March 2014 Archives

Sautéed Okra with Onions

Jenna White
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Shubhra Ramineni is a culinary instructor, busy mom of a veggie-loving girl and award-winning cookbook author of Entice with Spice, Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People and Healthy Indian Vegetarian Cooking, Easy Recipes for the Hurry Home Cook. Shubhra's no-fuss cooking style recreates authentic Indian flavors using easy techniques and fresh and easily available ingredients. Below, she's shared one of her favorites for you to try at home with your family...

shubhra okra.jpgOkra, known as "lady's fingers" in India, has a beautiful bright green color and looks wonderful on the table. This simple and easy way to cook okra will leave you with a delicious dish, without any of the okra "slime!" When buying fresh okra, avoid the flimsy, flexible ones. Look for crisp ones in which the tail end can be snapped off. Avoid the very hard okra that are over-ripe with brown seeds instead of the ideal white seeds. I also never cover okra when cooking because doing so will darken its color. Okra can be eaten with Indian flatbreads, such as Naan or Chapathi, and goes well when paired with lentil dishes. - Shubhra Ramineni

Sautéed Okra with Onions (Bhindi Pyaz)
Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes (15 minutes if using fresh whole okra)
Cook time: 35 minutes
Refrigerator life: 3 days
Freezer life: 1 month
Reheating method: Place the refrigerated or defrosted okra in a microwave and stir periodically. Or, place them in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir periodically until warmed.

Ingredients
1 lb (500 g) fresh okra or frozen, precut okra
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Juice of ½ lime
1 small onion,  sliced into half moons
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

  • If you're using frozen okra, do not defrost. If you're using fresh okra, wash the okra and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Trim the tip and head and discard. Slice each okra into ¼-inch (6-mm) pieces.
  • Pour the oil into a large nonstick skillet and place over medium heat. (Place over high heat if using frozen okra.) When the oil is heated, add the okra and lime juice. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onion, turmeric, red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine. Sauté until the okra is tender and onion becomes transparent, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy now or let cool to room temperature and refrigerate or freeze for later!

Tip
Okra has a peculiar, slimly substance to it that is released when the okra is cut and washed. The first time I cooked okra, I washed it after I chopped it and had slime everywhere! That is why it is important to wash it and pat dry before chopping to reduce the release of the sticky material. If you're using frozen okra, it is best not to defrost it first, as it will become flimsy and release a lot of slimy substance. When okra is cooked with lime juice, any slime disappears as the okra cooks.

Recipe from Entice with Spice, Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People by Shubhra Ramineni. Learn more about Shubhra, her cookbooks and upcoming events and classes at enticewithspice.com.

Sautéed Okra with Onions

Jenna White
Vote 0 Votes

Shubhra Ramineni is a culinary instructor, busy mom of a veggie-loving girl and award-winning cookbook author of Entice with Spice, Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People and Healthy Indian Vegetarian Cooking, Easy Recipes for the Hurry Home Cook. Shubhra's no-fuss cooking style recreates authentic Indian flavors using easy techniques and fresh and easily available ingredients. Below, she's shared one of her favorites for you to try at home with your family...

shubhra okra.jpgOkra, known as "lady's fingers" in India, has a beautiful bright green color and looks wonderful on the table. This simple and easy way to cook okra will leave you with a delicious dish, without any of the okra "slime!" When buying fresh okra, avoid the flimsy, flexible ones. Look for crisp ones in which the tail end can be snapped off. Avoid the very hard okra that are over-ripe with brown seeds instead of the ideal white seeds. I also never cover okra when cooking because doing so will darken its color. Okra can be eaten with Indian flatbreads, such as Naan or Chapathi, and goes well when paired with lentil dishes. - Shubhra Ramineni

Sautéed Okra with Onions (Bhindi Pyaz)
Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes (15 minutes if using fresh whole okra)
Cook time: 35 minutes
Refrigerator life: 3 days
Freezer life: 1 month
Reheating method: Place the refrigerated or defrosted okra in a microwave and stir periodically. Or, place them in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir periodically until warmed.

Ingredients
1 lb (500 g) fresh okra or frozen, precut okra
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Juice of ½ lime
1 small onion,  sliced into half moons
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

  • If you're using frozen okra, do not defrost. If you're using fresh okra, wash the okra and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Trim the tip and head and discard. Slice each okra into ¼-inch (6-mm) pieces.
  • Pour the oil into a large nonstick skillet and place over medium heat. (Place over high heat if using frozen okra.) When the oil is heated, add the okra and lime juice. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onion, turmeric, red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine. Sauté until the okra is tender and onion becomes transparent, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy now or let cool to room temperature and refrigerate or freeze for later!

Tip
Okra has a peculiar, slimly substance to it that is released when the okra is cut and washed. The first time I cooked okra, I washed it after I chopped it and had slime everywhere! That is why it is important to wash it and pat dry before chopping to reduce the release of the sticky material. If you're using frozen okra, it is best not to defrost it first, as it will become flimsy and release a lot of slimy substance. When okra is cooked with lime juice, any slime disappears as the okra cooks.

Recipe from Entice with Spice, Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People by Shubhra Ramineni. Learn more about Shubhra, her cookbooks and upcoming events and classes at enticewithspice.com.

Lemon Pasta & Turnip Soup!

Jenna White
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ParkPlace-LemonPasta+TurnipSoup.jpegSeed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ students at Park Place Elementary were thrilled to make lemony pasta from scratch to add to the turnip soup, which included turnips from their Recipe Garden!

Roasted Turnip Soup
Makes 8 servings

Turnips are not terribly popular, as they have a tendency to become bitter and watery if not cooked properly. The key to cooking turnips is to roast them! Like radishes, turnips become sweet and creamy when roasted, and when paired with leeks, garlic, they produce a fantastic soup.
- S2P Instructor, Chef Priti

Ingredients
2 pounds turnips, cut into large dice
1 tablespoon oil
2 leeks, dark green part cut off, sliced in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss turnips in oil, place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 45 minutes.
  • In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the butter with coriander seeds and caraway until fragrant. Add leeks, garlic and salt and cook until soft.
  • Add the turnips and stock, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the hot mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

Tip: To add a little bit of texture to the pureed soup, you can garnish with toasted walnuts or rye bread croutons.

School Nutrition Foundation on RFS

Jenna White
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SNF-garden.jpg"Here at Beyond Breakfast, we've been following the work of the Recipe for Success Foundation since 2010, when SNF blogger/consultant Christina saw R4S founder Gracie Cavnar speak at TEDxHouston. "Every powerful idea starts with a flicker of inspiration," Cavnar told the TEDxHouston crowd that day, and she went on to outline how her foundation translates research into action to reduce childhood obesity. "We put kids in touch with their food from seed to plate--and it's working ... We invade the schools; we garden, we cook, we build a culture of health, campus-wide." Recipe for Success gardens and cooking classes are supplemented by lessons in other classes--from science to math to language arts--that help reinforce the healthy messaging. "The gardens touch everything," says Cavnar with a smile."

Read School Nutrition Foundation's three-part series about Recipe for Succes Foundation and their visit to one of our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ programs at BeyondBreakfast.org:

Part 1: Houston-Based Recipe for Success Foundation Brings Gardening, Cooking to Life in the Classroom

Part 2: Recipe for Success: From Seed to Plate (and Beyond!)

Part 3: Recipe For Success: Day Two at MacGregor Elementary

Sunchoke Cha Cha Cha!

Amy Anton
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Bustling schedules and picky palettes can make the task of nourishing a family an uphill battle, so how do you get your brood to eat 30 different vegetables period, much less within one month?

Houston mom Amy Anton has stepped up for the challenge and is sharing her anxieties, discoveries and successes along the way.

rootveg.jpgHave you ever had a sunchoke? I hadn't even even heard of them until yesterday. And you probably don't care, but I cook A LOT. I read cooking magazines all of the time. But still, I had no idea what a sunchoke was. Until yesterday, that is.

I was wandering through the produce section at my local H-E-B, when I saw a basket marked "Sunchokes". Say what? "They are also known as Jerusalem Artichokes" Hmm, so obviously, they are some exotic version of an artichoke, I think... Not so! They are brown tubers, or root vegetables that look like a cross between ginger root and a small potato. Crazy!

I grabbed a bag of them and headed home, triumphant that I had a new vegetable for our Veggie Log. The story gets better, though, as we were having company for dinner. Perfect, I thought, they can all try sunchokes! Well, when I announced to my guests I had roasted sunchokes for them, you should have seen the look on their faces. I am sure they were thinking, she's making us try some weird food... my husband looked disgusted... and the seven boys looked at me like no way, no how. It is spring break, and I am NOT eating anything weird!

Determined, I cut the sunchokes into bite-size pieces, tossed them with olive oil and salt, and roasted them in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes. I snuck a bite of one before I served them, and WOW. Like a potato, but nutty, and not as starchy. And when I dished them out to everyone, you know what? They ALL loved them. They ate every last one! They asked for more! Boy, did I feel vindicated.

SO, if you are running out of new veggie ideas for your VegOut! Challenge (or your sanity), grab some sunchokes! They are in season right now, and I have seen them at Kroger, H-E-B, Central Market, and Whole Foods Market.

Kale Caesar Salad

Amy Anton
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For the 2014 VegOut! Challenge, Amy Anton, Houston mom of three boys, shares a favorite recipe of her oldest son, which is a perfect method to check kale off of your family's Veggie Log.

AmyAnton-KaleCaesar.jpg

When I picked my twelve-year-old up from camp last year, the first thing he asked for was a Kale Caesar Salad. Wow, you might think, what an enlightened child, what a lucky mom. In some ways yes, in others, I just chuckle.

Kale is the super food of the year, on every menu in town, and, really yummy, but that is not why he loves it. He loves kale because it is a hearty leaf that can stand up to a serious Caesar dressing with a flurry of cheese, and still have fortitude. There's no limp, watery lettuce here. It's just stiff greens with briny anchovies, tart lemon, and the nutty goodness of parmesan. If that's what it takes for him to inhale an entire bunch of kale, so be it. There are a couple tricks we have learned along the way that make the salad the success that it is.

First, hold the rib of the kale in one hand and, with a sharp knife, just cut down the rib to remove the leaf. The rib is too bitter and hard to eat most of the time. Then chop chop chop all of the kale into fine pieces.

The recipe for the dressing is below, but we have a couple pointers. For one, mellowing the garlic in the lemon juice is a good thing, as it removes the raw garlic taste you would have otherwise. Also, don't be shy with the anchovies. Ashton has been known to slip in 6-8 anchovies! He likes strong flavors.

And last, massage the kale. Kids love to get their hands dirty, so this is fun for an idle child begging for dinner now. Massaging the dressing into the leaves with your hands really makes a difference. The kale needs to be persuaded into accepting the dressing, melding the flavors into one.

There are also endless possibilities for add-ins: tart cherries, avocado, pepitas, slivered almonds, thinly sliced radish... you name it.

Ashton's Caesar Salad

Ingredients

For dressing: 

1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of 1-2 lemons

Dash Worcestershire sauce

1 T Dijon mustard

2 anchovy filets

Yolk of 1 egg

1/2 C grape seed oil (or other mild flavored oil)

1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese

For salad:

1 head kale

Add-ins (optional)

Directions

  • Juice the lemon, mince the garlic and combine, letting them sit in a small mixing bowl while you chop the kale.
  • Whisk in the Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, anchovies, and egg yolk.
  • Slowly add the oil while whisking constantly.
  • Whisk in the the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour desired amount of dressing over kale and massage it into the leaves.
  • Let dressed salad sit, covered, in the fridge for about 30 minutes to absorb the flavors.
  • Top with desired add-ins, if using, and serve! 

Bon appetit!

Dress for Dinner at Neiman's

Jenna White
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D4D-NeimanMarcus-Invite.jpgOn Wednesday, March 26, chairs Leisa Holland Nelson and Laura Max Nelson invite you to join us for posh fun at Neiman Marcus for next up in Dress for Dinner, Season V. The fashion show will feature collections and a personal appearance by designer Nanette Lepore, followed by an exclusive Dinner with the Designer by Chef James Ashley in Mariposa.

We hope you'll join us!

Learn more and purchase your tickets here.

CultureMap on VegOut!

Gracie Cavnar
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VegOut-CultureMap.jpg"At a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Annise Parker joined Recipe 4 Success founder Gracie Cavnar to announce the second annual VegOut! 30-Day Challenge. Participants in the program sign up online and pledge to eat 30 different vegetables over 30 days. 

"Veggies are tasty. Veggies are healthy, and having a little competition around eating your veggies is fun," Parker said. "There are lots of places we can find appropriate fresh fruits and vegetables." The mayor cited the weekly Wednesday farmers market at City Hall as one place and proudly displayed a bag of Brussels sprouts she purchased there. ..."

Read the full story by CultureMap's Eric Sandler here