Carter Cooks: Okra, Tomato, Squash, & Eggplant Stew

Carter Cooks

Welcome back to another market season!

My brother’s Christmas wish list last year included cooking lessons from his sister. As a result, Joseph and I have instituted weekly family dinners prepared by the kids. My brother has traveled extensively in the Middle East and has a penchant for well-seasoned food. Middle Eastern cuisine is some of the tastiest in the world and most adaptable too. Below is a recipe using ingredients currently in season and spices typical of a Middle Eastern dish. This dish also freezes well and can be thawed in a pinch. Some of the spices may be unfamiliar, but you should be able to find all of them at your local grocery store.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by the market!

From the Market

Okra

Tomato

Squash

Eggplant

Garlic

Onion

Cayenne

From the Pantry

Olive Oil

Chicken stock

Cumin

Tumeric

  1. Mix together cumin (1tbsp), tumeric (1-2tsp), cayenne (1/2 tsp), salt, and pepper to taste.
  2. Slice your eggplant into bite size pieces. Salt generously and dust with some of the spice mixture. Add cut tomatoes to pan. Roast at 450 for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Cube squash, onions, and okra. Keep separate.
  4. Meanwhile, mince garlic (1-2 cloves). Heat a sturdy saucepan with olive oil and sauté garlic until fragrant (1-2 minutes on medium heat).
  5. Toss in squash and onion to the garlic oil mixture and sprinkle some of the spice mixture. Cook until tender (approximately 4-5 minutes).
  6. Add enough chicken stock to cover the vegetables. Add in roasted eggplant, tomatoes, and okra. Add additional seasoning if desired.
  7. Cook until all vegetables are desired texture (approximately 5 minutes).
  8. Serve over rice, couscous or plain. Enjoy!

 

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Carter Cooks: Deviled Eggs

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I love deviled eggs. Growing up in the South and attending countless church potlucks, how could I not? Deviled eggs are a staple for summer picnics, too. They can be as fancy as you want or plain Jane. Below is the base recipe and here are a few fancier suggestions. For a New York style egg, try adding chopped smoked salmon, capers, and parsley to the egg yolks. For a Greek style egg, add feta and green olives, diced finely. Often you’ll see pickle relish or pickle juice added to help smooth out the yolk. Also if you have a piping set for cakes, some people will pipe the yolk mixture into the white for a very finished look. I’m way too impatient for that. I tend to be a purist and only use the below ingredients. I do prefer a kosher large grain salt for this. I think it adds a nice extra bite of flavor.

Deviled Eggs

From the Market

Eggs

Chili powder (or Paprika)

From your pantry

Mustard

Mayonnaise

Salt

Pepper

  1. Boil the eggs. This is harder than it sounds. I place the eggs in a saucepan with a lid. Then I pour cold water into the saucepan. Place on the burner with medium high heat. Bring to a rocking boil. (This is where the eggs rock back and forth, not so hard that they break.) Boil only for a minute or so. Then remove from heat and leave covered for 10-15 minutes. Submerge the eggs in cold water to stop the cooking. (Some people add vinegar or salt to the water to help prevent the shells from cracking. Just a thought.)
  2. Peel the eggs. This is also sometimes harder than it sounds. To hard boil eggs try and use older eggs. They are easier to peel. So, you may want to try this next week with eggs you buy this week. Give the eggs one good whack on the fat end. Then peel away. If the eggs are still hot, I will do this under running water. You can store peeled or unpeeled eggs in the fridge for several days.
  3. Cut eggs in half along the long axis. Scoop out the yolk into a bowl. Take care not to break the cooked white shell. Add mayo, mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Mix until smooth.
  4. Dollop yolk mixture back into the cooked white shell. Sprinkle with paprika or chili powder and head to your favorite picnic spot!

Carter Cooks: Sausage Balls

Carter Cooks

So this is one of the ultimate Southern potluck foods. It’s perfect for church dinners, basketball games (NCAA championship is tonight!), funerals, and any get together with children. The traditional recipe is bisquick, cheddar cheese, and a pound of sausage. I wanted to try something a little different. Below is a homemade buttermilk biscuit with local sausage, goat cheese and chili powder. I think the creamy texture of the goat cheese really complements the flavorings in the sausage you can get at the market. I hope you enjoy this snack treat. It also freezes well. So think of making a double batch and freezing the second one, if you can get them to last long enough to cool. Another variation would be to substitute feta cheese for the goat cheese. Just something to think about experimenting with!

Sausage balls

From the market

Sausage

Chili powder

Goat cheese

Buttermilk

Flour

Butter

From your pantry

Baking powder

Baking soda

Salt

  1. In a skillet, brown sausage. Drain and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Make biscuit dough. In a bowl, whisk together 2 cups of flour, 4 tsp powder, ¼ tsp soda, and a heavy dash of salt. Take 4 tbsp cold butter and mix into the flour mixture with your fingertips. You want to do this quickly and the butter should become pea sized or smaller. Pour in 1 cup cold buttermilk. Mix thoroughly. If the dough appears too wet, add a little flour.
  4. Mix dough, cooked sausage, goat cheese, and spices to taste. I would use about 1 lb of sausage, 8 oz of goat cheese, and 1 tsp of chili powder.  Again, if mixture will not form a ball, add flour. If too dry, add a bit of cold water or buttermilk.
  5. Spoon out bite sized balls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and dough is cooked through.

Carter Cooks: Swiss Chard and Poaches Eggs

Carter Cooks

I think I’ve mentioned before that I love breakfast for dinner. This dish is a nice compromise. It’s a little breakfast like, but definitely different enough to be served for dinner. The fall is a great time for greens. We often forget about how nutritious these vegetables are. They are loaded with vitamins and nutrients. When I first started cooking vegetables like chard, kale, mustard, and collards, I was a little intimidated by the amount of room they took up in the fridge. I was more surprised by how much they cook down. If you’ve never cooked these, try them out this week at the market. You may be surprised by how much you like them.
We are sad to see the Market at ETSU close this week, but are busy making preparations for the spring. Make sure you stop by for the pumpkin carving contest this Thursday.
Swiss Chard & Poached Eggs

From the Market
Swiss Chard
Green Onions
Tomatoes
Chili pepper
Garlic
Eggs
From the Pantry
Wine
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil

1. Boil water for poaching eggs. Chop chard and onions into rough pieces. Deseed chili and slice into small chunks.
2. In a sautee pan heat olive oil. Brown minced garlic for approximately one minute.
3. Add onions, chili pepper, and chard stalks. Sautee until soft and onions are almost translucent. Use the wine to deglaze the pan. Salt & pepper to taste.
4. Add the rest of the swiss chard to the pan. Mix well and steam until soft.
5. Meanwhile, crack egg into boiling water and poach to desired consistency.
6. Serve with toasted bread.

Carter Cooks: Stuffed Peppers

At the last market I got to perusing Jeff’s cookbooks (of Chapo’s Chilies), they had some amazing stuffed pepper recipes. I thought I’d give it a try.  In perusing my own set of cookbooks and the internet, I discovered that there are as many ways to stuff a pepper as there are southern cooks. It seems to me that everyone does it differently and with their own tastes in mind. So I would recommend that you use my recipe as a guide and adjust accordingly.

I personally think onions are medicinal and will put them in anything savory. Additionally as a born and bred southerner, I love the pig. Typically, I’ll try to sneak cheese into any dish. But for some reason I didn’t have any in my larder, so I left it out. By now, you should have noticed that I tend to be a use what’s on hand kind of cook. If you think the flavor profile works, go for it. Cooking is all about improvising. As Julia Child once said “If you’re alone in the kitchen, who is going to see?” Don’t worry about making mistakes; the one’s you cook for will still be thankful that they were on the receiving end of a home cooked meal.

Stuffed Peppers

From the Market

Peppers

Sausage

Herbs (parsley, for example)

Onions

From the Pantry

Rice

Tomato sauce

Oil

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Wash peppers and slit along the spine to remove seeds. Leave the tops attached. The peppers will splay open when cooking if removed.
  3. Cook rice and set aside.
  4. Brown sausage, breaking up the sausage into small pieces.  Drain and reserve a little of the fat to cook the onions in.
  5. Chop onions and sauté in sausage grease. Add cooked rice and sausage to the pan. Add a little tomato sauce to help hold the ingredients together. Season with herbs, salt & pepper to taste.
  6. Stuff rice mixture into slit, deseeded peppers. Rub peppers with oil and place on a baking sheet. Optional: Drizzle tomato sauce over filled peppers.
  7. Bake until peppers are tender approximately 40 minutes.

Note: The rice mixture can be made ahead of time except for the tomato sauce.

 

 

Filling in for Carter Cooks: Southwest Style Chicken Noodle Soup

Carter will be back with her delicious recipes next week. If you haven’t tried her recipes yet, I encourage you to do so ASAP.

The following recipe was inspired by Sunday’s chilly, rainy weather; when the weather turns cold, I add soups, chiles and stews to my meal roster. They’re simple, generally budget friendly, and can be made in a pinch.  A variation of the ‘classic’ chicken noodle soup, this one incorporates red peppers and Chapos chipolte chile powder for a satisfying, soul warming soup- with plenty leftover for lunch the next day. Make it vegetarian by replacing the chicken black beans/your favorite bean. If you like spicy food, add some jalapeno/Habanero peppers to the initial saute. – Rachel

From the Market

-1 large Red/green bell pepper, chopped

-2-3 large carrots, thinly sliced

-1/2 medium onion, chopped

-1 whole chicken, roasted (-or- 2 cooked chicken breasts)*

-3 tsp Chipotle chili powder

From your pantry

-1 Tbsp olive oil

-1 box (32 oz) of chicken broth

-3 cups of water

-3 cloves of garlic

-1/3 box of noodles (spaghetti or linguine)

-Salt & pepper to taste

1) Saute the onion, red pepper, and carrots on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, or until onions are tender and translucent

2) Add chile powder and minced garlic, a little salt and pepper and cook another 5 minutes

3) In a large pot, add chicken broth, sauteed vegetables, chicken, and a pinch of pepper

4) Cook on medium-low heat for ~60 minutes

5) Return soup to a boil. Add pasta and cook 7-8 minutes

6) Remove from heat and serve. Add salt and pepper to taste.

* I roasted a whole chicken for a meal the night before I made the soup (if you have a time, this is a simple, flavorful way to prepare the chicken). I then added the leftover meat to this soup. After preparing the soup, I added the leftover chicken bones to a pot of water. I cooked this on medium-high heat for 60 minutes to prepare a homemade chicken stock. This can be frozen and used as a broth for future soups.  

Carter Cooks: Breakfast Bake


I am a big fan of brunch. When I lived in New Orleans, my friends and I always had brunch on the weekends. It was such a lovely way to catch up on the happenings in the week before. We primarily went out for brunch, but every once in a while we’d have brunch at someone’s apartment. Weekends are made for sitting a little longer around the kitchen table.
This coming weekend is the International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough. Most people who regularly attend will tell you that the best stories told at the festival are the ones around the kitchen table. I’ll have a house full this weekend along with this breakfast bake. It’s such a great brunch dish that has the added benefit of little cleanup in the morning, if you make the dish the night before. Here’s to the weekend full of brunch and kitchen sitting. I hope you’ll take a little extra time around the table this weekend.
Breakfast Bake

From the Market
Eggs
Bread
Onions
Sausage
Fresh herbs
Chile powder
From the Pantry
Butter
Milk
Cheese
Salt & Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease a baking dish and set aside. Bring eggs to room temperature.
2. Slice onions.
3. In a skillet, melt butter. Sauté onions until tender (3-5min). Add sausage to skillet and cook thoroughly. Drain on paper towels.
4. Slice bread into 2 inch cubes. Layer in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle sausage and onion on top of the bread layer. Then sprinkle with your favorite cheese. (I prefer a swiss or cheddar for this egg bake).
5. In a bowl, scramble eggs and milk. You can use up to half the amount of eggs for the measurement of the milk. Mix in herbs, chile powder, salt, and pepper.
6. Pour egg mixture over top of the bread, sausage, and cheese.
7. Let stand at least ten minutes and up to over night.
8. Bake until golden brown and center is set, approximately 30-45 minutes.
Note: This is a great soufflé-like breakfast dish. For a more soufflé-like style, do two layers of the bread, sausage and cheese in a deep dish. It can be made the night before and baked in the morning, which is great for company. Also, stale bread works best, which is great option for the weekend.