okra and great nephew

Congrat’s to my great nephew Sean. Just finished 7th grade with top grades and an incredible SAT score. It was so good that he was awarded a recognition medal from Duke University. Very impressive Sean. I knew Sean was exceptionally bright when he was really young and could pronounce the names of dinosaurs that most of us just knew as big ole nasty lizards and was reading Harry Potter when he was 5 or something like that. Maybe 7 but really young. I didn’t truly believe it when he was telling me but when I quizzed him, sure enough he knew all the right answers.

Things are popping in Pierson. We now have 2 Dollar stores, a Chinese restaurant and a Pizza place. Let me clarify; there’s a place you can get something resembling Chinese food and a place that serves something approximating pizza. There was a soul food place and a family style restaurant but both of those cratered after a year or so.

If you like a vinaigrette type salad dressing, I’ve found the dressing to beat all dressings. We had dinner the other night at a friend’s house and she had this particular dressing. One taste and I was totally hooked. I can honestly say I’ve never had a better salad dressing or one that appeals to my tastes like this one. The only place that carries it around here is Fresh Market which luckily was only a mile or so away from where we were visiting. We stopped on the way home and picked up a couple of bottles. Five days later we were opening the second bottle and I realized that living 60 miles from the source was a problem. So I went on line, got a phone number, and 5 minutes later had a case of 12 bottles heading here. The brand is “Garlic Expressions”. The web site is garlic-expressions.com. The big difference I notice, aside from the great flavor, is that it’s not as oily or thick and gooey as most brands.

One of the crops out of the garden that I grow only to fill out space is okra. It seems to be able to deal with our heat when most other stuff is wilting away. Other than jambalya or deep frying what do you do with okra? oh, yeah, mix with tomatoes and serve over rice. That’s ok. But it doesn’t fit in the diet plans like beans or corn. Still, I wanted to try to do something with it. So I decided to grill it or roast it in a hot oven the same way we’ve done with asparagus and broccoli. I coat them with olive oil, salt and pepper and then grill/roast for 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Got the grill hot and then walked over to the garden to pick a handful of okra. First surprise is that ants like okra too. Not sure if they were fire ants but they were tiny and bit like fire. Get gloves, come back and continue picking. I washed off the ants, prepared as described, and popped them in the Holland grill along with the pork loin that was nearing completion. Took everything off the grill in 20 minutes and dug in. Turns out that cooking the okra was a bit different than the other veggies. Those that were under 3” were great. I mean really good. The bigger ones were like eating branches. I tried it again and increased the cooking time from 15 minutes to 25. Same result – small ones are great, big ones totally inedible. So one more try. This time I picked 3 sizes; small, medium and large. I boiled the medium ones for 5 minutes; the large ones for 10 and then put them all on the grill/oven for 20 minutes. Results – basically no change. The small ones are good but anything over 3” in not edible. Nancy thinks if maybe I roast them for an hour or so. I think I understand about Jambalaya now.

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