Okra is a beautiful plant that thrives in hot, dry weather. It has prickly leaves and beautiful long yellow flowers, that when pollinated, close and grow into tasty okra.
I planted my okra in the front yard, near the steps to the sidewalk. It gets plenty of hot sun in this area, and is thriving. Okra is ready to harvest when it is 1-1/2 to 2 inches in length.
The two okra on the top were not harvested soon enough and are too tough to eat. I will be drying them for their seeds for next summer’s okra crop.
When diced okra looks like a star with a white interior. The white interior are the seeds.
Okra has a gluey sap, that when cooked. can turn almost paste-like. This is what makes gumbo work so well – the glue from the okra. Okra was imported from Africa and Louisiana cooks quickly saw the thickener as potential for their gumbo. The definition of gumbo can vary greatly, usually it defined as: a thick stew or soup containing spices, seafood or meat, a thickener, and rice.
So I decided to make my own version of okra gumbo, hence Mommy’s Medley Okra Gumbo.
Mommy’s Medley Okra Gumbo
1. Saute 4- 5 diced okra and 1/2 a yellow onion in a couple tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes over medium heat.
2. Add 3 cloves of garlic, pressed. Saute for another 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Add 1 can stewed tomatoes with chiles and 1 can butter beans, rinsed and drained.
4. Add fresh diced garlic and oregano, season to taste. Add freshly ground pepper, season to taste.
Instead of the traditional rice with gumbo, I made cornbread. This meal is reminiscent of childhood summer meals where we based meals around what was ready for harvest in the garden. Often my dad would make cornbread to go along with our mostly vegetable meals. This was a tasty and satisfying meal, and I am sure you have noticed – no meat. 🙂
Quaker Oats Cornbread
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup shortening; melted
1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Combine milk, egg, and shortening in a bowl. Combine with dry ingredients. Beat about 1 minute, until fairly smooth.
3. Bake in greased, 8-inch square pan at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Top should be golden and toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean.