Monday, July 28, 2014

Icky Okra

I'm from up north, y'all. But do I try to adjust to southern ways and do things with southern charm? You betcha! I mean ... Yes, ma'am!

Take okra. Please! Take okra!! No one seems to really love it, but everyone plants a ton of it in the garden and then tries to give it away to the neighbors. I had never had okra before coming to the farm and I haven't had much since then. It's just so dang slimy!

However, my lovely mother-in-law has shown me a good and easy way to cook the stuff. Yes, it's a little slimy while you're cutting it, but at least it isn't slimy when you put the finished product in your mouth.

Are you getting excited or simply trying not to gag? This is a "wing it" recipe, by the way. I usually need to have exact measurements, so if I can do this, you can too! Here we go.

Fried Taters and Okra
Ingredients: butter, onion, potatoes, okra, salt & pepper, corn meal

Start by choosing your frying pan. That will determine how many potatoes and slimy green veggies you'll need. Chop your onion, cube the potatoes, and slice the okra into rounds. I suggest you use at least twice as much potatoes as okra, but that's just me.
Toss a hunk of butter in the frying pan and throw in the onion and potatoes. Fry until the potatoes just begin to get soft. You can put a lid on it to speed up the process. Then add those charming little okra (okras?). Add salt and pepper, or get creative with some additional spices. I don't care.
If you want to use precooked potatoes, simply fry the okra and onion first and then add the cooked potatoes. Either way, once everything is in the pan, if it's looking a little dry, add some more butter and continue frying until everything is cooked and sizzling nicely.

Next step, sprinkle yellow corn meal over the whole works. Stir. Repeat. The potatoes and okra should have a nice coating of corn meal, but there shouldn't be excess piles of corn meal sitting in the bottom of the frying pan.
Continue to fry until everything looks delightfully browned. Dish it up and holler, "Come and get it!"
By gully, that's good eatin'!

(This post may look strangely familiar to some of you. That's because I originally shared this recipe on my "Piece o' Cake" blog in September of 2012. However, I made Fried Taters and Okra for supper tonight and just knew you'd want the recipe. You're welcome.)

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Life Is Like a Box of Chocolates

Forrest Gump made a valid point and it was a good movie, but I had my own revelation this morning.

(We interrupt this blog to share a startling truth. The author wrote the title for this post and the first line, which you just read. She then went to the kitchen to eat breakfast, opened the Parade magazine, and the very first line her eyes happened upon was, "Is anything special planned for Forrest Gump's 20th anniversary?" Today, July 6, is the 20th anniversary of the film! And, without knowing that fact, the author chose this very day to make a comment about Forrest Gump? That is so strange and weird and crazy. Not that it matters or means anything, but still.... We now return you to the blog.)

Forrest Gump made a valid point and it was a good movie, but I had my own revelation this morning: Life Is Like Picking Raspberries. Actually, my first thought was Bible study is like picking raspberries. Then I expanded the idea to maybe all study is like picking raspberries. And finally, voila! LIFE is like picking raspberries!

Here's how picking raspberries works. You have an empty container in hand and methodically head in one direction around and through the patch, picking every berry in sight. Perfect! You now have quite a few raspberries in your bowl.
When you turn around, congratulating yourself on a job well done, you are amazed to see some berries hanging right there in front of your eyes. "How did I miss these beauties?" So you retrace your steps, now going in the opposite direction, and you find almost as many berries as you picked on your first pass. Ahh. Life is good.
You could go home now, but if you want to make sure you get all the berries, you have to make one more trip around. This time you'll look underneath the leaves, squatting down for a new point of view and lifting up individual branches to discover more hidden berries. Yum!
No more berries here, right?
Wrong! These were hiding under the leaves.
To get the most berries, this same routine has to be repeated at least every other day. Yes, it's time consuming, but if you like raspberries nearly as much as I do, you'll find it's totally worth the effort.

Who knew there could be so many more raspberries than I gathered on my first trip through the patch? Who knew that every day (or every other day), there is more wisdom and beauty to be discovered? Who knew that every year can reveal so much more than I first understood or imagined?

Life is like a box of chocolates. Life is like picking raspberries. I think I have discovered the ideal: Pick raspberries, then sit down and enjoy them with a box of chocolates. Or, like I did the other day, make a fresh raspberry pie in a chocolate-coated crumb crust.
Ahh. Life is good!