With all of those delicious summer vegetables still in full bloom, a belle needs to know how to get them to the table in a belle-icious snap. Sometimes the simplest preparation is the best, so we thought it might be wise to check up on our (and your) blanching skills.
Blanching (sometimes called par-boiling) is super simple and yields fresh, crisp, beautifully-colored veggies…and, bonus, blanched veggies will keep their color and texture (and belle-iciousness) in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months! So…when October rolls around, you can have a little taste of summer to remind you of the lazy days.
THE EASY DIRECTIONS:
– wash and trim veggies
– fill a bowl with ice and water
– bring a large pot of water to a boil
– add kosher salt until the water is about as salty as the Atlantic…or Pacific
– boil the veggies until they are bright green (1-2 minutes will do)
– using a slotted spoon or tongs, move veggies to the ice bath
(The ice bath stops the cooking and makes them super crisp)
– once cooled completely, drain and pat dry
There you have it, belles…enjoy as a healthy, fresh meal accompaniment or as crudités…now and later!
As summer approaches, we can’t help but think of fresh veggies and interesting (yet easy…who wants to spend all day in the kitchen!) ways to prepare them. Okra is one of our favorites at the moment.
Now, southern tradition dictates that the okra either be chopped, battered and fried, or stewed into slimy, gooey, over-cooked spears. Both of these options fall short of the main goal in eating your veggies in the first place…a typical southern folly…by taking something quite good-for-you and creating a southern-fried treat or zapping every last nutrient out in the cooking, and cooking, and cooking. (granted…stewed okra, corn and tomatoes is worth every last bite!)
So what’s a belle to do with her okra to get the most out of the nutrients and summer-fresh flavor?? Our quick and easy answer…roast it!
Next, make length-wise cuts…either right down the middle or, if you want them a bit more “crispy”, slice each spear into 3 or more thin “chips”. Place in a bowl (or ziploc bag) and drizzle with your favorite (best quality you have available) olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Turn them all out onto a cookie sheet, spreading them out, cut-side-down, making sure to get them in a single layer
Place in a 400 degree oven, and watch the masterpiece come to life! 15-20 minutes should do it, but you can be the judge. A nice, browned, slightly crisped edge is what we like to see…