Is anyone as excited as I am about it being okra season? I have to admit, I'd actually never had okra until just a few days ago and now you can safely call me an okra enthusiast. You probably could have safely called me an okra enthusiast before a few days ago, but I would have likely just responded with a blank stare (or a slap on the wrist, if I was in a mood).
In the last 72 hours, give or take, I've gone from on of those who turns their nose up at okra because someone said it was slimy (or mucilaginous as Wikipedia likes to say), to researching recipes, scouring farmer's market for the freshest okra I can find, and as you may have guessed, reading about it on Wikipedia. In other words, I'm way into okra right now.
Yes, it is true- okra can release a white, slimy, unappetizing goo, but that goo can be put to goo-d use (Corny alert!). The slime can be used to thicken stews or gumbo and is actually very good for you as it is a valuable source of insoluble fiber. Okra, itself, is very nutritious, being a calcium-potassium-folate-antioxidant-vitamin C packed pod. If you are still unconvinced to jump on the okra bandwagon, take a look at this recipe.
Imagine an okra pod, with a crisp, slightly browned outer shell. When you bite into it, you are not met with goo, but with a soft creamy texture, similar to roasted zucchini. It has a rich, smoky, very distinctive taste that is all its own. The trick to this is roasting the okra pods and the result is extremely addictive. You could eat them as finger food, just like you would french fries, but I took it a step further.
I decided to mix them in with some roasted patty pan squash (though zucchini or another summer squash would work just as well), black-eyed peas, fire-roasted tomatoes, cilantro, and farro. The variety of ingredients turned this bowl into an explosion of smoky, creamy, nutty, and savory textures. It was the best thing since sliced okra. Just like the first time I heard a Flight of The Conchords song, I was instantly hooked and couldn't wait for my next fix. Thank goodness for the leftovers that tided me over until I could go to the
okra enthusiast store farmer's market and stock up.
- 1/2 lb okra, tops trimmed with out cutting open the pod
- 3-4 cups patty pan chunks (or other type of squash)
- olive oil spray
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup farro, rinsed
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon green chiles (from a can)
- 1 15 oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 15 oz can of black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 450. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Spread the squash chunks one baking sheet and the okra on the other baking sheet. Lightly spray both sheets with olive oil spray and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss to thoroughly coat both the squash and the okra. Place in the heated oven and roast for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through to cook evenly. The squash may need to stay in the oven for 5 more minutes.
- Once the okra and squash are in the oven, start cooking your farro. Place your rinsed farro in a pot with the water and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, lower to a simmer and cover the pot partially. Cook until there is no more water, about 15-20 minutes.
- While the farro is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large, shallow saucepan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute before adding the onion. Saute the until the onion is translucent. Add the green chiles, tomatoes and spices and mix to combine. Add the black-eyed peas and corn and mix to combine. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Once the okra and squash are done roasting, and the farro is done cooking, add them all to the black-eyed pea mixture, and mix to combine. Serve immediately while hot. Enjoy!
Several days ago, I received many requests to know how exactly Chris, my husband, got himself arrested at Disneyland by the Disney Police. I honestly didn't think that statement would cause such a stir, but since it has, I am going to use an idea Cadry suggested and create a little contest: To enter, just leave a comment below describing the story for how you imagine he got arrested. Chris and I will pick the best/most creative story and possibly put together a little prize for the winner (in other words, I haven't figured that part out yet) and let you know the true story. We will be choosing the winner this Sunday, 9/16/12, and revealing the winning story on Monday, 9/17/12. Have fun!
Photography by Chris Miller
Ha! For some reason I'm totally okay with the sliminess of an eggplant, but the one time I had okra (recently), I got it down, but it was a little bit too slimy, even for me. Maybe roasting it like you do will help....
You always have a way to make everything look like it tastes good!
Gulp. Your post makes me slightly tempted to try okra (my only other prior experience was via Campbell's Soup). The roasting sure makes it LOOK good! The funny thing is, okra is HUGE in Oklahoma. Everyone grows it in their gardens - and I've never once tried it!
Roasting the okra really takes it to another level. I think you might need to snag some from one of your neighbor's gardens! 😉
We actually love okra in our house! It's one of the few veggies that my 2.5 year old will actually eat without any coaxing.
As for your husband, I'm guessing Mickey Mouse repeatedly ignored your husband's multiple requests for hugs and your husband couldn't take it anymore and had himself a tantrum. This sent the other visitors into a panic and your husband was arrested until he calmed down. He was then forced to apologize to Mickey, but still never got that hug and now has a restraining order against him.
Wow! Your 2.5 year old is awesome! I bet he or she is going to be a very good veggie eater when they get older!
Good story! I can't wait for Chris to read all of these when he gets home later! 🙂
i've had okra once before, and i was indifferent about it. i used the frozen stuff and had it in a thick tomato stew. apparently i need to get my hands on the real thing and make this dish asap..
how did chris get arrested in disneyland? i have a thought:
chris made reservations to steakhouse 55, a popular and fairly expensive restaurant located in the disneyland hotel. he arrived and promptly ordered a steak. when the steak arrived at the table, he replaced it with a plastic Mickey Mouse figurine that he had previously melted slightly in the microwave before arriving. then, he covered Mickey in ketchup(blood), grabbed his plate, and ran around showing everyone while screaming "OH MY GOD THEY KILLED MICKEY!!" he upset and disturbed everyone so much, the police had to be called and he was promptly arrested.
am i right? i think i am.
Oh, I second that story, or one that involved something in the nude....
Should I just say that your version is Caitlin's story, but just in the nude? 😉
Hahaha! What a detailed story, Caitlin! I love how much thought you put into it- Can't wait to show Chris!
I've never had frozen okra before but me thinks that the fresh stuff is probably better. 🙂
This dish looks so beautiful! I've only ever had okra when visiting my southern family and it is always fried. I don't even think I know what it really tastes like! I may have to give okra another chance now. 🙂
Arrested at Disneyland!? Hmmm I am thinking he thought he found some super awesome shortcut to the front of the line of a ride, but it turned out to be an off-limits area only for the actors. OR he accidentally wandered into a little kids birthday party and found a huge stash of some "free" food?
(Sorry Chris - this is just stuff I could see my own husband totally doing!)
Thank you, Melissa! Great entry too! 🙂
Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack!
I've only had okra in the vegan Gumbo at Disneyland (which I HIGHLY recommend), so this looks super appetizing! My grill is malfunctioning right now, do you think that oven roasting would work?
As far as your husband getting "arrested" at Disneyland goes, something tells me that he either wouldn't stop taking pictures inside of the rides or he went gallivanting in a fountain or small body of water inside the park. ha ha!
Vegan gumbo at Disneyland?! I figured I would have to be packing a lunch if we decided to go- good tip! I don't have a grill so I actually did oven-roast it. It doesn't take long at all!
I love your entry! Trying to picture Chris in a fountain is just too funny! 🙂
Yes, the vegetarian gumbo bread bowl in New Orleans Square (near the exit to Pirates) is vegan except for the crackers that come with it. Like Jackie, it's one of my favorite vegan options at the park. Other choices - sometimes they'll make a cheeseless pizza or slice for you at Redd Rockett's in Tomorrowland, but it depends on the chef. If they'll do it, it's good stuff and the best meal there. The vegan option at Blue Bayou (inside of Pirates) is a grilled portobello, and let's just say that I won't be getting any postcards from you that week. 🙂
Wow! That's good to know! If we have the twins, I know they would choose the pizza over the gumbo, so it's good to know it's there. And speaking of postcards, I meant to send you one about Rahel but I was too stuffed! 🙂
Thanks for another okra recipe! I'm super excited to try this (must wait until okra-enthusiast day, which is Sunday in these parts...)
So that's when okra-enthusiast day is! I need to get on that! Enjoy the recipe! 🙂
I didn't know it was okra season! Not sure if I've ever actually had it but you make it sounds pretty tasty. Perhaps I'll check out the farmers markets... Looks delicious.
Thanks! It's totally worth giving a try! Enjoy@ 🙂
Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy
wow that dish is seriously stunning! i've never had okra, and now i really REALLY want to!! 🙂
Thanks Caralyn! You really need to give it a try- especially roasted. It's so good! 🙂
Gabby @ the veggie nook
Just beautiful Kristy! I've never had okra before- always seemed like such a pain to cook but looks like I'm going to have to eat my words on that one. Your creativity always blows me away!
Oh Flight of the Conchords...I should have known you would love them too 🙂
Thanks, Gabby! Your kind words always bring the biggest smile to my face.
And I concur- I should have known you'd be a FOTC fan! 🙂
So many things to say! First, I thought that the sliminess of okra was bad enough but mucilaginous? That's so much worse! 🙂 On your suggestion, I bought okra at the farmers market last night. (Only $1 for a big container of it! Nice!) I'm planning on making your recipe for dinner tonight. Can't wait!
Next, I totally LOOOOOVE Flight of the Conchords. I'm hoping against hope that someday they'll decide to do a film version. Wouldn't that be great? Two seasons just wasn't enough. David and I saw them at the Greek a few years ago in LA, and they put on one of my favorite concerts ever.
Finally, I'm so happy you've decided to do a contest! I'm getting a kick out of all of the stories. Hilarious! And of course, I'm eager to hear the true version on Monday. Here's my version of what happened:
Chris was having one of those days at Disneyland. The lines to meet Mickey were too long. He discovered that the churros weren't vegan. And to top it off, just that day the TSA ruled that it was a flight risk for Tinkerbell to soar across the sky with her magic wand. Well, this put Chris on a rampage. He decided he was going to take aim at the thing Disney holds most dear. (No, not money. The other M word - magic.)
First, he called a cab for the hitchhiking ghosts. We'll never see those guys again, in two way mirrors or anywhere. He ran to Space Mountain and turned on the lights. Then he did the most dastardly deed ever done at Disneyland... He quietly stood in line at the Haunted Mansion, and then just as everyone was dragging their bodies to the dead center of the room he screamed loudly and proudly so that all could hear, "It's an elevator, everyone!! It's just an elevator!!" Those who were working at Disneyland that day still tell stories about it... They call it the day that Chris massacred the magic.
i go with cadrys story;))
put me in the team who dislikes the slimy okra. though we do eat, scract that hubbs eats a lot of okra.. so we make a side stir fry quite often:) his current fave is chickpea flour encrusted spicy okra. he loves a big bowl of salad more than the usual food these days.. so i can make this bowl for him and a minus okra bowl for me:)
More okra for hubbs! I like it! 🙂 And the chickpea flour encrusted okra- do you have this recipe on your site? Sounds awesome!!!
OH MY GOSH! I need that in my belly now! Oh heavens, I'm craving okra real bad now. 🙂
That's a great deal for okra! I hope you like it!
I too have been secretly hoping for a FOTC movie. Chris and I have a game where he says one line from a song, then I say the next and it goes back and forth. This goes on while we're just working on our computers or driving or at the grocery store. Anytime really. I would love to see them in concert too. The last time they were in town, they played the Hollywood Bowl the same day as my cousin's wedding. We were so tempted to check out early and drive across town, but I never would have heard the end of it. I bet it was awesome seeing them at the Greek- that's a fun venue. We saw Tom Jones there and had a blast.
Thank you for the idea for a contest! And that story- The day Chris massacred the magic! I love it! It is going to be awfully anticlimactic when I reveal the real story as well... 😉
Oh, that would have been a big temptation, but it's probably for the best that you stayed at the wedding! 🙂
Isn't Tom Jones AWESOME in concert?! We saw him at the Grove of Anaheim and then at the Hollywood Bowl. I would be thrilled to see him again; he puts on a great show. Before he retires, I'd really like to see him perform in Vegas.
Oh, to see Tom Jones in Vegas- now that would be incredible!!!
Oh, to see Tom Jones in Vegas- now that would be AWESOME!
*hehehe* What a fun contest! 🙂
I've not yet tried okra to be honest. I've yet to find it in stores here. Maybe I'll find some at the farmer's market this weekend.
ps. Flight of the Conchords are AWESOME 🙂
Courtney, you've got to try it! When it's roasted, it's sooooo good!
p.s. YES! They most certainly are! I love those guys! 🙂
or maybe chris just got tired waiting in one of the really long lines and told all the kids the mickey isnt real! gasp!:)
Great entry, Richa! Thanks for playing along!
There once was a guy named Chris
who got the Disney cops pissed
They threw him in jail
and his wife got him bailed
but the whole story is truly a dish
I know what you're thinking...
but only DCA has drinking!
he made some kids cry?
he said the Peter Pan boats don't actually fly?
Maybe he stole some great loot
like The Witch's apple or Buzz's Andy-marked boot
Did he sneak backstage?
it puts Cast Members in a rage!
The truth is Chris thought it'd be extremely funny
To ask every single person he met "Where the heck is BUGS BUNNY?!??!"
Oh my goodness! I swear- do you know Chris? This isn't how he did himself in, but good lord that sounds like something he would do (the Bugs Bunny part)! Thank you for your submission and the good laugh it gave me. 🙂
Haha, that's too funny! I must say, I'm very curious about what he did... I used to be a Cast Member, and it wasn't every day the Disney police took someone in!!
Yum! I love patty pan squash, but I've never had okra...you've convinced me to give it a go! Thank you for sharing the recipe!
Oh yay! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
Just so you know, farro is not gluten free
I am aware that farro is not gluten-free. I don't think I made any claim that it was, and if I did, I apologize.
Oh yummy! I became an okra enthusiast after making Isa's Okra Gumbo on the PPK site!
Thanks, Melissa! Isa's recipe is still on my (VERY LONG) list of things to try!
Do you think This would freeze okay? I have a ton of okra and wanted to double the recipe