Friday, November 5, 2010

Oh Okra.....

Friday is my favorite. I leave work at noon, pick up my daughter and we go together to pick up the farm share.  Then, I work from home all afternoon and think about those veggies...
Today's share is AMAZING.  When it rained earlier this week I had a good feeling and hoo-boy!, I was right.  We have kale, beet greens, lettuce, green beans, okra, green tomatoes, garlic, dill, cilantro and the list goes on.....
But I have a confession.  A horrible confession for the end of summer.  I'm done with okra - not forever, just for the season. (And based on the swap box, I'm not alone.) It's been a long, lovely summer and okra is a beautiful hardy crop.  We've had okra in our share every week, I believe, for the past 7 or 8 weeks.  I'm over it.  Last night, in fact, I made a gumbo with last week's okra.  If you need a recipe for gumbo, ask someone else. I'm from Phoenix.  I have NO business telling anyone how to make gumbo.  (Although later this month I'm pretty sure I'll post my quick and simple cheater gumbo, so there's that....)
But I do have a really, truly fantastic okra recipe up my sleeve for all of you, RIGHT NOW.  Do you think okra is slimy?  This recipe will teach you how to de-slime it!  Are you just plain sick of it?  I bet you've never had it prepared like this!
The recipe is from the book Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry.  We're not vegans, but we do love our veggies and we do love our soul food, and this book is chock full of inventive, healthy (low fat!) versions of southern classics.  I love every single thing I've made from it so far.  Seriously.
I first made this recipe the week of July 4th, at my parent's lake house, when my Aunt and Uncle were visiting with their grandkids, and we all just devoured it.  Oh, July, when I was so excited about the first lovely, fresh and exciting crop of okra......  The recipe has a couple little steps, including making a lime vinaigrette.  This is so totally worth it, even if your dad is using the blender to make margaritas (pre-limed blender!) and I don't recommend skipping it.  What I do recommend, though, is feeling comfortable subbing whatever fresh or dried herbs you have on hand. For instance, I've made the lime vinaigrette with dried oregano (in fact, almost always), and if I were making this today, I'd use the cilantro from my share.  The lime, and some herbs (plus the other ingredients), are the key.  What herbs is slightly less important.
And check this out - I found the recipe in an excerpt from the book on Amazon.  Yes!
Here is a link to the recipe - it is on pg 46! (The recipe title IS the link - click it! And below that is an embedded screen of the recipe, so you can find it.)

Crispy Okra Strips with Lime Thyme Vinaigrette





The recipe above is linked from a preview on Amazon - it seemed much more honest and "public domain-y" than just typing out the recipe.
What?  You don't have p. 167?  Conveniently, that gives me a chance to type out a recipe and see which of the two options gets me into more trouble.  I'm hoping neither!
The Multi-purpose Coating for dredging is very basic, and should be good on pretty much anything you dredge and fry or bake.
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp freshly ground white pepper (I will tell you, mine isn't "freshly ground")
1/4 tsp cayenne

And you just whisk, sift of shake it all together.  Simple enough.....

One more thing - when you are de-sliming the okra as described by the Bryant Terry, call in the kids!  Call in the neighbors!  It's so fantastically slimy and oooky and viscous.  I put the okra in a colander inside a larger bowl full of cold water, and just lift the colander out.  And all that slime - OH! - all that SLIME!  It just oozes out of the bottom of the colander.  Party trick!
Enjoy!

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