Thursday, November 11, 2010

Grow it, Cook it - Okra!

Like many of you, I'm sure, the crazy hail storm of 2010 destroyed my garden.  Yes, DESTROYED.  
But every storm reveals a silver lining...
A week before the storm I luckily picked all the okra from my plants (yea me!).  It actually took around 10 days for a nice batch (2 fruit one day, 3 fruit the next...).  Having only 3 plants, I would harvest each okra at about 4"-6"inches, before they got too firm and woody. 
(4th and final okra harvest of 2010) 
First thing to working with okra in the kitchen, DON'T WASH IT until you're ready to eat it.  It can get slimy if you wash it and store it.  I keep it in a plastic bag in the fridge until I'm ready (or have enough) to cook it up.  It can keep for 7-10days.  
My favorite way to cook okra is browned it the skillet (Southern Cali style).  It's my modification on the traditional deep fried okra (plain ol' Southern style).   
 Slice up the okra about a quarter to half an inch thick (toss the stems and tips into the compost).  Throw it all in a bowl with a lid. 
Give the okra a quick splash of [olive] oil then sprinkle in your favorite seasonings and some breading.  (We make out own bread crumbs using Bianco bread and Trader Joe's multi-grain bread.)  In the bowl, pop on the lid and do the ol' shake'n'bake dance til the okra is well coated.
Heat up a skillet to with 2-3 tablespoons of oil, add in the okra then cover.  Cook for about 12-15 minutes, flip/toss occasionally to keep from sticking or burning, and taste for texture (not firm but not all mushy either).
(Good ol' cast iron - Grandma would be proud.)
 We usually enjoy okra with chicken and sweet potatoes; or with salmon, mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy (shown below).  
 (uh, yum!)