Friday, August 20, 2010

Eat Locally Think Globally

Instead of dining out, I had a few friends over on our rooftop. This Friday night, I pan-seared okra from our local Union Square Farmers Market, with tomatoes and holy basil leaves that I have been nurturing in my urban, rooftop garden since April. 

Okra is a very simple, nutritious and lots of fiber vegetable and of course it is appetizing too! Popular as the ladies fingers in South Asian, Okra is abundance at this time of year in Northeast America as well. It’s perfect for summer refreshing vegetable dish option.

Most people don’t fancy okra is because of its slimy taste, I find if it sliced and seared gives a nice snappy texture and eliminate the liquid. 

Recipe: Seared Okra with Tomato and Cumin Dust


1 lb Okra (sliced diagonally)
Vegetable oil for frying
1 medium onion, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups (450g) chopped tomato, fresh or canned, drained
1 serrano chile, sliced
2 teaspoon finely minced ginger
2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
Spice mixture
¼ cup cilantro stems and sprigs
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoons ground paprika
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne) 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper
1/8 cup of water


In a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high flame, heat 2 to 3 teaspoon oil. Add enough okra to cover pan in a single layer. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining okra, adding more oil as needed for each batch to prevent sticking.

In the same pan wiped clean, over medium-high heat, add onion till lightly brown, add in garlic, ginger, stir in cumin paprika.

Continue frying over medium high heat, adding water, stirring frequently, until tomatoes soften, about 3 minutes.

Add reserved okra and stir very gently with chile to combine with tomato and cilantro stems. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until okra is cooked through…

Garnish with cilantro sprigs

*add in cooked shrimp or fish if desired!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hudson Valley Travels: Route 7, Copake Falls, Ellsworth Hill Orchard, Sebastian Beckwith, Stone Wall Dairy Farm

This weekend, for Mr. Z's birthday, his wish was to hop in a car and get lost with no plans whatsoever. Cruising along Hutchinson Parkway and off on to the winding country Route 7 along the scenic the Housatonic River, all one needs is a couple of cold bottles of water if you decide to get on the Appalachian Trial. This time of the year there is an abundance of fresh produce available from local farms and roadside stands--plenty of choices to satisfy and whet your appetite.

2 ½ hour from New York City we stumble upon Copake Falls for a cool dip after a 45 minute hike and were surprised to find only a handful of locals. Refreshed and tranquil with the gushing waterfall and especially on a 90 degree scorching hot summer afternoon.
A quick detour for summer peaches and cherry pies at a roadside stand nearby the old quaint town of Cornwall. As dusk approached, dinner hour was quickly upon us, so at nearby Ellsworth Hill Orchard, we picked up pattypan squashes, zucchinis, Italian frying peppers and sweet white corn for our first night's dinner at my old friend and In Pursuit of Tea guru, Sebastian Beckwith’s cabin surrounded by 103 acres of lush green pine trees and a 14 foot deep pond.

For lunch the next day, we were recommended to Toymaker Cafe at Village Falls for fresh salads and sandwiches to bring for a picnic at the fall and then continued on to the vibrant city of Kent for spinach panini and expresso gelato along with a book fair.

On the way home we bought fresh unprocessed raw milk and eggs at Stone Wall Dairy Farm, where the land has supported this dairy farm for over 150 years. Perfect for stocking up our fridge back in the city.