From Farm to Fork

It's been a while since I've been here with much enthusiasm and consistency and I apologize for that. But with the new Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market taking a lot of my free time, I haven't been cooking much. And if I have cooked, I certainly haven't had the wherewithal to plan for it, take pictures and then write about it afterwards.

But I'm back!! I think I've found my groove...

I came home from Sunday's market with a cooler full of goods. Okra and baby zucchini from 9-1 Farm, heirloom tomatoes and baby eggplant from Markley Family Farm, farm fresh eggs, kale and arugula from Springfield Farms, peaches from Engel Farms and Zamudio Farms, Edelen Farms' grass-fed beef for David, Koch Ranches' pork sausage, Humble House Foods' hummus, Good Gluten-Free Foods baked goods and the list goes on.

When I walked by 9-1 Family Farms' immaculate and pristine okra, I grabbed a bag and began thinking about what to do with it right then and there.

David suggested maque choux as the perfect compliment to a pan-sauteed, cornmeal-crusted filet of fish. After a week of not eating much more than ice cream, I liked the sound of something flavorful.

Last year, I roasted okra for the very first time, loved it and ate it so often I needed a new recipe to prepare the season's very first okra. Coincidentally, or maybe not, I came across a recipe by the same chef, Scott Peacock, that piqued my interest. It didn't call for tomato, but that's an easy add-in. The fact that it required a few slices of bacon was all I needed to seal the deal.

Because the okra did not even have a blemish on it, the heirloom tomato was at its peak of ripeness, the corn was organic and fresh from the frozen department at HEB (if you don't live in the northeast where corn is superb, frozen corn is the next best thing) and the fish I bought at Groomer's was super fresh, I felt certain we were going to eat well.

And, no surprise. We did.

I highly recommend you head over to our new market one Sunday and check out our vendors. The you'll see what you can create when you get home with your bag of tricks. I just know you'll be inspired.

The beautiful thing of buying sourcing your food locally is that it's so fresh, you barely need to do anything with it to make it taste great. Plus, it hasn't traveled 3,000 miles to get to you and wasn't picked weeks ago and (gasp!) picked before it was ready to be picked.

But truly the best part of buying local? I know Fernando, Natalie and Miguel of 9-1 Farm, as well as BJ Markley of Markley Family Farm and I know they all love what they do.

Knowing that I'm supporting local farmers makes the food on my table that much more special and spectacular!

Buen provecho!

Okra, Corn and Tomato Saute
The Cowgirl Gourmet adapted this recipe from Chef Scott Peacock

Print recipe

Serves 3-4

3-4 slices of bacon, good quality, uncured, nitrate-free, etc.
1 Tablespoon butter or Smart Balance
1 1/2 cups yellow onion, diced
3 cups okra, washed, trimmed and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels or freshly cut corn from the cob
1 ripe tomato (1/2 lb.), sliced into bite-sized chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove the bacon, place on a paper towel lined plate. When the bacon has cooled, crumble it and set aside.

Reheat the rendered bacon fat in the skillet, add the butter or Smart Balance and then the diced onion. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until slightly softened. Then add the okra and season well with salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

Cook the okra, stirring frequently, over moderate heat for 8 minutes or just until the okra becomes tender. Add the corn and tomatoes and season, cooking 3-4 minutes until corn is tender and tomatoes begin to make a little juice. Taste and correct season, if needed.

Serve immediately, using crumbled bacon to garnish each serving.

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