Coast Cooking

Coast Cooking: Love your veggies

I was looking at Marcella Hazan's timeless cookbook, “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking,” the other day, and was taken by her love for fresh vegetables. So, we’ll focus this week’s blog entries on vegetables, OK?

Now let's be clear on something right up front. Vegetables that you buy at the big box store are not necessarily fresh. 

More often than not, they are picked green, so they have the required two week shelf life. 

Many vegetables develop their intense flavor in the last few weeks on the vine or bush, lazing around in the hot sun. 

Picked early, they fail to measure up. Just remember this simple rule for fruits and vegetables; they taste what they smell like. 

One of my favorite combinations is okra and tomatoes. They can be stewed together, sautéed as a base, or for a real treat, served as a salad. Here's how.


12 good-sized okra pods

4-5 good size heirloom tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped onion

Cubed white cheddar cheese

Olive oil

Rough chop the tomatoes into big bite sizes, chop the onions into small cubes, slice the okra in half, and then cut the cheese into nice cubes as well. Add a little oil to a sauté pan, and grill the okra until just tender. Now combine everything, anoint with olive oil and serve at room temp, or slightly chilled.