Being a food geek, I often explore new foods and ingredients, without necessarily the know-how to prepare them. I just try to transfer my knowledge of similar foods to new foods.
A good example was when I came across a giant pile of okra in the store and it was calling my name. I told the pile that I would like to buy it and fulfill its destiny to be in someone’s belly (my belly), but that I had never cooked okra and didn’t know what to do with it. The okra said not to worry and assured me that I would think of something. My first instinct was to grill it. Anyone that knows me knows that I like to barbeque. I mean, I really like to barbeque. It might be that open flame is involved (dangerous!). It might be that I really enjoy the control you have with a good grill (control freak?). It might be that you can cook almost anything on a grill, with a little creativity (delusions of grandeur as Titanium Chef- Grill Master? My idea, Foodie Networks – I expect royalties when you make the show). It may be a combination of these things, but I think the biggest part is the flavour. Following the principles of browning, I figured this might be the path to follow for my first foray into the world of okra.
So, I washed the okra, patted them dry and drizzled a bit of oil on them just to make sure they didn’t stick. With a preheated barbeque, I put them on the grill and turned them as they browned, taking them off just as they started to split (about 5-7 minutes total). Result: Success! Not only did I fulfill the okra’s destiny, but it is now one of my favourite simple side dishes from the grill. I have continued to pick up a pile of the little guys whenever I can (thinking of them and their destiny, of course) adding another affordable fun veggie dish in my repertoire. Never underestimate variety. If a new vegetable or food speaks to you, go for it. The reward is huge for very little risk.
Do you have any surprise grilling ideas that have brought more fruit or vegetables to your family’s plates…and bellies?