Saturday, September 21, 2013

Summer Experimentation

Now that I have 2 seconds to breathe after the first explosion that is the first month of school, let me give you some more recipes.

This recipe is a rapidfire chronicle of my cooking adventures this summer outside of any organized vacations. If I had a day ahead without any plans to cramp my languid cooking style, I would try something new. Just to reassure you, all of the recipes below are ones I would recommend. I tried a few that are not noteworthy or I haven't perfected yet and will hopefully come along later (*cough*sourdough*cough*).


I purchased a small bag of chia seeds from because Kath of KERF so highly recommends them for their nutritional properties as well as their gummy texture. I thought I'd go ahead and try this pudding that I found on the Interwebs since I hadn't really found another use for the seeds. Besides, do you really need an excuse for chocolate pudding? 

Bittersweet Chocolate Chia Pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • extra honey for sweetening individual bowls to preference
Mix all ingredients in a large, tight-screwing mason jar. Shake well. Place in refrigerator, shaking every 10 minutes for the first 30 minutes. Allow to sit overnight before serving. (Pudding is not particularly thick.) Shake every day, if there's any leftover, to avoid clumping.


I had to add the "lightly" part because this dish is in distinct contrast to the usual overdone "vegetables" of the south. The okra retains its flavor, texture and color and is paired with fresh tomatoes that don't overwhelm in the least. Next time I'll try other spices, perhaps 21 Seasoning Salute?
Lightly Stewed Okra
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced 
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala 
  • 2 - 3 cups fresh okra, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 - 2 roma tomatoes, washed and diced
1) Heat a splash of olive oil in a medium saute pan. Toss in the onion and cook for a few minutes until it's just starting to become transparent. 

2) Add the spices and cook for another 30 seconds before adding the okra and tomato(es). Add a splash of water and cover, cooking for 5 - 8 minutes or until the okra is fork-tender. 

It's interesting how few recipes I can find actually call for field peas. [Please direct me to them if you know of them.] So I figured that they must be at least similar to beans. I've since found a guide to the different varieties, which would have helped immensely to reassure my fears, but all worked out in the end, so no harm done, right? I believe the type I had was Crowder peas, judging solely from their appearance (I got them from my produce box, so there's no way to know for sure). 

Vegetarian Sausage Hoppin' John

  • 1 1/2 cups raw fresh field peas, washed
  • 1 small onion, diced 
  • 1 Tofurky Italian sausage, chopped 
  • 4 medium Roma tomatoes, diced 
  • 1 large ear corn, cut off the cob
  • 2 - 4 cups fresh spinach, lightly chopped
1) Cover field peas with water in a small pot. Boil until tender, about an hour. Once done, drain and set aside.

2) Saute onion in a small amount of oil in a large pan. Feel free to use flavored oil as it will only add to the depth of the dish. Add the sausage once the onions begin to turn translucent. 

3) As soon as you can start to smell the spices of the sausage coming out, add the tomatoes, corn and cooked peas. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes on medium heat.

4) Add spinach and stir. Recover and finish cooking for 5 minutes. Serve immediately with rice, pasta or, as the original recipe suggests, grits.


And, out of interest, a list on Buzzfeed of food words that you may be pronouncing wrong. I learned foie gras, vichyssoisse and bouillabaisse. Also, I like the illustrations of the food.