Okra

(Recipe from Jennifer at Natural Things Foods Store)

Any of you folks out there who were kids of the 1970s will be familiar with this version of a casserole. We had it at least once a week at my house! It may be old fashioned, but it is still delicious, especially if you are hungry for a bit of nostalgia. So sit back, watch some episodes of the Brady Bunch and get groovy with vegetables!

Old Fashioned Casserole

IMG_20160817_211620272_HDR

Ingredients

  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 sweet peppers, chopped
  • half a pint of fresh okra, chopped into rings
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (we used Grass Roots chicken tenders)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped, including green parts
  • 1 package butter crackers, crushed (we used Late July organic classic rich crackers)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large cast iron skillet, heat a bit of oil over medium high heat. Add onions and peppers and cook until starting to get soft. Add garlic, cooking for another minute. Add okra and tomatoes, sprinkling all with a bit of salt & pepper. Really let the tomatoes cook down and get a bit of browning on the vegetables, being careful to stir and prevent any burning.
  3. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in sour cream and cooked chicken. Dump into 9 x 13 pan and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with green onions and with cheddar cheese.
  4. Mix melted butter and crushed crackers together, then sprinkle over top of casserole.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown. Enjoy!

(Recipe from Jennifer at Natural Things Foods Store)

Instead of an Asian wok, the Southern equivalent is definitely the cast iron skillet. Cooking these summer vegetables over high heat seals in flavor, as well as staving off the slimy texture that okra can take on when cooked. Quick, flavorful, and nutritious (also vegetarian and vegan).

Stir Fry

IMG_20160810_210452244_HDR

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups very small okra pods, whole
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 3-4 small eggplants, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup cooked lentils

Instructions

  1. In a large cast iron skillet over high heat, warm 1 teaspoon oil to almost smoking. Add okra pods all at once, and cook, stirring, until they begin to brown. Add eggplant, and stir, cooking another minute. Add pepper, stirring and cooking for about 2 minutes more. Add chopped tomato and remove skillet from the heat. Squeeze the juice from half of a lemon down over the entire dish, stirring to incorporate. Add salt and pepper. Stir in the cooked lentils. Enjoy!

(Recipe from Jennifer at Natural Things Foods Store)

This recipe uses lots of delicious things that can be found at any local farmstand or farmer’s market. It is also a great way to use up leftover rice.

Farmstand Rice

cass

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 pound Grass Roots ground turkey
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 small summer squash, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pint fresh okra, thinly sliced into rings
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric root powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated mild cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, cook ground turkey over high heat until no pink remains and it is browning at the edges. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. In same skillet, add about a tablespoon oil and warm over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and starting to brown and caramelize.
  3. Add squash and okra and cook for 2 more minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until warmed through.
  4. Stir in paprika, turmeric, chili powder, and salt & pepper.
  5. Add rice and stir together. Transfer to a large casserole dish. Add ground turkey and grated cheese. Stir together to melt the cheese into the warm vegetable mixture. Enjoy!

(Recipe from Jennifer at Natural Things Foods Store)

Most Southerners will tell you they love some fried okra. Who doesn’t?! However, I find it tedious to spend time breading and frying the lot. These easy corn cakes give the same crunch and okra flavor without all of the mess. They make the perfect accompaniment for a plate of purple hull peas, too ?

 

Okra Corn Cakes

okca

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yellow corn grits (coarse corn meal is just fine here)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups sliced okra
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup milk

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine grits, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Add okra slices, and mix to completely coat each piece in the mixture.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, oil, and milk. Add to dry mixture all at once, stirring until all is just moist.
  3. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons oil. Once it is heated, drop the batter by heaping tablespoons into the skillet. Spread out slightly. Cook until golden brown, turning over carefully. Cook second side until golden and batter is cooked through. Serve with some tasty purple hull peas!

 

Storage

Store okra in a loose plastic bag in the refrigerator, and do not wash until just before use. Eat within 3-4 days for best results.

Recipes

Braised Chicken Gumbo

Stewed Okra, Onion, and Tomatoes

Okra and Red Pepper Cornbread

Okra Creole

Grilled Okra with Lemon-Basil Dipping Sauce

Pickled Okra

Preservation

Okra is best preserved by freezing or pickling. To freeze, first blanch in boiling water for three minutes and immediately place in a bowl of ice water. Leave okra whole or slice to desired size. Drain and transfer to a freezer-safe airtight container for freezing.

To pickle, follow the recipe for pickled okra above.