Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dwelling on the past...Fried Okra

As I have said before, I have discovered (through pain) that gall bladders should be taken better care of especially during pregnancy.  Gratefully, diet has been a primary relief.  At least once in our marriage, Pete requested that we have a vegetable that is *not* fried.  With the new gallbladder friendly diet, this is no longer an issue between us.

I grew up in South Carolina.  The best tasting things are those with a little breading and fried up crisp.  In honor of my roots and fondly remembering when I could enjoy fried foods with abandon, I submit to you what I call "REAL" Fried Okra.

Aside: If you are a true southerner, you pronounce the last word as /oak - ree/.  I have somewhat lessened my intensity of the pronunciation after nearly ten years of teasing by my more grammatically-correct Canadian husband.

If you have only had okra from Cracker Barrel (or equivalent), you have not truly experienced okra in all it's deliciousness. Notice that you can actually see the vegetable. This is a food that is not "battered and deep fried,"  it rather has a light flour coating and is pan fried (or baked in the oven). 

Real Fried Okra
  1. Gather a mess of fresh okra (picked small, fresh as possible)
  2. Wash well (your fingers may itch just a little if you grab one too tight near the top)
  3. With a nice sharp knife, cut into disks (maybe 1/3 inch or so) into a clean bowl (that has a tight-fitting lid)
  4. After you have a nice bowl full of (yes, somewhat slimy-feeling) sliced okra, you add the "breading"
  5. Scoop a small amount (1/2 cup or so) of flour (whole wheat of course)
  6. Shake some salt and pepper (to your taste, but more salt than pepper and use sea salt of course)
  7. Cover the bowl and shake it well so that all the sticky okra gets a light coating of the flour.
  8. Dump the bowl of okra into a hot frying pan (cast iron is a great choice) with some coconut oil in the bottom (not a ton, but enough to cover the bottom well).You can also "bake/fry" this in the oven.  Use a jellyroll pan and lightly coat the bottom with coconut oil.  You'd cook it about 375 for half an hour but stir it a couple of times for even cooking.
  9. Stir or continue to scrap with a spatula.  If it begins to stick, add a little more coconut oil.  You may do this several times while it cooks.
  10. Cook the okra until it is tender, crispy on the outside and literally melts in your mouth.

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Pregnancy update and belly picture

    Last Sunday after church I was preparing lunch.  Of course I had definitely thrown off the shoes.  So there I was...all dressed up but barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.  Pete thought that was an opportunity not to be missed.  I posed and he snapped the photo. This is the belly at the end of the second trimester.

    I saw my midwife this week. Everything is looking great with the pregnancy - even my iron levels!  The main thing I have to do is to walk.  I'm trying to walk for 30 minutes everyday.  I have been really slack on walking. It feels like I've has so many things going haywire that consistency has been tough.  I'd appreciate prayers for me to focus on getting this walk in.  Two different midwives have told me that apart from any other exercise- the absolute best indicator of an easy labor and delivery is walking.  Two miles / 30 minutes a day minimum.

    Three weeks ago I developed some gall bladder pain.  I certainly recommend being kind to your gall bladder - that pain was tough!  I had to employ my "labor mindset" once again to help get through them. Gratefully with more diet changes I had been able to more or less live pain-free (except for two bad days in the middle where I was a little too bold in my food choices).  Once the baby is born and life re-balances, I plan to try a natural cleanse.  Since that's several months out - I haven't decided which one to go for.  Anyone tried a cleanse for gall bladder issues?