Cooking makes me happy. Having a lot of vegetables to cook up and eat, with extra to freeze, makes me especially content. B. plays various fun R&B tunes at the computer, and I bounce around the kitchen chopping and singing along with James Taylor or Eva Cassidy, clapping sometimes when I put down the dishtowel or knife on my way to open the fridge or oven.
On the way home through the fertile Central Valley last week I bought some okra, not having a plan for it, and this week I happened to see this recipe for Green Gumbo, which I made with deviations from the letter, but keeping the spirit. How could I go wrong with all those favorite ingredients like kale and okra, sausage and bacon? We ate it on rice as suggested, with corn on the cob alongside.
The picture shows it the first time I stirred the stew, after an hour or so. When I opened the oven and took the lid off the pot, the aroma skipped quickly on the evening breeze across the room to B., who cried out in a swoon. Normally this recipe takes three hours in the oven, but this time it was done in two hours flat; must have been the new convection oven.
Turkish Green Beans come out surprisingly and deliciously intact even though they are cooked in a pressure cooker for 18 minutes. It is probably the generous amount of olive oil that helps them keep their integrity, while tomato, garlic and hot pepper add to the flavor.
I'm sorry to say that the store-bought green beans, young and thin as they always seem to come these days, did not turn out as well as my homegrown pickings. I guess even the additions to the pot can't overcome the blandness of those wimpy beans. I put half the recipe in the freezer right away, because their flavor and texture are just as nice after being set by frozen for a few months.
Right now I just want to get this post up, so the recipes will have to come later, and also will be included when I create a page on my blog -- soon, I hope -- where I can link to all of the recipes I've ever shared, including these beans and ratatouille. There are a few that I haven't written down anywhere else, and I need the reference at least for myself, so I can know whether I've already written about a particular dish, and also to remember how to make some of them that were sudden inspirations.