PlantFiles is getting a new look! Just in time for spring, we're rolling out a new look for the best online plants database. It will also work with your smart phones and mobile devices, so now you can take it with you on garden center visits or botanical garden tours. Questions or comments? Please post them here.
First, I have never liked either okra & eggplant. But I'm going to give both of these veggies a try in my garden this year. The only way I've ever eaten them is the way my Mom fixed them: cooked down to mush with ham & seasonings added.
I've looked at a lot of recipes & for okra, most of them are for frying them or including them in soups/gumbo. Eggplant Parmesan looks interesting & I'll give that a try.
What are some other recipes for someone who hates okra & eggplant?
Eggplant is good simply sliced and brushed with a little olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and grilled. We do a mixed grill basket of veggies.
Okra is good in a stir fry veggie skillet, start with a little olive oil, garlic, onion, peppers (sweet or warm), add sliced okra, then a small summer squash, sweet corn and add a diced tomato or two at the end. It's kind of my way to use up the odds and ends of homegrown or farmer's market veggies. A generous grating of Parmesan over the top. I use some fresh herbs, basil, etc. It's a really flexible dish.
We do the same here on the grill and include okra with the same seasoning for just a few minutes. It is not slimy prepared this way. We grill lots extra eggplant and okra while we're at it. I use it cut in strips on top of salads with grilled red peppers and fresh mozzarella and make baba ganoush and ratatouille from the extra eggplant. There are many recipes on line. Both freeze well. We grill extra okra too. It makes a flavorful cold snack and a good salad topper.
I don't like okra either, but a friend at the Farmer's Market gave me some last summer. I sliced them, added a tad of olive oil just enough to barely coat them, and a variety of seasonings. Some were cheesy, some salty, some spicy. Then they went into my dehydrator until crispy.
I just love okra. Im for sure going to try the stir fry idea above. I eat it mostly fried. I dont like it heavily breaded tho. I dry the okra and cut it right into some flour, to coat, so it wont have time to release any 'slime'. Just fry it up. I cook the pods whole..either grilled, or just throw them on top of any other dish that I have cooking and steam them up. They dont take long. Altho I cant make it, I have had delish pickled okra.
The key, of course, is not to let the pods get big and woody. Bigger certainly isnt better when it comes to okra.
Sorry to be so slow in getting back to this thread. Okra sliced, shaken in a bag with corn meal (no eggs, no batter) and put in a skillet with a bit of bacon drippings and some olive oil, coarse salt and pepper (onion optional) and sauteed.
Okra raw, (small okra, 4-5 inch, like any other raw veggie, can even serve with a dill dip)
The obvious - okra pickles! (the hotter the better, a couple of red peppers per pint help).
Fortunately we learned about okra before encountering the "slimy" version of it on a trip to Georgia, so I never developed the aversion.
We enjoy both okra and eggplant.
Darius, we had never experienced dried okra until this winter. At the open air market in Charleston a vendor had dehydrated okra with what I imagine is an olive oil and / or butter and lightly seasoned..it's wonderful! I'm still savoring the remainder of it and trying to imagine recreating it.
When we eat fried okra I make mine like Edens...no egg, no batter, just seasoned cornmeal. That was the only way I knew to cook it besides pickles for many years until I came up with the idea of cooking it on the grill. I was looking for ways to make it less caloric. We grow varieties of okra that can get pretty large and not be woody but generally smaller okra is the most tender.
It's contact with any liquid that make okra go gelatinous. Which is why you should pat it dry before cutting it up. If you're sauteeing it for gumbo, add a capful of vinegar to the pan and it will not "slime".
When sauteeing it, keep it moving in the pan until it doesn't "rope" (make long slimy strands). Or, you can slice the pods into 1/2" pieces, lay them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet/baking pan coated with a bit of olive oil, and them run under your broiler. WATCH IT. Turn the pieces over and brown the other side. Then, introduce them to your gumbo or what have you.
You can also season the pieces and pop the toasted piece directly from the pan into your mouth (after cooling, of course)!
P.S. I grew up eating the mushy eggplant with ham and seasonings. We added shrimp and stewed tomatoes, let it cook down a bit, then served it over steamed white rice, with a sided of candied sweet potatoes, and pass the Hot Sauce, please...LOL!
Okra, threaded onto skewers and grilled, with just a little oil and some Cajun seasonings. Also, love it in Gumbo. Eggplant, I usually make ratatouille, which uses all the other veggies from the garden, (onion, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, etc.) I have a crock pot version that is easy.
Jo-Ann, didn't notice you were from New Orleans. Go to the Northshore, and have an Eggplant Parmesan Po-boy from Ponchartrain Po-Boys. To die for! Bring napkins, or wear a bib. You will never look at eggplant the same again!
Eggplant recipe: slice the eggplants, brush with olive oil and either grill or roast in the oven. Layer with roasted tomato sauce, carmelized onions & goat cheese (several layers of each) in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with a little parm on top. Bake for 30min at 350degF. Oh so good. Kinda a lower fat version of eggplant parm.
I just pulled a Ziplok baggie of last year's Hansel & Gretel eggplants from the freezer to cook this evening.
"Spicy Asian Eggplant" over Uncle Ben's Jasmine Rice. YUM-my!
"Eggplant cubes are stir-fried until browned, then simmered in a spicy Asian-inspired sauce with onion and garlic until melting-ly tender."
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or other oil)
4 Japanese eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes (I slice them on the diagonal, like plantains)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic (I increase to two tablespoons)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tbs. water (use shrimp broth or rice wine vinegar)
Fresh Broccoli flowerettes (I've yet to include the broccoli)
1& 1/2 tbsp Oyster Sauce (or sub about 1 tbsp. Fish sauce - very salty - adjust to your taste)
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon white sugar (I use brown sugar, and adjust to my taste)
Ground black pepper (or red pepper flakes), to taste
1/2 teaspoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil (careful -- a little goes a looooooooooong way...)
Toasted Sesame Seeds for texture (optional - I've never added these)
Fresh Ginger (optional - but, I slice mine up and toss it in at the end to keep the crunch -- a wonderful, permanent addition!)
Shrimp, chicken, beef, or firm Tofu for protein (I prefer to use shrimp)
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Cook and stir the eggplant cubes until they begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the eggplant with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
2. Heat 2 more tablespoons of oil in the skillet over medium-high heat, and cook and stir the onions just until they begin to soften, about 30 seconds. Stir in the garlic, and cook and stir an additional 30 seconds. Mix in the soy sauce, water, oyster sauce, chili garlic sauce, sugar, and black pepper, and stir to form a smooth sauce. (Play with this mixture until you like the way it tastes...)
3. Return the eggplant to the skillet, lower the heat, and allow the vegetables and sauce to simmer until the eggplant is tender and almost all the liquid has been absorbed, about 5-25 minutes (time depends on the consistency you want your eggplant to be -- you decide).
4. Drizzle a couple drops of sesame oil over the dish, and give one final brief stir to combine.
I serve my eggplant over steamed white rice. I LOVE Uncle Ben's Jasmine rice (90 seconds in the microwave), and will be trying this with the eggplant, tonight!
P.S. The Hansel & Gretel eggplants are long and slender. They have thinner skins, and, if picked very young, do NOT need to be peeled. However, the skins get chewy and the fruits get more bitter the older they are picked. The sugar and the natural sweetness of the shrimps (in this recipe) tends to neutralize any bitterness from older fruits.
Just try to pick an eggplant when it is shiny!!! Thumbs up Thumbs up Thumbs up
We make ratatouille. Below is my go to recipe. It's beyond compare when the tomatoes, zuchinni, basil, and peppers are in season in the garden.
1tbls olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, diced
1 onion chopped
2 cups of eggplants, peeled and diced
Saute all of the above in a skillet over medium heat for several minutes.
Add the following:
2 cups of zucchini, diced
1 large red or green pepper, diced
2-3 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbls of chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbls of chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Stir well and cook over medium heat several minutes. Reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook until veggies are tender (app 30 minutes).
When veggies are tender, put in a medium casserole.
Add the following on top:
4 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
put in oven and cook under broiler until cheese is nicely brown.
Note: We changed the recipe to fit the constraints of what we can eat. The original recipe calls for 8-10 oz of cheese-filled ravioli or tortellini to be cooked and put in the bottom of a large casserole, the veggie mix added on top, and 8-10 oz of mozzarella to be put on top.
A friend taught me this: Pick the okra while it's small. brush with olive oil and dust with garlic powder, red pepper and grill until you hear a pop. Turn and grill the other side. There are never any leftovers. You can even pan grill.
I love both okra and eggplant! One of my favorite things to do with okra is also one of the easiest. Using young, tender okra, wash, let dry. Do NOT remove stem ends! Melt a bit of butter with a little olive oil in a frying pan, (or saute pan or grill pan, whatever you prefer.) Add okra, saute on medium heat until lightly browned. Turn gently. Try not to break the pods open. When nicely browned on all sides, season with lemon pepper. Enjoy! You can either cut the stem ends off on your plate as you eat them, or eat informaly, using the stem as a 'handle'. (aka finger food, my favorite way to enjoy them).
Baba Ganoush (spelling? ? ?) is delicious! I love it! But the recipe I use is a royal pain to make, so I seldom indulge in it. Another favorite (and much simpler) way to fix eggplant is to slice quite thin. Lighly sprinke salt on both sides of the slices, & place is a colandor to drain. Give it at least 30 minutes. Then dip each slice in an egg wash, then into finely crushed corn flake crumbs. Fry until golden brown and crispy. Yum!
Baba ganoush is delicious and healthy. It also freezes well and, because of that, is a freezer staple along with hummus here. It's a soul food food that I grew up making several different ways. If you find it complicated to prepare please post your recipe. It doesn't have to be.
Boy, do I feel like a dumb bunny! ! ! ! The eggplant dish I was thinking of is Moussaka, NOT Baba Ganousch. I realized the mistake I made when I went in search of the recipe this morning (Please remember I am in my “golden”, actually more like “rusty” years.) .
It's been probably over 20 years since I made it, and I couldn't find the recipe this morning, it’s not in the cookbook I thought I remembered it being in.
But I do remember peeling, slicing and browning 2 eggplants. That was probably the biggest pain. I also vaguely remember browning ground meat, cooking it with tomatoes in some form, and seasonings, beating egg whites & mixing it in, layering everything, probably some cheese, maybe some Bechamel? involved somewhere. It was wonderful! But a real production to make! I've never made or eaten Baba Ganousch, but it does sound good, so if your offer of a recipe is still good, Maypoplaurel, I'd love to have the it!
Has anyone mentioned plain ol’ okra gumbo here? Simply cut the okra into about half inch pieces, put in a pot with some sliced onion, some diced up tomatoes, fresh or canned, barely cover with water, & cook until tender. If using canned tomatoes, you won’t need much water. Seasoning of your choice, I usually use just a little salt, maybe a dash or two of pepper, maybe a bit of Gumbo File powder, depending on my mood. Very good!
Now I’m going in search of that Moussaka recipe, I think I want to try it again, see if it’s any easier now.
And, I just realized this thread started over a year ago. I wonder if the OP ever tried any of the recipes & suggestions, & whether or not she liked them? ? ?? ?
Because we always had a garden, we cooked whatever was ready to be picked that day in summer. The pot of lima beans, purple hull peas or lady peas almost always had a few okra pods dropped in each pot. The peas or beans were cooked our Southern way with a Tbs of bacon drippings for seasoning and the okra took on some of the flavor of the beans/peas and the seasoning. Even as a kid, I liked it. Please don't worry about us and our arteries. My family members have all lived to at least 90 and most over 100 even those in the generations without modern medicine.
We always had tiny okra pods on our peas...even froze some for our New Year's pot with the hog jowl...MMMMMM you're making me hungry...have to have some corn bread to go with all this summer goodness!!!!!
Texasabelle, that "goulash" sounds really good, I'm going to have to try it.
Susan I've never had Ratatouille, and your recipe has me really wanting to make it! Can't wait to get all the ingredients gathered up!
Gymgirl, I don't know where most of the people that are FROM South Texas might also be from, but I do know that 75% (by the last official count I've seen) of the people that ARE here now, are Hispanic, many from Mexico, many been here for generations. :>) Not much LA influence anywhere around here that I've ever seen.
I do agree, call it what you will, it's all good! ! ! !
I'm from LA but I'm a redneck not a Cajun or creole, sadly. However, I've learned to cook some of the South LA cuisine by living in Lake Charles for 5 years. I can make sauce piquant and cook dem duck, Im 'onna tole ya. I looooovvved living there and having access to lots of fresh seafood. It became and has remained my favorite food since. While there, I learned how go out and catch crab, crawfish and flounder. This was all new to me due to growing up almost on the Arkansas line. What great food and I had my copy of "River Road Recipes" to teach me how to do it. I had to rely on my DH for deep sea catches. I gEt MoTiOn sick!!!
One of my husband's friends from school came to work for the same company when he graduated so we would socialize with him and his wife. We tried to introduce these other 2 rednecks to what was so delicious. Once we 4 drove to Jennings LA to an all you can eat seafood buffet. The couple had never eaten boiled crawfish. We all loaded up our plates and sat down and to the wife, who looked at the "mudbugs" with a lot of skepticism, we said, "Just try the new things. If you don't like it that's OK. We all dove in. Everyone was busy breaking off crawfish tails and dipping into cocktail sauce. After a few minutes, the wife said to her husband, "Buck, I tried these and I don't really like them." We looked up and she had eaten probably 4-5 whole crawfish...everything but the shells. Heads, tails, gills, innards, all of it! She was like that.
My favorite way to do eggplant is fried but when I just don't have the time or too much to fry I make a type of casserole. Cube and sauté equivalent of 1 large eggplant in some butter or olive oil till semi tender, add 1 chopped onion,2 cloves chopped garlic and seasonings to taste. saute till all tender. remove from heat. crush 1 sleeve of saltine crackers and add to pan along with enough milk or evaporated milk to get a soft mashed potato consistency. add 1 egg and mix well. Place in buttered casserole and bake till lightly browned. About 30 min. very versatile recipe. sometimes I add Bell pepper and/or celery, mushrooms, squash whatever I need to use up. grated cheese mixed in and/or sprinkled on top is really good too.
A couple of new eggplant recipes. slice the eggplant, put on a tray, spray with oil, put in the oven on broil for 5 minutes, flip over and add cheese on it if you like, and cook for another 5 minutes. Use the cooked slices in sandwiches or just eat them.