What you see above is summer’s bounty, people. Fresh basil, strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers and okra just picked from the garden.
I dedicate this Paestry post to my co-worker who kindly shared these garden delights with me these past two months. The experience has already cemented a future plan to begin gardening.It is mind-boggling how prolific a garden can be. It started with never-ending yellow summer squash, cucumbers and “peaches and cream” corn, then the green beans and bell peppers arrived and the okra emerged. Soon, the jalapenos and banana peppers appeared and now the tomatoes are really taking off.This entire time, the basil has been thriving. It is the most fragrant basil I have ever encountered. I plucked a leaf once, ate it straight-up and it was so fresh it tingled my tongue.
I will take a moment to focus on okra. It is a wonderful and mysterious vegetable. Before moving to Alabama, the only times I’ve eaten it were in gumbo or Indian curries.
The most distinctive thing about them is their sliminess, which is by no means unpleasant but rather their best trait. Cooking them reduces the slipperiness inside the pods but I like the slimy texture.
Their flavor is challenging to describe. It’s unlike any vegetable out there, really. Kind of musky and mellow in a green vegetable way, if that make any sense at all.
The plants grow really tall, as high as five feet. They make beautiful flowers too. I’ve read they love hot and humid weather, which explains why they thrive in the South. My friend and I cooked them the traditional southern way. We cut them in small pieces, coated with cornmeal and fried until crispy. Other recipes have them battered and deep-fried. I’ve also fried some just covered with flour. Anything goes!
It has been a marvelous summer of fresh garden vegetables. To close, these are some cool hop plants that grew high up a trellis.
Just your typical lunch at yet another fabulous BBQ joint in north Alabama. This one, at New Market Bar-B-Q in New Market.
Oh yes, the Vidalia onion. They are sweeter and milder than their yellow, brown and white relatives. They’re available pretty much everywhere in the south and prized for their mellow deliciousness.
The Vidalia Onion Committee makes sure these onions are grown in only 13 Georgia counties near the city of Vidalia, where they were born. Something about the soil in that region makes these onions more sweet and less spicy.
But enough about the onion’s history. Look at what I did with some Vidalias about a week ago. I made a pie!
Slice the onions and cook them in lots of butter until they’re soft and translucent but not browned. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix sour cream, eggs, milk and S&P until smooth. Add the buttery onions to the mix. Pour into an uncooked pie shell, top with shredded cheddar cheese and bake for about 45 minutes.
Slice, and enjoy it as a side dish or just by itself. As a Vidalia onion grower was quoted, these sweet onions “only make you cry when they’re gone.”
Posting this picture of an avocado just because we all know how amazing they are. Thanks, avocado.