steak, micro radish; okra, chili, breadcrumbs; peppers, basil


The steak was familiar, even to the topping, and so was the okra, even if these were the smallest I had ever cooked, or seen, for that matter. The sweet peppers looked only a little like any I had seen before, and they were definitely smaller than any I had cooked until last night.

I bought the okra because this scant handful was all that was left in the plastic basket in the farm stall; they looked lonely and they were cute.

The peppers, I was assured by the farmer, Chris Field, were not spicy; I love peppers in any form, and I decided these tiny ones could also liven up a meal with their color. I never suspected that they would have a very distinctive flavor, and that they would almost pop inside the mouth, both properties a bit like the South African ‘Peppedew‘.  While talking to Chris at his stand on Saturday, I forgot to ask what they are called, but I may have found an answer while looking on line today: the name may be ‘Little-Beak Peppers’, or ‘Pimenta Biquinho’.

I didn’t think I would be serving the little okra and peppers together (way too cute), but that’s what happened when I lined up the alternatives for 3 meals this weekend.

Yeah, it was pretty cute.

  • two very juicy tri-tip steaks (each just under 7 ounces) from Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, brought to room temperature, dried and sprinkled generously with freshly-ground tellicherry pepper on both sides, pan-grilled for a few minutes, turning twice (sprinkling them with sea salt the first and second times they were turned), removed to 2 plates, a little lemon juice squeezed on top, drizzled with olive oil, purple micro radish from Two Guy From Woodbridge sprinkled over the top
  • barely a handful of tiny okra from Norwich Meadows Farm, sautéed over a high flame in a cast iron pan with a little olive oil and a good part of one small red Calabrian pepper from Campo Rosso Farm, seasoned with sea salt, divided onto the 2 plates, scattered with homemade breadcrumbs (browned a little earlier in a little olive oil with a pinch of salt)
  • tiny red and yellow peppers (not at all spicy hot) from Campo Rosso Farm, sautéed a few minutes inside a copper skillet with a little olive oil, ending with a very small amount of balsamic vinegar, seasoned with salt and pepper, torn basil leaves mixed in, as they finished cooking
  • the wine was a California (Clarksburg) red, Karen Birmingham Petite Sirah Clarksburg 2014
  • the music was that of Hanns Eisler and Paul Dessau, from the album, ‘Nova – Sinfonik In Der Ddr – East German Symphonies’, the day being American ‘Labor Day’, and, although “..officially held in highest esteem, [these 2 East German composers] both challenged the regime artistically.” [excerpted from the album notes – Ed.]