybe it’s that milk I refuse to throw out despite its week old expiration date! Nonetheless, its something I try my darndest to enforce in my house anyway. That said, I have become maybe the best that I know of at taking what I have in my house, not running out for anything and coming up with yummy things to eat. It’s a skill that seriously astounds my friend Aimster! Due to her amazement in my ability, I like to do it just to show off! Don’t judge me and don’t you dare judge me!

If you know me, you also know that I am crazy about fresh veggies. Additionally, no matter how long I am in Boston, I will always be a country girl at heart and I love to cook that way. In fact, buying veggies that remind me of the south and southern cooking is one of my favorite pastimes! With that in mind, I took myself down to my beloved Union Square Farmers’ Market this past weekend.

I picked up all sorts of random veggies that made me feel southern again….okra, sweet corn, onions, beets! Just so you know, beets weren’t always as shi shi as they are now, but we’ve been eating them in the south FOREVER! It wasn’t until I got home and started cleaning them and bagging them for the fridge that I realized I had an amazing meal sitting in front of me.

In the south, it is traditional to corn meal okra and fry it. This delicious. I mean, really really delicious. However, fried veggies just seems contrary to not only this blog, but the lifestyle I’ve adopted since my “porkchop” days...as my uncle so accurately put it. That doesn’t mean though that okra cooked another way isn’t fantabulous.  So here’s my country folk food!

2 Cornish Hens - soak in heavily salted cold water 10 minutes
*My mom does this to get the “germs” off….I don’t question it!
Pat dry Cornish hens with paper towel

8 Sprigs of Oregano
4 Sprigs of Rosemary
½ onion – chopped into quarters
6 garlic cloves
Handful parsley

Divide the above ingredients into two piles and stuff into the cavity of each Cornish Hen
Rub the outside of the hen with olive oil
*I had lemon flavored olive oil, it was terrific, but normal works too
Salt and pepper the outside of the hens

Heat oven to 450* F. Place the hens breast side up and tuck the wings under the bottom. Cook for 15 minutes then turn down to heat to 375* for 40 more minutes. Remove the hens from the oven and let sit 15 minutes for juices to redistribute.

Okra Dish – The Real Star of this Show!!    
This is what a raw okra
looks like, just incase!
3 ears of corn, cut off the cob
½ red onion, diced
8 whole okras, sliced horizontally in ½" pieces
1 green tomato, coarsely chopped
1 can petite diced tomatoes, juice drained but reserved for later
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Start the okra dish about 15 minutes before the hens are done. Put oil in pan over high heat. Add all the veggies. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add half the juice drained from the canned tomatoes. Stir. Add about salt and pepper to your taste…I like a ton of pepper. Cook this over high heat for about 15 minutes, continually stirring. Lower the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for another 15 minutes or until the okra is soft. All the while, keep stirring. If it starts to stick to the pan, add more tomato juice.

We ate the okra over brown rice, but Josh and I both agree that it would be fine without it! 

This one really took me back, if only I’d had a sweet tea to go with it!

               Cheers ya’ll!

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