Week 15 Overview

All the kids are back in school and farms are beginning to harvest winter squash, but Summer is still decidedly here, giving us a bounty of corn, eggplants, zucchini and tomatoes.

This week was defined by flats and flats and flats of tomatoes. Before and I after I came to pick up my basket, Lauren was delivering them to restaurants all over town- Arnold’s, Nicoletto’s and Butcher & Bee to name a few. Our hour together each Wednesday has become the highlight of my week; we drink a beer, catch up, chat vegetables and watch CSA members’ kids play. I especially like weeks when she is driving her truck hand painted by Hannah Jones.

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In the basket:
mint
slicer tomatoes
cherry tomatoes
salsa
okra
corn
potatoes

Extras:
cantaloupe (won’t last long, no use in “meal planning” for it)
radishes
summer squash
yard long beans
Persian cucumbers

The Plan:
1. Savory dutch baby filled with sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, green onions and basil, topped with burrata and a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar. VERY excited about this one!!
2. Moroccan mint tea because it is 1,000 degrees here in Nashville
3. Yard long bean, cucumber and tomato salad tossed with rice noodles, Tigerish vinaigrette (become a Patron to access that recipe) - maybe topped with some salted peanuts
4. Nachos dressed with the salsa, pickled radishes, creamy black beans and roasted squash, possibly cotija cheese if mine hasn’t expired…
5. Pasta alla norma using the eggplant and some red sauce from my freezer
6. I looooved last week’s simple lunch of soft scrambled eggs with potatoes and crispy okra so much I think I’m going to make it again!

Crispy okra

Sometimes I write things like “I’m going to make potatoes with charred vegetables” and forget you aren’t right here in my kitchen watching me do it. I forget that I probably do it differently than most people, that I need to slow down and explain important things like how get okra very crispy in the oven.

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Here’s what you do:

1. Slice all your okra lengthwise.
2. Preheat your oven to 400.
3. When it’s ready, toss your okra with a big glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
4. Arrange okra on an unlined sheet pan cut side-down. That’s the most crucial part: CUT SIDE-DOWN!
5. Roast until the cut side is beginning to show color- the amount of time this takes will depend on how large your okra is, but check after about 10 minutes.
6. Crank up the temperature of your oven to 425 for the last 3-5 minutes of roasting, or until the cut side is deeply golden and the okra is crispy. The pointy ends may curl up and look a touch burned- that’s okay!

P.S. The sauce in the photo above? 1:1 ketchup to chimichurri roja. You gotta try it on some potatoes!

Little Octopus Potatoes

Little Octopus was my favorite kind of restaurant- innovative, consistent and not too serious.* We said goodbye to it a while back and I miss it very much-the friggin’ killer vegan caesar salad, avocado with sour orange and burned scallions, perfectly roasted chicken with bright herb salad and chocolate pots de creme. With all the potatoes in my CSA share lately, I decided to recreate one of my favorite dishes that was almost always on the menu: velvety fingerling potatoes tossed around with chimichurri roja and nearly burned broccolini.

A copycat recipe! Am I a real food blogger now, Internet?!

Probably not, seeing as the chef sent me the recipe for chimichurri roja and you know, my general lack of bubbles and cheer. But I did cut down the proportions for you and I did write slightly longer instructions than the original, “robot coupe it, ya dingus.” Naturally, I also added miso. You can use it to toss with potatoes (I like mine boiled, thanks) and any crispy vegetable, grilled or roasted. Lately: okra. I’ve enjoyed it on scrambled eggs, as a marinade for meat before or after grilling, and as an added kick in tomato panzanella, too.

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Chimichurri Roja
-makes about a quart

1 medium white or sweet onion
6 medium cloves garlic, grated or one small head, roasted
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 1/2 Tablespoons paprika
leaves from one 2.5 ounce bag cilantro
1/2 the leaves from one 2.5 ounce bag parsley
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 Tablespoons red miso
about 1/2 of a 3.5 ounce can chiles in adobo
at least one cup olive oil

1. Give the onion a little head start in the blender, then add everything else except for the olive oil. Stir it in gently by hand, starting with a cup and adding more to taste.
2. Please let it sit for at least an hour to mellow out before you email me saying the raw onion is caustic.

*See also: Margot, Peninsula, Butcher & Bee.

Carol's Peach Pie

I’ve been making one and only one Carol’s peach pie for many, many Summers now while sort of sharing the recipe and sort of not sharing the recipe. Maybe because it was one of those recipes that was fiercely guarded by an inner circle of women and coveted by everyone else during my childhood. Maybe because it’s one of the few things in my life that I find novel and want to keep it to myself. Maybe I’m just lazy.

I finally put instructions for it up on Instagram last year, but I think the time has come for it to have a permanent residence. Here’s what you need to know about Carol’s peach pie:

1. Carol was my neighbor when I was very small and a total legend for leaving Chattanooga in the 1970’s to study pastry in France.
2. There are two ways to assemble Carol’s peach pie. The woman, the myth, the legend Carol likes to assemble it like a tart (pictured). I usually prefer to assemble it like a proper Southern pie with a crimped crust.
3. You’ll want to use a pie or tart dough that is on the salty and sour side since the filling itself is quite sweet and rich. I am partial to the Four & Twenty Blackbirds recipe linked below.
4. No matter how much time you spend arranging the peach slices, this pie will look unimpressive. No matter how unimpressive it looks, it will taste great!
5. DO. NOT. SKIP. THE. ALMOND. EXTRACT.
6. You might end up with extra filling depending on the size of your pie plate. Pour it into ramekins and bake it! A four ounce ramekin should be cooked through in roughly 20 minutes.
7. You don’t have to, but you can peel the peaches if you want. Either boil them whole for a minute, dunk them in ice water and slip the skins off in one fell swoop, or freeze them in slices and slip the skins off their backs when they are defrosted.

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Carol’s Peach Pie
-serves 6-8, adapted from Carol Chesnutt

your favorite pie crust
3 pounds sliced, ripe peaches*
3/4 cup raw cane sugar
1/4 cup AP flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
pie plate or skillet roughly 8-10” in diameter
optional: one large egg

1. Roll out crust and get it very cold in your pie plate. Parbake at 425 for 16-18 minutes and trim the edges if you are assembling tart-style (you will need to cool it completely before filling). Glaze the insides with egg white and outer crust with egg yolk whisked with 1/2t water if you are assembling Southern pie-style.
2. While your crust is chilling, mix peaches with 1/4 cup of the sugar and preheat oven to 375. When peaches are a little juicy, mix in the rest of the ingredients.
3. Fill the pie shell and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling looks set.
4. Cool completely before slicing or serving.

*for me that’s usually six or seven medium sized peaches, or one bag from The Peach Truck