Monday, August 24, 2009

Quicker Frying

Breading vegetables takes the longest time of any of the steps of frying. While getting a batch of okra ready to hit the oil, I tried something a little different that did shave off some time. Most cooks that fry know that when breading, the steps are dry ingredients, wet, then dry again. The fancy term for this is "standard breading method." I just say, "dry, wet, dry."
I filled a sheet pan with flour and did the first step of dry ingredients on all the okra at one time. I think it went a little faster this time. But, no matter how long it takes, a piece of crispy, salty okra is worth it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pickled Okra and Fig Preserves

My weekend was filled with two of my favorite things. Pickled okra and fig preserves. Thanks to generous friends with gardens much larger than ours, I was overcome with fresh brown turkey figs. If there's one fruit I couldn't live without, it would be figs. We even bought a house once based mostly on the enormous fig tree at the end of the driveway. No wonder they are mentioned so much in the Bible; eating figs is the closest to Heaven many of us have been. I made a batch of preserves so I can enjoy them in the dead of winter. I cooked equal amounts (in weight) of halved and stemmed figs and granulated sugar. I cook my preserves for several hours before I begin the ritual of canning. While most people my age were out with a cocktail on Friday night, I was standing at the stove processing jars of liquid gold. No complaints here.

I also had a bag of fresh okra as large as a couple of watermelons. I saved some to fry for tonight and pickled the rest. I found the okra I pickled and canned last summer didn't last too terribly long on the shelf. It should be eaten within a few months to keep the pods from turning into sponges of vinegar. This time, I tried this recipe from It's spicy and goes straight in the fridge. I was eager to try a version that didn't need to be canned. The okra is fabulous and the recipe is now the one I'll use each time.
What's my next project? A huge batch of pepper jelly.