Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Okra: The Misunderstood Vegetable

Ah, okra. I think it gets a bad rap. People think it's slimy. (um, slimy doesn't have an e. weird) It isn't. People think it's only good for thickening soup. Not true. Some people, like my husband, have never heard of okra. So sad. He was born in California and moved across country to the DC area when he was 9 - and he had never seen okra until he headed South to college and saw it in Winthrop's cafeteria. For some strange reason, they always paired it with spaghetti. Maybe they got a BOGO deal on pasta and okra. At any rate, he learned to like it, but still wouldn't touch grits. His loss. Recently I made some fried okra - which reminds me of vegetarian chicken poppers - and our son Chase said, "Oh, I thought okra was an Indian vegetable." Haha, you can tell our family eats a lot of Indian food.

So then I had an okra epiphany. I had some fresh okra and tomatoes from the garden and was wondering what I could make and I happened to turn on Food Network. Who should I see but Paula Deen and one of her sons? I can never remember which son is which, but it was one of them. Guess what they were making? Paula Deen's Mama's Okra and Tomatoes! And I had all the ingredients - see, an epiphany! (Don't ask me how I first pronounced that when I became an Episcopalian.)

I spent this morning making it and it is worth making, yum! Here's how, so easy once you have everything cut up:

The okra, onions, red and green peppers (from our backyard garden), and garlic, all chopped up and ready for the party:

Seeing that it's Paula Deen's recipe, there's some bacon and a little butter. That's a given, right?

Once the bacon is cooked and veggies are translucent, you add some seasonings and then the okra and...


Then you cook it for about 30 minutes. Okra is so cool once it's sliced. Brianna says it's spoke-like, but it reminds me of Geometry. Okra: The Geometric Veggie

Here it is on its bed of basmati rice. Basmati rice is our favorite, so fragrant and flavorful - time to head back to the Indian grocery store in Greenville, since I used the last of it tonight. Maybe this did turn out to be an Indian meal after all, Chase! (Sorry about the blurry picture. I was in too big a hurry to eat.)

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