Oven Fried What?

It’s September and our garden is winding down…a little.  Right now, we have jalapenos, a little lettuce and okra still producing.  Now, I love okra.  There are really only two ways I know to prepare it.  Pickled and fried.  I remember chowing down on my great-grandma’s pickled okra.  It was sooooo good.  I was probably the only 2nd grader who packed pickled okra in her lunch.

I do love good fried okra.  My favorite is the fried okra at Cracker Barrel.  I don’t know what they do to it, but I love it!  I have been amazed at the amount of people here in Virginia who have never had fried okra.  Hey!  I thought it was a southern speciality and, as I’m repeatedly reminded, Virginia is south of the Mason/Dixon line!  The one thing that keeps me from eating fried okra everyday is the fact that it is…well…fried.  At my Weight Watchers meetings, I preach against the evils of fried foods.  So, when I found this recipe on Pinterest, I was really interested.  

I had my doubts.  The recipe boasted crisp, crunchy fried okra, without having it swimming in grease.  But, I thought, “Why not?”  So, I attempted it for our dinner tonight.

Right off the bat, I had a problem.  The recipe called for buttermilk.  I have probably bought buttermilk a total of 3 times in my life, so of course, I had none on hand.  So, I did what anyone would do, I googled “what if I don’t have buttermilk?”  Seriously.  You would not believe the number of results I got.  I ended up using regular milk & mixed a couple of teaspoons of vinegar in with the milk.  I guess it worked…I couldn’t taste any vinegar in the okra.

I served it to the family.  When my husband heard we were trying oven fried okra, he was less than thrilled.  He’s not a huge fan of regular fried okra, so any deviation from the recipe didn’t sound good to him.  However, when he tasted it, he was hooked!!  As he was eating his second helping, he kept saying, “This is really good!”  I said, “I thought you didn’t like fried okra.”  His response?  “I don’t, but I like this!”

Somehow, I managed to keep fried okra from my son.  8 years old and he had never tried fried okra.  Epic fail as a mom.  He loved it!!  He also came back for seconds, but alas, there was none!

I followed the recipe to a tee (except for not having buttermilk).  What did I like best about this recipe?  What didn’t I like?  It was fairly quick, easy and somewhat healthy.  Instead of swimming in oil, I sprayed olive oil (much healthier than vegetable oil) on a pan covered in aluminum foil.  When I put the okra on a plate covered with a paper towel, there was very little oil on the paper towel and none on the plate underneath!!

This will definitely be a dish I will make again and again.  The blogger said the leftover okra was still crispy, right out of the fridge.  I guess I’ll just have to take her word for it.  There was none leftover at my house!!

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Easy Peasy Biscuits

Well, my blog has been kind of quiet the past week or so.  I haven’t been too crafty lately.  I’m gearing up for my son’s big 8th birthday, coming up this weekend.  I’ve been busy researching Phineas & Ferb cakes.  Of course, I’ll be blogging about the party after Saturday.

So, last weekend, we had some friends over for dinner.  For some reason, I tried not one, but two brand new recipes that night.  The first one was venison stew.  This was the first time I had ever made stew….I know!  How did I survive 12 years of marriage without ever making stew?

My second new recipe was something my hubby tried at a friends house.  After he and a buddy and his buddy’s father went hunting, they went back to his friend’s parents house.  They arrived just in time for dinner & the mom insisted that my hubby stay for a quick bite.  One of the things she was serving was Mayo Biscuits.  

Sounds weird right?  Well, my hubby raved about them, so much that I felt I needed to make them.  So, I got the recipe and tried them out.  Here it is:

4 Tablespoons mayonaise

2 c. self rising flour

1 c. milk

Mix ingredients.  Grease a muffin pan.  Put dough in pan.  Bake at 375 until brown (about 12 minutes).

That’s it.  Hard to mess up a recipe with 3 ingredients right?  Well…you haven’t cooked with me then :).  About 30 minutes before our friends were going to arrive, I started working on the biscuits.  I discovered I only had bread flour.  Flour is flour, right?  WRONG!

The biscuits didn’t rise (obviously) and they were…um…dense.  So, I served our guests flat, dense biscuits.  However, we didn’t have any left, so it wasn’t a total waste!

I tried it again tonight, with the proper flour and it was a much different story.  The biscuits rose, they were light and fluffy.  The mayo makes them very moist.  It cost pennies to make and my kiddos were asking for more.

So, check your pantry…make sure you have self-rising flour & try these out.  If you don’t have self-rising flour, run…don’t walk…to the grocery store and get some!!