Okra Two Ways

It took me a long time to find out how much I enjoyed okra!  Both growing and cooking it.  When I was growing up, Grandma and Daddy had the plants in their gardens, but I didn’t like picking it because it made my arms sting.  The only way it was ever cooked was boiled with onions and tomatoes (slimy!) or sliced, dredged in cornmeal, and crisp fried with onions.  I liked fried okra, and cooked it after I had my own family, also adding it when I made gumbo.  A truth for life applies here:  sometimes it is the thing you feel most resistance to that you learn from.  Once I started planting okra and finding the new varieties both beautiful and with leaves that didn’t sting,  I loved it for its rewarding hearty and hardy growth, its lovely blooms, and delicious harvest. the top photo is a platter of yummy okra patties, or cakes that I made this week.  this dish takes cornbread to a new level!

Okra Cakes

1 pound fresh okra, chopped fine

1 cup onion chopped fine

3 jalapenos, minced (optional)

3 Tablespoons minced garlic

3 teaspoon Tony Cachere seasoning

3 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup water

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

Heat about an inch of cooking oil in skillet.  Mix okra, onion, garlic, peppers seasonings, water, and eggs in large bowl.  In separate bowl, mix dry ingredients, combine and stir.  Drop by spoonfuls into hot oil, cook until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels and serve.

If you want a simpler, quicker way to use those beautiful pods, simply rinse whole pods, pat them dry, trim the stem off,  toss in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and spread them on a baking sheet with a sprinkle of sea salt.  Then I roast them at 425 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until they reach the level of crispness I want. Better than potato chips!  Promise!


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