As summer approaches, we can’t help but think of fresh veggies and interesting (yet easy…who wants to spend all day in the kitchen!) ways to prepare them. Okra is one of our favorites at the moment.
Now, southern tradition dictates that the okra either be chopped, battered and fried, or stewed into slimy, gooey, over-cooked spears. Both of these options fall short of the main goal in eating your veggies in the first place…a typical southern folly…by taking something quite good-for-you and creating a southern-fried treat or zapping every last nutrient out in the cooking, and cooking, and cooking. (granted…stewed okra, corn and tomatoes is worth every last bite!)
So what’s a belle to do with her okra to get the most out of the nutrients and summer-fresh flavor?? Our quick and easy answer…roast it!
Starting with fresh, tender pods, rinse thoroughly and dry.
Next, make length-wise cuts…either right down the middle or, if you want them a bit more “crispy”, slice each spear into 3 or more thin “chips”. Place in a bowl (or ziploc bag) and drizzle with your favorite (best quality you have available) olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Turn them all out onto a cookie sheet, spreading them out, cut-side-down, making sure to get them in a single layer
Place in a 400 degree oven, and watch the masterpiece come to life! 15-20 minutes should do it, but you can be the judge. A nice, browned, slightly crisped edge is what we like to see…
Be sure to get your share early…these babies will disappear in a snap!
OurTALKGreenville cocktailin’ excursion this monthtook usto the most perfect little neighborhood spotinthe Hazelwood area of Haywood County, North Carolina…”theGateway to theSmokies”. Ashley Owens, owner ofBourbon Barrel Beef & Ale,graciously welcomed us to her delightful establishment with cocktails ready forsippin’ and nibbles ready fornibblin’. “Blown away” would bea very mild way to describe ourexperience!
Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon…
No surprise here…with bourbonin the name,there’s pretty much a guarantee you’ll find some interesting brown liquor drinks on the menu! While the fine stuff isso often enjoyed neat, Ashley isn’t afraid to toss a shot of Basil Hayden orBulleitintoa killer cocktail. In fact, all three of our featured libations have ahealthy doseof the brown stuff. That’s right up our alley!
The BB Bloody Mary
The first in this trifecta of bourbon concoctions is a real taste thrill…a Bloody Mary made withBasil Hayden!Spiced up a bit with a touch of Absolut pepper vodkaand garnished with bacon, pickled okra and olives,this bloody is a belle’s surecure for a crazy Saturday night…or a good start to any easy Sunday morning. #nobetterbloody
The Classic Old Fashioned…
A classic is never a bad idea,and this one is genius in its simplicity.BulleitBourbon is the anchor in this strong, consistent, reliable comfort-in-a-cup. Need something you can count on? The old-fashioned is your answer. Justsayin’#bourbonistheanswer
photo by Brindley Faile, Haywood County TDA
The Blackberry Bourbon Smash…
If you haveahankerin’ for abeautifulbeverage inside and out, thesmash is the coveted elixir in this threesome. Knob Creek bourbon is the star of the showhere;however,the fresh muddled blackberries, orange zest, sparkling water anda garnish of fresh mint and blackberry certainly earn their spots for best supporting ingredients. #smashitlikebourbon
Though we have gone heavy on the bourbon here, we can safely say that even a non-bourbon drinker will be delighted with the other options available on the cocktail menu. In fact, Ashley has gone to great lengths to call attention to her other specialties with “Margarita Monday”, “TiniTuesday”, “Wine Down Wednesday” and the ale-focused “ThrowdownThursday”. Cheers!
About those nibbles…
All this drinking can get your appetite up,and we were more than delighted to try some of the local fare. Amazing is anunderstatement- elegantly plated, delightfully portioned and only the freshest ingredients make the dishes worthy of any gourmet’s palate. The fried oysters were heaven and the French onion soup wasmagnifique. Not to be outdone, the firecracker shrimp and fried green tomatoes were positively scrumptious,and we are still dreaming about the roasted pepper, artichoke and feta dipas we headed back down the mountain!
We were quite charmed by this little neighborhood as well as the greater Waynesville/Haywood County area! Nestled in the mountains with the Blue Ridge Parkwayweaving through, there is an abundance of mountain-inspiredactivities to keep the whole family busy. Andat onlyan hour-and-a-half from downtown Greenville, it’sjust a hop and a skip. Well worth the visitin our opinion! Take a peek at what the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority has in store for you! #haynow
With lots of travel and a complete lack of schedule in the summer…we struggle to find the time to prepare an entire meal! Sound familiar? Thought so.
But with all that travel, sometimes we just crave home-cooked, simple comfort food. After one belle returned from a recent adventure, she pulled out a couple of old, easy standbys. Thought we would share for a bit of inspiration…
BBQ Chicken Sliders and Summer Succotash (with a little kick)
The chicken, prepared in the slow-cooker, is just about the easiest thing imaginable:
Place chicken in crockpot and season well with salt and pepper. Pour bbq sauce and worcestershire over chicken and toss to coat. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. Remove chicken from pot and shred with two forks. Return chicken to sauce, stir to coat, and allow to warm in the crockpot until ready to serve.
Serve alone or as a slider or full sandwich with extra sauce…and if you want to do it up right, add some coleslaw. Belleicious!!
Heat oil and butter in heavy saucepan or large skillet. Add jalapeño, onion and garlic, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until soft. Add corn, stir and cover. Allow to simmer/steam 5-10 minutes until slightly tender. Add lima beans, okra, sugar and a couple tablespoons water. Stir well and cover again. Allow to simmer another 20-30 minutes until all veggies are tender. Adjust salt if needed and add tomato. Grind pepper on top. Stir. Serve!
To celebrate two years of this blogging business…and nearly 400 posts (yes, we have hit quite a milestone)…we thought it would be fun to list our favorite – and most talked about – posts (’cause we are really, really sweet, and we all need gentle reminders of stuff we need to do, buy, make, read…)