Monday, September 1, 2014

Crunchy Baked Okra

Looking for an alternative to fried okra - try Crunchy Baked Okra. They're quick and easy to make. Hey, someone's been eating my Crunchy Baked Okra. Ha. We tried them before I had a chance to take the photo.

Cut up fresh okra in bite sized pieces. Smaller okra are best because if left on the plant till large, they get tough and can be stringy or pithy.

Beat two eggs and add some milk, about 1/4 cup. Buttermilk would be good as a substitute. Add the okra to the egg and milk mixture, a few at a time, and let sit for a few minutes, stir to be sure all sides are coated. Drain with a slotted spoon

Then add the egg coated okra to the medium grind cornmeal. I used Red Mill brand. (Many boxes of cornmeal at my grocery have some gluten in them so I have to read all the labels). Toss with spoon to coat. If you don't like coarse or medium grind you can use regular grind cornmeal.

Transfer one by one in one layer to a greased (I used olive oil) baking dish. Bake at 450 F for 30 minutes. Eat them like popcorn or make some dipping sauce and dip them. They are oh so good and were not slimy. I'm having a few this morning for breakfast. Ha. Oh hope you remembered to say white rabbit, and hope you don't labor too much today. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Nyssa sylvatica and Bisque Firings

Yesterday I looked up and saw this tree had changed color completely without my noticing. I'm sure it's Nyssa sylvatica, or black gum. When I saw the tree I immediately thought of the botanical name as I learned it when I studied horticulture at American River College in Sacramento. My teacher at the time would take us on field trips to see all the trees in their mature state and I remember her saying the tree had brilliant fall color. 

The fruit is prized by many North American birds. My photograph doesn't do the color justice since I took the photo in bright sunlight from a distance. The hill behind our house is very steep and I don't go up there.

Last week I was preparing for a bisque load and was sanding the rim of a large leaf bowl. Guess I pressed the edge too close to my body and I broke it. I was really looking forward to seeing how all the overlapping different colored leaves were going to look. I'll have to make another one. The bowl doesn't look like much when it's broken does it.

I'm working on tweaking my bisque firings. Here are the bisque cones from three firings. Two on left are medium 04 firing, a little too hot. The one on right is medium 05. I'll have to check my manual and see if I can fire a 055. A little braver now; I'm firing my bisque on medium instead of slow like I used to, so far so good. I hold it at 200 for 10 minutes just to be safe since it's so humid here. Coming up an easy and delicious recipe for crunchy baked okra, another basket with a driftwood handle, a gallery exhibit, and a new gallery carrying my work. Thanks for reading and for all your comments and suggestions.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Poblano and Yellow Brandywine Focaccia

This summer I've really been enjoying cooking new dishes with the fare I obtain from the Union County farmer's market. The other evening I made a Poblano and Yellow Brandywine Focaccia. The crust is a gluten free mix by Chebe I found at the grocery. To the batter I added one cup shredded cheese, (I used sharp cheddar),  two eggs slightly beaten, 2 tablespoons of oil and a quarter cup of milk. I mixed up the batter and kneaded it slightly with the back of a spoon. I spread the crust on an ungreased pizza baking pan.

I blistered and peeled the skins from two poblano peppers and chopped them up medium. I sliced two heirloom yellow brandywine tomatoes, chopped up one quarter red onion, placed them on top of the crust. Then I sprinkled the top with dried oregano, basil, black pepper and salt. I baked the focaccia in a preheated 375 F oven for 30 minutes. It was so delicious and it's quick and easy to make. Wonder what I'll find at the farmer's market today? Thanks for reading and for all your comments.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Potimarron and Yokohama Squash

Look what I got at the farmer's market last week. Two heirloom's, potimarron and yokohama squash. Potimarron, as it's called in France, or red kuri squash has a sweet chestnut like flavor.  Yokohama squash apparently has a wonderful complex flavor and the shape is a delight to gaze upon. I might even be inspired to make a squash like this in clay.

The two squash couldn't be more different. I've been reading about how to store winter squash. Apparently squash with the stem on is better. Let the squash cure for about a week till it develops a dry thickened skin and then store for up to six months in a cool dry location.

I love discovering and trying new foods. Now how to cook them. Any ideas? Thanks for reading and for all your comments.