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Summer food in spring

March 23, 2010

Well, the boy and I went upstate this past weekend to get our taxes done, visit Echo the 4 month old sheltie (and Juno the 6 or so year old sheltie), and do laundry at the boy’s parents’. We had nice weather up there, but not as nice as back home, where it was 70 for most of the weekend. Imagine my disappointment to find that this whole week is supposed to be “cold” (30s-50s) and rainy!

I’m trying to “eat down” my cupboards, so I came up with the perfect dinner. The boy’s mom introduced me to green beans and salsa a while ago and I bought a big jar of salsa last time I went grocery shopping. Combined with some frozen haricots verts, corn, and okra, the salsa made the day! Fried chicken tenders (breaded and fried from scratch) finish off the meal.

Here are the recipes:

Juicy Pan-fried Chicken:

Boneless skinless chicken tenders
flour seasoned with salt and pepper (I used whole wheat and couldn’t tell the difference)
extra virgin olive oil

Pour the oil to fully cover the bottom of a small enameled or cast iron pan. Heat over medium heat until oil sizzles when a drop of water is added. Dredge chicken in flour and fry on one side until chicken is white nearly all the way through, then flip and finish frying on the other side. Do chicken in batches of one or two tenders at a time and drain on paper towels when finished. Add more olive oil as necessary to keep bottom of pan covered.

Southern Summer Vegetables:

1/2 bag/lb frozen or fresh sliced okra
1/2 bag/lb frozen or fresh green beans (I used haricot verts, which are very thin and tender French beans)
1/2 bag/lb frozen sweet corn
1 cup or so mild tomato salsa

Place vegetables in a two quart saucepan or pot and add water about halfway up. As water is heating, use fork or wooden spoon to break apart and thaw frozen vegetables. Steam with lid on for appx. 2 minutes. Drain water and add salsa. Cook until heated through. Serves appx. 4 as a side dish.

The key to the vegetables is not to overcook them! Okra in particular can get slimy when overcooked. It was delicious last night, but I was a little disappointed this morning when I went to pack my lunch and the okra and green beans were olive green. 😦 Oh well. They still taste the same! Maybe next time I would douse them with cold water before adding the salsa, if only to preserve the color.

I was also introduced over the weekend to an awesome casserole of greens! The boy’s mom got the recipe from a coworker. She combined cooked escarole with mozzarella cheese, bread crumbs, parmesan, red bell pepper, hot cherry peppers (minus the seeds!), and one banana pepper and baked it in the oven. It was soooo good! A little on the spicy side for me, but still very good. I bought some escarole and parmesan last night and I’ve got homemade breadcrumbs floating around, so I think I might try it later this week.

Tonight I think is going to be another round of green onion and potato soup. I got two bunches of green onions this time and more potatoes, so I think I’ll make a big pot! It’s still cold and rainy out, though not as cold as it was earlier. Spring is coming! I can’t wait for sunshine and warm, dry, mud-free weather so I can wear cute clothes and more importantly, cute shoes again!

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