summer succotash: okra, corn, chickpeas, lentils, and eggplant

I have so many things I want to tell you right now.

First of all, something happened a few weeks ago but I have not shared it with you yet. Michael and I moved. This wasn't just an around the corner kind of move, this was a major move to another city, to another state.

NYC. Yep, another big life change us, because we did not have enough big life changes going on this year. However, this change seemed to bring everything together. Completed us ... well, for now at least. 

And now that we are (new) new yorkers, I feel it is suiting that I share this next story with you. A funny accident that happened two days ago. Something that has probably happened to every new yorker at least once or twice ... at least that's what I've been telling myself. 

Michael and I took Bayley for his late night walk and forgot our keys. Both of us. We have no doorman. 

As an ex-country folk, we are not used to carrying our keys around everywhere we go. We always would leave the door open, or the keys under the mat. If you've ever lived in the suburbs, you know that drill. We are also not used to leaving the house (or apartment in this case) to walk the dog late at night. That's what backyards are for.

So we did what you do when you lock yourself out at 11:30PM, and we called a locksmith. Once the locksmith broke the news that our door was officially unbreak-in-able, we marched ourselves to the nearest dog-friendly hotel, checked in, turned on the olympic highlights and had a big laugh. It was definitely bonding moment for our little family.  

It is that kind of night that you remember forever, and hopefully from now on we'll also always remember that as long as we live in NYC without a doorman at least one of us needs to bring a key when we walk the dog. 

The last thing that I want to share with you is my obsession for succotash. Some people might call it a bean salad, or an everything but the kitchen sink dish, however, I love the word succotash. It efficiently describes a dish that is made up of corn and some kind of bean (usually a shelling bean, but any bean will do) along with other vegetables of your choice to create a main or hearty side dish. 

I'm always experimenting with different succotash combinations, especially in the summer when the corn is ripe, sweet, and so so good. I was recently reinspired by a succotash by love and lemons, and after a trip to the union square greenmarket I came up with my own unlikely combination of okra, lentil, eggplant, corn, and chickpeas. It was so was so good, I made it again, and again.  I hope it will inspire you to do the same. 

summer succotash

serves
2 as a main, 4 as a side dish

ingredients

1 cup of chickpeas (cooked, or organic canned)
1 cup of french green lentils (lightly cooked so they are al dente)
2 ears of corn (shucked)
2 cups of okra, sliced thin
2 cups of eggplant (preferably japanese, but any kind will do), diced
grapeseed oil (or another high-heat oil)

for the dressing:

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
salt & pepper to taste 

directions

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil (for the corn). While you are waiting for the water to boil, make your dressing. Combine the ingredients and whisk until they are combined. Set aside. 
  • When the water comes to a boil, add the ears of corn. Cook the corn until it is fork tender (around 15-20 mins). Remove and set aside while it cools. 
  • While your corn is cooking, you are going to sautee the okra and eggplant. Start with the okra. (note: follow these directions exactly, otherwise your okra might come out with a gummy texture). Place a pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon or two of the grapeseed oil.  Allow the oil to heat up so when you add the okra to the pan it sizzles. Test it before you add all of the okra.  This is a crucial part because you want to cook the okra for the shortest amount of time to keep it from gumming up, and having a hot pan decreases the cook time. When the pan is ready, add the okra and sautee for a few minutes until it starts to brown. As soon as it browns, remove immediately and set aside.  
  • Add the eggplant to the same pan and sautee for 10-15 minutes until it is brown and soft. Remove and set aside with the okra. 
  • Once the corn has cooled down, slice kernels off the cob.
  • Then, in a large bowl combine all of the ingredients: lentils, chickpeas, corn, okra, eggplant, and toss with the dressing. 
  • Serve warm, or cold. This dish makes great leftovers and will keep for a couple of days in the fridge. 

enjoy.