Saturday, August 8, 2009
In my opinion, okra is one of the most misunderstood, misrepresented, and unfairly disliked vegetables. Take my friend - she grew up eating okra that is 'cooked to death' - who wouldn't even want to look at it. Well, I do understand her repulsion. A slimy, stringy texture on any food can make a lot of people uncomfortable. So I did what a good friend would do. I cooked some okra for her birthday.
I blanched some whole okra in salty boiling water. As soon as they turn to a hue of bright green, you should take them out of the pot and quickly submerge in icy water to stop the residual cooking. And then I dressed them with soy sauce and a little bit of wasabi and bonito flakes. I don't think it was a life changing event, but at least she now accepts okra as edible food.
Longer you cook it, the slimy it gets. So the key is to keep the cooking time to the minimum. Blanching is always good, so as pan sautéing. I'm sure fried okra has a good crunch, too! Just don't make it into a stew...unless you are cooking delicious gumbo.
Maybe because I wrote "...I will trade a few weeks of sleepless night with the joy of tangy & sweet juicy tomatoes"... So we got it. For the second week we are 'enjoying' the extremely humid and hot weather. But look! Tomatoes are finally getting red.
Other heat-loving fruits & vegetables - peaches, apricots, corn, okra, squash, kale, chard, green & red peppers, hot peppers - finally started showing up in the market, though the size of its pile looks tad smaller than usual. I really hope the crop will recover and we can catch up with the flavors of summer a little longer!