Friday, July 24, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: Home Edition, Part 16

Is everyone surviving these insane summer temps? The only upside is the plethora of crazy good produce available right now, so I'm sharing 2 of my favorite summer dishes for you this week, spotlighting the honorable TOMATO. By the way, if you're looking for a fun way to beat the heat, check out the New Orleans Snow Cone stand at Country Park - as of right now, they're open Monday-Saturday from 11am-7pm and Sunday from 12-7pm. You can mix flavors, and you'll want to - they have more than just your standard Cherry or Grape (Wedding Cake anyone?)
I mixed Watermelon and Cotton Candy, natch.

When I think about my favorite recipes that my grandma makes, three immediately come to mind: Pimiento Cheese, Italian Cream Cake and Okra & Tomatoes. A few years ago, I was inspired by the bounty of ripe tomatoes at the farmer's market and decided to master her Okra & Tomato recipe once and for all. I'm pleased to share it with you today. Non-okra fans will be converted.

-3 TB butter
-20 okra (about 2 cups)
-1/2 cup onion, chopped
-3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
-1 and 1/2 tsp sugar

Cut the tip and the base off the okra, then slice into 1/4 inch thick bites. Melt the butter in a dutch oven or other large, deep pan over medium low heat. Add the chopped okra and onion and sprinkle on a little salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and sugar, a little more salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer, cover and let it cook for about 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The tomatoes will soften and stew and release their juices, and it is heaven on earth. Taste for seasoning before serving!
The best.

Another favorite summer recipe to use up your ripe tomatoes is Rynn's Cornbread Salad. My former neighbor Rynn brought this to a potluck and my mom and I lost our minds over it. We begged her for the recipe, and here it is:

Prepare your favorite boxed or homemade cornbread recipe (or shortcut and buy pre-made from the store). Once cooled, cut into 1 inch cubes, and layer in a 9x13 casserole or trifle dish. Top with:

-2 cans pinto beans, drained
-1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
-1/2 cup chopped red pepper
-1 large tomato, peeled and diced
-1 can corn, drained (or 1 ½ cups fresh kernels off the cob)
-any other miscellaneous veggies like edamame, peas, chickpeas, what have you

Pour 8 ounces ranch dressing over the top, then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. It tastes WAY better than it looks, but considering the ingredients, what's not to love?! 

Cornbread Salad - it tastes better than it looks!
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga - You might start this film and think, what alternate universe have I walked into, where Rachel McAdams and Will Ferrell have agreed to star in this story about an Icelandic musical duo who strive for greatness in the Eurovision Song Contest? But keep watching. It's actually quite entertaining and heartwarming, and will win you over by the end. A musical montage in the middle will have you smiling and singing along. And Dan "Milk Toast" Stevens...out of nowhere! He just crushes it! This film reminded me that Rachel McAdams is one of our generation's best actresses, who hasn't received nearly enough accolades for her work.

2001: A Space Odyssey – If you can get through the first 25 minutes, you should be able to make it through the rest. It clocks in at 2 hours and 48 minutes, but with striking visuals and beautiful music, it’s a classic for a reason. Definitely timely, playing into the world of A.I. and the fear that robots may one day take over. I can appreciate a good sci-fi film, just not one that’s this long!

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