Mystery House

The Iron Chefettes Are Back!

Maxwell w Eggplant

Allez cuisine!

Why is the Chairman hiding behind an eggplant?  It was a difficult couple of weeks, that’s why, and he’s worried I’m going to lose.  Oh, there was plenty of good stuff to work with in this box.

Aug 1 CSA Box 1

So much, it wouldn’t fit into a single photograph.

Aug 1 CSA Box 2

But there was one thing which figured more prominently in my cooking than any other ingredient last week.

Necessary Ingredient

Sigh.  The M.E. and I both had colds.  His was waning, mine was at its worst.  And that meant I had no tastebuds.

I made a salad with red potatoes, green beans and a mix of herbs to go with corn and bratwurst.

Potato Bean Salad

I couldn’t taste the herbs at all, but the M.E. said it was delicious.  The first corn of the season, by the way, was quite disappointing.  Probably picked too soon.  That dastardly Corn Lady lied when she told me it had good flavor.  Last time I buy from her–I like it when sellers are straight with me.

I jazzed up the rest of the corn by sauteeing it with chile powder and lime, and put it on a salad with the wonderful mixed greens from our CSA box.  Much better that way.  Quite good, in fact.

Mixed Greens w Sauteed Corn

Last Sunday was pizza night, and we tried a variation of the recipe for kale pizza from the CSA newsletter.  We added sauce and some Italian sausage, and it was very good.  The cherry tomatoes really gave it a nice punch.  Sweet as candy.  If you try this, make sure the kale is mostly underneath the cheese, so it doesn’t get crispy.

Kale Pizza

Simple things, clearly, were working best with my disabled tastebuds.  Like a plain roast chicken, with potatoes, green beans, and the sweetest onions ever — fresh ones from the CSA box.

Roast Chicken 1

It really is hard to beat a roast chicken.

Roast Chicken 2

A nice, simple steak with a salad also hit the spot.  This required no imagination whatsoever.  It was blatantly, intentionally uninspired, and it was absolutely perfect:  mixed greens with cucumber, homemade croutons, and those amazing cherry tomatoes.

Salad w Cukes n Maters

And that’s the thing about good summer produce.  It’s usually best unadorned, even if you don’t have a cold.  Nevertheless, I had to try.  I mean, it’s not going to be a terribly interesting competition if all we’re doing is boiling vegetables or eating them raw.  So I thought I’d do something fun with the summer squash.

Fun at Casa Mystery often begins with bacon.

Baby Okra 4

Grilling is fun, too, even the inside kind.  Like my purty new grill pan?  Mom decided she had one grill pan too many, and gave me her Le Creuset.  And a matching casserole.  And matching trivet.  She gets in these moods sometimes, and there’s nothing you can do to stop her.

Baby Okra 5

While the squash was grilling, I browned some onions and garlic.  This was all being made up as I went along, of course, with no idea exactly where it was going to wind up.

Baby Okra 2

Tomato.  It needed tomato.  In went a can of diced tomatoes, with all their liquid.

Baby Okra 3

At this point, things seemed to be veering in an Italian direction.  That, however, was not my mood.  I wanted fun!  Drama!  Something unusual!  Knowing that it is at least occasionally possible to find drama in the freezer, I rooted around….and came up with treasure.

Baby Okra

Egyptian baby okra.  Aren’t they the cutest things?  Most of them are no bigger than the tip of my pinkie finger, and they’re so good.

The sauce needed some flavor, so I went straight for the big gun.  Ras al hanout.  You may remember I made some for the Moroccan Cubanos awhile back.  Okay, so you probably don’t remember that.  But I not only remembered, I found it in my spice cupboard and added a couple of teaspoons to the pan.

When the squash was done, I cut it up and put it in the sauce.  Added the okra — and the bacon — when it was about fifteen minutes away from being done.  See, that’s the trick with okra.  It only gets slimy if you overcook it.  It behaves very nicely when given only a few minutes to cook and think about its fate.

Baby Okra 6

And….success!  We really liked this.  I’d add a bit more Ras al hanout next time, and the M.E. wanted more bacon (which is normal), but other than that it was a definite keeper.

I made chorizo hash, with fingerling potatoes, green beans and chipotle peppers.  Yum.

Chorizo Hash

And eggplant curry, once the Chairman was done cowering behind the eggplant.  The recipe was from this book.  Thai curry, with green curry paste, coconut milk, beef and basil.  I love Thai curries.  They’re fun, quick, and super easy.  This one was very good, although I’d do a couple things differently next time.  First of all, eggplant should not be in green curry.  No matter how good it tastes, there’s no color, and it looks like a plate of dirty dishwater.

Eggplant Curry

Ugly, isn’t it?  Definitely red curry next time.  I would also sweat the eggplant in a separate pan before adding it to the rest, because it threw off so much water that it diluted the sauce.

So, what were the favorites?  I have no idea.  We were in agreement that everything was good (except that stupid corn), but nothing stood out as being spectacular.  I’d probably pick the roast chicken menu if pressed, and it’s not like I haven’t made that about ‘leventy squillion times.

Sigh. I hope next week goes better.  In the meantime, anybody got an eggplant I can hide behind?


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * kmkat says:

    You two are killin’ me. I need a personal chef!

    Posted 8 years, 7 months ago
  2. * Cheryl S. says:

    At first glance, I thought Dr. Evil was sniffing the inside of a shoe. Heh.
    I have lots of eggplant for you to hide behind. This is evidently a good garden year for them. Yum.

    Posted 8 years, 7 months ago
  3. * Amy says:

    OK, I feel a little less smug now.

    Posted 8 years, 7 months ago
  4. * terri says:

    a person could starve looking at those photos.
    which reminds me, i am hungry

    Posted 8 years, 7 months ago
  5. * Guinifer says:

    Yea that sweaty eggplant is ALWAYS a problem child! However that Chorizo Hash…wow.

    Posted 8 years, 7 months ago
  6. * bezzie says:

    Oh freaking yum–I need to space you guys’ posts out!
    I’d give Corn Lady another chance. It’s possible you got a Skank Ear. That’s the beauty of buying “real” corn (not that grocery store crap) every now and then a Skank Ear sneaks in there.

    Posted 8 years, 7 months ago
  7. * Kathleen says:

    No eggplant here – I love them so I eat every one of them, and to make things worse, I have no garden. Wah.
    The only thing I can think of to make your chorizo hash better would be to serve it with very thinly sliced onion, a little bit of minced hot peppers, and a couple of shredded mint leaves, marinated for a few minutes in lime juice and salt. This is the best thing that being in Peru has taught me, believe it or not.

    Posted 8 years, 7 months ago
  8. * Jeanice says:

    Bucky thinks that the Chairman would rather you showed him some of that bacon than an irritating vegetable. That’s just what Bucky thinks.

    Posted 8 years, 7 months ago
  9. * deb says:

    All looks good to me! Hope you’re feeling better now!

    Posted 8 years, 7 months ago
  10. * Carrie K says:

    The eggplant does look less elegant than the rest but I’ll bet it was tasty.

    Posted 8 years, 7 months ago

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