Archive for September, 2011

September 22, 2011

Grilled Okra

Up until this year, I’d never really thought much about okra. Just about my only experience with it was in some sort of gumbo, somewhere, many years ago… and I wasn’t impressed. It’s not that I didn’t like it; it’s more that it was never really an option. I didn’t grow up eating it, I didn’t see it in the grocery store, and it never appeared on any menus that I’ve noticed — except for that gumbo situation. And maybe deep fried.

So it was with some surprise that I found myself inexplicably drawn to a sprawling display of okra at the Grand Army Plaza farmer’s market a few weeks ago. I had only a vague memory of what okra tasted like and absolutely no notion of what to do with it, which of course meant that I had to fill a bag to take home with me.

I know, this sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? (Get it? recipe for disaster? Ah haha!)

Well, somewhere between bringing my bulging bag of okra to the register and walking in my front door, I remembered my George Forman grill. And suddenly, I knew what I wanted to do with my okra: I wanted to grill them. And then I wanted to sprinkle them with something… sea salt and… something smoky, but not necessarily spicy… aha! Paprika.

Yes.

So I did.

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September 12, 2011

White Bean Babaganoush

I finally bought Tahini.

Finally.

For years I have been meaning to buy Tahini, and for years it has somehow managed to elude… well, I was going to say “shopping lists”, but what I should say is “my ability to give a sh*t”. Because ironically enough, despite the fact that I am a committed list-maker and love making all sorts of lists, I never really make shopping lists. Maybe this is because I so rarely cook from a recipe, having somehow managed to maintain a mysterious confidence in my ability to successfully substitute or simply do without certain key ingredients… despite a good deal of evidence to the contrary.

(I don’t write about those.)

On those rare occasions when I spontaneously decide to turn over a new leaf, become an organized shopper, and organize my grocery needs into lists — and actually remember to take them out of my pocket once I get to the store, instead of four days later — I tend to treat them more as “suggested guidelines” than anything else. Usually it’s the harder-to-find, more specialized, less generally-useful or immediately-necessary items — like green curry paste, brown rice vinegar, fish sauce, or (yep) tahini — that get forgotten about, ignored, or put off until the next shopping trip.

Basically what I’m telling you is that I’ve managed to make this particular procrastination stretch on for years. YEARS.

Part of me almost feels as though I should be proud of myself.

But I digress. The day has finally come: Tahini is officially the newest member of my kitchen. And as all kitchen-members must pull their weight around here, Tahini (whom I have decided to spontaneously personify and capitalize) was immediately put to work. Together, Tahini and I made this:

Behold: White Bean Babaganoush. Just the first of many things on my long list of adventures for Tahini and I.

(See? Lists. I *do* make them… I swear.)

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