Sautéed Okra and Tomatoes

The secret to cooking okra to a crisp–tender texture is a very hot skillet.

1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 small red onions, sliced
1 pound fresh okra, stems and ends trimmed
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into wedges
Course salt and freshly grounded black pepper

1. In a small bowl combine, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and coriander, set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring until soft, about 3 minutes.

2. Raise heat to medium-high; add the spice mixture, okra, and 1/2 cup water. Cook, stirring, until the okra is bright green and just tender, about 6 minutes, adding more water if the skillet becomes to dry.

3. Add the tomato wedges and cook until just heated through, about 1 minute, season with salt and pepper.

Yields: 4 servings

Adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook, The New Classics.

Ribe Eyes with Pan Gravy

Red meat is an essential in our diet every now again especially for us women. I do not eat enough myself so I am going to try really hard this year to incorporate some new recipes into my diet. Today I came up with a really easy yet delicious way to cook some rib eye steaks. And then I make a pan gravy that I adapted from one of Julia Child’s recipes years ago to go on top.

3 rib eyes steaks
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter, halved
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1. In a Sauté pan on medium heat add half of the butter, add onions. In a small bowl mix sea salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle half of mixture on top of steaks and lay seasoned side into pan, sprinkle other half of spice mixture on top of the facing steaks, bring down flame to medium low.

2. Cook steaks for about 10 minutes on each side or until desired. Remove steaks from pan add other half of butter and parsley, mix. Pour pan gravy over the top of steaks.

Yields: 3 servings

Seared Pumpkin

This is a really nice recipe for this time of year. Pumpkins are in season so you will find pumpkins at their best right now. This recipe is a very old fashioned recipe that dates back to the early settlers here in America and has been in my family for years.

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup water
1 pound pumpkin, cubed
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Melt butter in large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add pumpkin and water, cook 5 minutes. Add brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

2. Cook until water has evaporated and pumpkin is golden. Stir in maple syrup and walnuts cooking for 1 more minute.

Yields: 6 servings

Do not forget to season your cast iron skillet every now again, you can find the directions that I listed here for you.

Fried Apple Pies

Nothing reminds me of Fall more then a nice fried apple pie. Growing up in Tennessee I was lucky enough to live near The Apple Barn, a place that had every apple recipe you could imagine. One of the last memories I have of my Grand-Father was going to The Apple Barn and having a fried apple pie with some warm apple cider and maybe that’s why their both so special to me.

4 tart (such as Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala or Macintosh) apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 (15 ounce) package refrigerated pie crust
1-1/2 cup vegetable oil, more as needed
powdered sugar

1. Cook the apples with the water in a covered 4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat for about 1 hour, or until all liquid has been absorbed. Stir occasionally. Add the sugar, butter, lemon juice and cinnamon, mixing well; set aside to cool. Unfold the pie crust and break into 8 equal pieces like pie slices. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of fruit on each round of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Dip your finger in water and moisten the edges of the crust, then place a second round on top of the filling and press the edges of the crust, then place a second round on top of the filling and press the edges to seal. Dip the tines of a dinner fork in flour and crimp the edges to ensure a proper seal.

2. Pour oil into a cast-iron skillet to a depth of a little less than 1/2 inch. (This would be 1 1/2 cups oil in a 10-inch skillet.) Heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, place 3 to 4 pies in the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle the pies with powdered sugar while they’re hot.

Yield: 8 pies

Recipe Adapted from Paula Deen