Caramelized fennel, leek and orange; the farro again; jury duty

Friends, I do not want to go to jury duty tomorrow. I simply don't. I love to vote, am committed to community involvement and so forth and so on, but jury duty does not float my boat. In the least. Ah well. I did a great deal of cooking today which was a lovely way to spend much of Monday: smothered okra for lunch; caramelized fennel, leek and orange; the fab farro salad again... I also seem to have the dessert-craving tapeworm again so sprung for a jelly-filled, powdered-sugar-dusted beignet at Whole Foods, the best of their bakery goods (in the context of those that are good because many are not). It was, as always, fantastic.

Nanny and Mom often made smothered okra when I was growing up. I am an enormous, enthusiastic fan of okra except in gumbo where I truly believe it has no place. #honesty

Anyway, smothered okra is one of those crazy-simple, crazy-good comforting home foods that makes me happy. I hadn't thought about it in ages, but when I took the boys to Louisiana in August, Mom had just made a huge batch with a bushel of Louisiana longhorn okra some friends had grown and given her. I swear I ate 90% of the batch and have been craving more ever since.

Today at the market, I saw some decent okra. At $6 a pound I didn't get more than would feed me, but it made such a sublime lunch. I sat in silence, on a stool at my counter, breathing in the scent of long- and slowly-cooked okra in bacon fat. I wondered why on earth I gave up bacon for so long. I marveled anew at how good something with two ingredients -three if you count salt- can be. And I thought of home.