In the Kitchen with Kerri: A Garden Lunch

We’re Southern girls and although we may not sound like it anymore after living in Pennsylvania for…well, let’s not date ourselves… we still hold a special place in our heart for Southern food.  And it shows in our gardens.

This lunch came to fruition after harvesting my garden crop yesterday of summer squash, early brown crowder peas, and okra.  Kerri texted shortly after and asked if I could do lunch today, and voila, our lunch was born!

On the Menu:

Pea & Ricotta Crostini (peas from my garden, purple basil from Kerri’s – recipe by me below)

Summer Squash Souffle (inspired by The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook, squash from my garden)

Fried Okra  (inspired by Screen Doors and Sweet Tea but we added a little cayenne pepper, okra from my garden)

Blackberry Mint Julep (mint from Kerri’s garden – recipe by Kerri below)

Pea & Ricotta Crostini

1 cup of fresh peas (shelled from 10 pods) *Note:  We used young brown crowder peas, which are similar to a black-eyed pea, but any fresh peas should do!

1 small baguette

Olive oil

1/2 cup of ricotta cheese

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Salt & pepper to taste

Basil, for garnish (We used a micro purple basil from Kerri’s garden)

Preheat the broiler.  Blanch peas in boiling, salted water for one minute.  Drain and transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking.  Slice the baguette into 1/2 inch rounds.  Brush each round with olive oil and toast under broiler.  Set aside to cool.  In a food processor, blend together peas, ricotta, lemon juice and salt & pepper.  Spread the baguette slices with the ricotta/pea mixture.  Garnish with fresh basil and cracked pepper.

Blackberry Mint Julep

Makes 2 Double-Old Fashioneds

8 Blackberries

16 Mint Leaves

1 teaspoon Sugar

3-4 ounces of Bourbon  (We used Angel’s Envy Kentucky Bourbon)

Sparkling Water

In a double-old fashioned glass, muddle together 8 mint leaves, 4 blackberries, and 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar.  Fill glass with ice.  Add 1-2 ounces of bourbon and top with sparkling water.  Garnish with a mint sprig.

I must say Kerri and I were quite happy with the results.  We enjoyed our nice lunch on this gorgeous day on the screened-in porch with John Prine serenading us and sounds of the fountain trickling in the background.  And now that the work is all done, I think we’ll have another Blackberry Mint Julep!  Cheers!

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