This is my Dad. Nicest guy you'll ever meet.
He also happens to be a clever cook -- one of those enviable people who can randomly scout out the fridge and cupboards and then invent some delicious and artful concoction. I didn't inherit this gene.
On occasion, though, he does resort to cookbooks. Or cookbook, I should say, as I've only ever seen him using one. (There may be others, but I can't call them to mind.) This particular cookbook was bought, I believe, after he returned from his Peace Corps service in India. It's yellowed. It's tattered. It's long been out of print. And it's actually held together with a rubber band. But, boy, the food he makes from this book is go-oo-ood.
|Sorry for the out-of-focus view. As you can tell by the cover, it's not a vegan cookbook, but there are some tasty vegan recipes in there!|
Last weekend, Ryan and I went down to Dad and Mary's (my stepmom since I was in third-grade!) because my Uncle Tom and Aunt Sane (sah'-nee) were in town from Stockton, California. Tom is the kind of uncle who taught us nieces and nephews raunchy (but kid-friendly) songs, took us to waterparks on chilly nights, and coasted the car down steep roads with us kids in the back squealing with delight. He also told us a very convincing version of The Hooked Hand before going down a winding dirt road into the woods. I don't think my cousin Sarah ever recovered from that.
Sane is quieter than Tom and has a wonderfully dry sense of humor. If you're not listening carefully, you could miss one of her funny quips, which are always uttered matter-of-factly under her breath. The kind of quips that make you snort almond milk out your nose.
She's also a looker.
For our laughter-filled reunion dinner, my Dad made Stuffed Okra, a vegan curry, and a chicken curry. (Ryan and I are the only vegans in the family. For now.) :) It was a drizzly and cold evening -- perfect for spicy food!
For your viewing pleasure, here is the simple recipe.
1 pound okra
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
First you wash the okra.
|Vegetables really know how to look good.|
Then you mix the spices up in a bowl. (Or a measuring cup, if you're feeling adventurous like my Dad.)
Make a slit in the side of each okra pod and spoon some of the mixture in.
Heat the oil in a seasoned pan. (Dad is the iron-skillet seasoning MASTER. He can find the rustiest pan in a yard sale and turn it into a gleaming professional looking pan in about a week.) Place the okra in the pan and squeeze lime juice over all the okra, like a lime shower.
Then you cover it (or not) and cook on low heat, according to the directions. But my Dad used medium high heat. (See? He's insane. But it works.)
This is what it looks like when it's done.
And this is what it looks like all pretty on the plate.
Stuffed okra is so savory and makes my mouth very happy. Not one piece remained. You'd think it would be kind of dry with all the spices, but it isn't. You've got to try it to believe it.
|Tom, the uncle every kid should have.|
|Sane, on the verge of a one-liner.|
|Mary and I chillin' in the kitchen. Why do people bother building living rooms? We all end up in the kitchen anyway.|
I'm sad that Tom and Sane flew back home. I wish they lived closer. Things always feel complete with them around. :) Anyhow, I hope you get to try this! And if you do, let me know how it goes!