It’s finally starting to become fall in D.C. The leaves are changing, the weather is getting cooler and the days are getting shorter. Usually, this transition makes me long for the days of short-sleeved dresses, semi-bearable humidity and leisurely summer nights, but this year, I feel different. I am actually excited about fall.
Maybe it’s because last year in Chicago, there wasn’t really a fall. The temperatures dropped dramatically, everything froze over, and I found myself trudging through a foot of snow well before Thanksgiving. Or maybe it’s because I lived through another “real” summer that hearkened back to my youth (days so hot that my grandmother refused to leave the house, and even the swimming pool water felt lukewarm).
But over the weekend, I did some more exploring around town and I saw how things change for the better here when the weather gets cooler. There are less tourists roaming around, the pace slows down somewhat, and the buildings stand out against the sky when the sun sets. As it seems, fall brings out the best in D.C.
I came across Edible DC magazine when I was browsing a kitchen supply store near my apartment this weekend, and my eyes went straight to the recipe for roasted potatoes and okra with pistachio-feta cream. I started cooking more with okra recently, and I was intrigued by the combination of feta and pistachios for the sauce.
This is going to become one of my new go-to dishes. The potatoes and okra were spicy and tender, and the pistachio feta sauce balanced out the sumac dusted on the vegetables. Add a few chopped pistachios for texture and extra crunch and you’ll have the perfect meal for a brisk fall evening.
1 pound okra (preferably small), trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 pound small red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 tbsp ground sumac
3 oz feta, crumbled
1/4 cup toasted pistachios, plus 2 tbsp for garnish (chopped)
2 tbsp plain Greek-style yogurt
2 tbsp water, plus more as needed
Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with two large rimmed baking sheets inside. When the sheets are hot, quickly toss the okra pieces onto one sheet and the potatoes onto the other, making sure they don’t overlap. Drizzle each with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tbsp sumac, and roast until browned on the edges and tender, using a spatula to toss the pieces occasionally: about 15 to 20 minutes for okra and 20 to 25 minutes for the potatoes.
While the vegetables are roasting, make the cream: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the feta, pistachios, yogurt, water and remaining 1 tbsp olive oil, and puree until smooth, adding a little more water if the mixture is too thick.
When the vegetables are tender, transfer them to a large serving bowl, let cool slightly and toss to combine. Divide among serving plates and dollop each serving with the feta-pistachio cream and some chopped pistachios.