Cravings; Fried okra and scallop squash

We have plenty of okra growing in our garden….

Garden: Okra and scallop squash
Okra and Scallop squash (aka patty pan squash) freshly picked from our garden

My favorite way to eat it okra is raw, freshly picked off the vine. Before the okra appears, its bush produces gorgeous flowers. The bees love them, and our okra rows are a popular hangout in our garden.

Scallop squash, also known as patty pan squash, is another vegetable I like. It’s a summer squash that has a lovely scalloped edge. I use them in a lot of recipes, but today I chose to include them in the fried dish I made.

We don’t eat too much fried foods in our house, since we prefer baked, stir fry, or raw dishes. But once in a while, fried food is acceptable for us.

Hand hammered wok
Frying garlic and sage leaves in my wok. Delicately fried sage leaves can add additional flavor to a variety of dishes such as burgers, casseroles, or even a stir fry.

Recently Suituapui wrote about a meal he prepared with his wok… I commented about the much loved wok I’d used constantly but had set aside since we purchased a smooth top stove years ago. I was afraid my wok would damage the stoves surface.

All this time I thought it had been stashed away in our shed. But, last week I discovered my hand-hammered wok, when I opened up one of my rarely  used kitchen drawers.

Of course I was pleased when I found out, it was perfectly fine on our smooth top stove. It was like reuniting with a long lost old friend. You see… I’ve had this wok for over twenty years. Back then, most of my meals were cooked with this wok, I really love it. In fact, I brought it to the university I attended, and cooked many meals on it for myself and friends.

Food: Fried okra and scallop squash
I fried the okra and scallop squash separately.

Today, it did a great job of preparing the simple but delicious dish of fried okra and scallop squash. Because of some of our garden herbs and additional seasonings that I used, my daughter thought the fried scallop squash was actually chicken fingers. I’d made a honey ginger sauce for dipping, and it complimented the fried okra and scallop squash nicely. And to drink, there was peach berry smoothie I made earlier today. I’ll try to post pictures of that within the next few days.

I’ve been craving fried okra ever since Amanda, of Monkeys are My Friends, blogged about fried okra on her site. Mission accomplished, craving satisfied!

Healthy food, prepared correctly, is delicious

Indian spices

Creating tantalizing meals that are simple to prepare, nutritious, and delicious, is something I’ve always enjoyed. Meal creation is one of my favorite activities.

I’ve been cooking since I was four years old, even then I liked to create my own meals — without following the directions aka recipe laid out for me, and that part hasn’t changed.

The majority of the meals my mom prepared were healthy, however, she didn’t stray from traditional food preparation, whereas I wanted to explore. Living on my own, gave me the opportunity to use the foods I was used to in different ways. It also gave me the chance to try new things.

I’ve always enjoyed shopping for food, that would enable me to create the numerous dishes While frequenting my favorite foods stores, in my early twenties,I developed a friendly relationship with some of the employees.

Because of my age and working in the corporate environment, some of the older male employees (probably in there 60’s) were shocked, that I adored cooking. A few would joke with me that I couldn’t possibly be a good cook. Too which I promptly replied, “You’re only saying that, because you want me to bring in some of the meals I prepare, and sometimes I would.

Some people dismiss healthier food options, simply because the food they tried was cooked incorrectly. Thanks to technology, those who want to learn how to prepare a food properly can easily access that information via articles or an online video.

Lord Krishna’s Cuisine: The Art of Vegetarian Cooking, is one of my favorite Indian cookbooks. It serves up a tantalizing mix of recipes along with facts about the various ingredients that to into making the dish. I rarely follow recipes, and so this cookbook (like my others) are mainly a resource I turn to get ideas, or inspiration.

Ginger honey garlic sauce over chicken and brown rice

Yesterday was one of those days…

Those who love to cook, might be familiar with it… you enter the kitchen with every intention of making a specific meal, but your creativity leads you in a different direction. Well that happened to me yesterday. It actually has happened quite often. I let the vegetables, spices, and yes… meats tell me what to prepare.

My daughter and father (mom was still in Texas) loved the dish so much, they ate every morsel of meat. The chicken had been marinated the night before in a sauce that I’d prepared, and the chicken made its final resting place in a honey ginger and garlic sauce. However, the only picture I have to show, is my daughter eating leftovers today.

Sauce Chicken brown rice 03 31 12

Of course, the above picture is beautiful. After all,  it features my daughter. But, it’s not quite the lovely photo I had in mind… I had a great presentation, but my daughter didn’t want to wait — and started eating the food before I could take the picture!

The brown rice had been cooked in a light herbal tea blend (I rarely cook rice in plain water) accompanied the dish. The rice was placed in a bowl, and the thick rich sauce was spooned over the chicken and rice. It made a lovely photo. To bad I didn’t take that picture. Ah well, next time…