Monday, October 3, 2011

Cookbook Mondays: Best of Bloodroot V.II

Cookbooks come in all shapes and sizes. There are the hard-bound volumes, with glossy pages, and crisp photos. There are thin-paged tomes, with more words than your favorite epic novel. Some have illustrations; some have stories. While I love beautiful food photography, the cookbooks I keep returning to are pretty unassuming, low 'fluff' guides to cooking good food.

The Best of Bloodroot Volume Two: Vegan Recipes is one of those. Born out of a small veggie restaurant out in Connecticut, this cookbook has a very DIY attitude to food. It is organized by season, which is fantastic, and has a really great variety of cuisines. The other nifty bit is that a large portion of the baked goods call for a sourdough starter...not your usual chocolate cake!

I gave okra a shot - my first time prepping it! It is suspected that okra originated in Africa (or possibly south Asia), and spread to the U.S. along with the 17th century slave trade. You can probably see how it has become a staple of good ol' Southern home cooking! Too avoid the sliminess that follows cooking the mucilaginous seeds, a quick fry is recommended. I tried the 'dry roasted okra' in the book, modifying the spices slightly. My version is included below:

3 lbs baby okra
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 tsp curry powder (or your own mix of turmeric, cumin, coriander, etc.)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1. Stem and slice okra in about 1/4 inch pieces. Heat oil over medium heat and cook until crispy. The hotter the oil, the faster it crisps. DON'T add water.
2. Season okra in the last five or so minutes and let spices cook into it. Serve warm with some tasty grain (quinoa?) and curried mung beans.

What else can I do with okra?

Pickle it!
Fry it!
Braise it!
Gumbo it up times two!
Or just eat the darn thing raw!

What an exciting adventure!

1 comment:

Jackie Smith (the other one) said...

My mom always throws a little cornmeal in with the spices--it makes the okra a little crunchy. Childhood memories!