Occasionally, I like to play a game I call refrigerator roulette. It goes like this:

  • I get busy at work and forget to plan a meal (oops).
  • I learn that my stepdaughter or some other guest of honor is going to be dining at Fort Kale.
  • Hoping to save said guest and Mr. Kale from a convenience meal of spaghetti or Totino’s Pizza, I cook, limiting myself to whatever I can find in the refrigerator at that moment.

Tonight, the stars were shining on Fort Kale, because the refrigerator contained a cornucopia of vegetables, which I could happily combine to yield a simple, southern comfort meal of:

  • Roasted Corn on the Cob
  • Mashed Yams and Butternut Squash
  • Tangy Garlicky Greens
  • Fried Okra

The recipes were as follows (SUPER thanks to Nishta and Jill over at Blue Jean Gourmet for the okra guidance):

1. Roasted Corn on the Cob


  • corn on the cob (3-5 ears)
  • vegan margarine (e.g., Earth Balance)
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground black (or mixed) peppercorns


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

raw vegetables

contents of fort kale's fridge

Shuck and wash corn. Spread margarine across each ear. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap ears individually in aluminum foil. Place wrapped ears on floor of oven. Cook for 35-40 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time (note: these can be prepared in advance and cooked concurrently with mashed yams/squash below).

2. Mashed Yams and Butternut Squash


  • 2 medium yams
  • 2 small-to-medium butternut squash
  • 3 Tbsp vegan margarine, melted
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c soy milk (or other milk substitute)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.


i will mash you.

Peel yams and squash. Slice squash in half and scoop out seeds. Cut both yams and squash into 1 inch cubes and combine in a large bowl. Mix remaining ingredients together and toss with yam/squash cubes. Pour mixture into a 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with additional salt/pepper to taste. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, turning/stirring halfway through cooking time (note: can be baked concurrently with corn on the cob). When vegetable cubes are completely soft, but not yet browned, remove pan from oven and pour vegetable mixture into its original bowl. Mash with a potato masher and serve while still hot.

3. Tangy Garlicky Greens


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium bunch greens (e.g., swiss chard, spinach, mustard, kale), sliced into 1″ strips
  • 6-8 full sorrel leaves, torn into pieces (or substitute zest of 1/2 lemon or orange)



green + leafy=good

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, until slightly translucent. Add garlic, greens, and sorrel. Stir fry until leaves turn a bright green color. Remove from heat immediately and serve with other dishes.

4. Fried Okra


  • 2 pounds okra
  • 1/2 c soy milk (or comparable milk substitute)
  • freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 c whole wheat flour
  • vegetable oil


Slice okra into 1-inch segments, composting heads and tails. In a large bowl, toss okra with soy milk and salt & pepper until coated. Sprinkle okra with flour and use a large spoon to toss/coat until completely dry.


hello, little okra.

Cover bottom of a large skillet with 1/4 inch vegetable oil. Heat oil over medium-high heat until it pops when a droplet of water is added. Use a slotted metal spoon to drop okra into skillet (carefully). Fry for 1-2 minutes, without stirring, until bottoms of okra are browned. Turn carefully and fry for another 1-2 minutes, until okra are completely golden brown. Use slotted spoon to scoop okra out into paper-towel-lined bowl. Allow to cool and drain before serving with corn, yams/squash, and greens. And salad. Don’t forget the salad.

greens, corn, and yams

platter o' goodness

yams and okra