Monday, August 17, 2009
Do you work full time?
Do you have kids?
Yes to one or both is enough to make anyone not want to cook at the end of a long, long day, when you’re most likely tired. Very, very tired.
But you still need to eat, and so does your family. What to do? Do you want to keep eating the same frozen meals? Open the same pouch of dinner-helper-sandwich-plopper?
You could order out-but ordering out is EXPENSIVE. And we like to keep our coins-and bills- in our pockets, not just during the economic downturn, but always. When don’t you like to save money? And besides, you want to eat food that tastes and looks fresh.
Well I have a *quick* and delicious solution to your problem.
You already know my motto: Variety, variety, and more variety. Don’t cook meat every day. Substitute meat with a vegetable that has a meaty consistency, and is also delicious.
For today’s example, let’s take a closer look at food most people are not familiar with: Okra.
A little background about this veggie-
It is green capsule that contains small white seeds. If you cut it, the cross section looks like a pentagon. It grows in tropical areas, originally places like West Africa, and is mostly used in India, Africa and the Middle East. Even with today’s global village, okra is almost unknown in North America and Europe.
Okra is used in stews and gumbos, deep-fried in the South, made with tempura in Japan, and in other countries they are even pickled. It is high on unsaturated fats and has numerous healthy properties.
And the flavor? Well, it tastes like…Okra. Some say it has a taste similar to eggplant, slightly bitter, but it can be quite the comfort food. You’ll see!
You can find Okra in the frozen section of supermarkets in 1-pound bags, already pre-cut and ready to cook. Sometimes they may even have it in the produce section, fresh and whole. Okra can be a main dish-tasty, filling, healthy, and best of all, EASY.
Here is a recipe that will knock your shoes off. And from the time you walk into the kitchen, to the time you are sitting and eating, is about 20 minutes. Groovy!
Okra with white rice (4 servings)
½ pound of frozen pre-cut Okra
2 cloves of garlic
½ of a Vidalia onion
½ cup of tomato sauce
¼ teaspoon of Cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Canola oil for cooking
4 15.8oz bags of Boil-in-Bag rice (Uncle Ben’s or something similar)
10½ cups of water
2 ½ tablespoons of salt for rice (Less if you’re watching your salt!)
Equipment you will need:
4 Quart saucepan
10 or 12 inch frying pan or skillet
Medium bowl or container
Place 10 cups of water and the 2-½ tablespoons of salt in a 4 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, place the rice bags in it and let it cook for about 12 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mince the garlic cloves and square chop the onion.
Place the tomato sauce in a container and add the Cayenne pepper and the remaining ½ cup of water. Mix well and put it to the side. Up to here should take no more than ten minutes, tops.
Lightly coat a pan with canola oil and put on stove over a medium heat. Put in the onions and the garlic, and cook them until they get translucent. When this happens, throw in the ½ pound of Okra and move it around for about half a minute. Squeeze the lime over it, move once again for a few seconds and then put in the tomato sauce mixture. Combine it well with the Okra, add salt and pepper to taste, and then let it sit over a medium heat for a few minutes until most of the water evaporates, and the Okra is left with a thicker sauce.
The rice should be ready buy now. Drain it very well, cut the bags, and place on the plates.
If you want to get fancy, here’s a trick. Grab a cup (any size you want for the rice portion) and pack the rice tightly in it. Then overturn the cup with rice over the plate, making a little rice tower. Top it with some of the okra mixture. Serve and enjoy!