Monday, October 15, 2012

Farewell Okra of 2012

The okra season is a long one--four months here on our hill. We've enjoyed having it with our meals, sharing it with friends and family, and marveling at how well it produces (and really isn't bothered by pests). As a farewell to this vegetable, I thought I'd share that we do indeed eat okra in one of the most traditional ways--fried! We really don't fry much food at our house but a few weekends ago, Ashley cranked up our turkey fryer, using a smaller pot and made us a fried food supper. I'm smiling as I write this because the post I just completed was about how I've been eating salad all the time. Well, sometimes it's good to have some grease :o)

Ashley made catfish bites, fried okra and hushpuppies. Yum! 

I served this with grits, broccoli slaw, and radishes to cut the grease. 

Generally our boys like fried things, like chicken tenders, catfish and hushpuppies. But one thing they both did was pick the breading off the okra! No fried okra for them--they did this at a seafood restaurant a while back, too. Funny. 

But all growing seasons end and we were ready to be done with the okra. The stalks weren't producing as much and the okra growing wasn't as pretty as before (bumpy and funny, curved shapes). Saturday we measured the tallest stalks--89 inches!--amazing for something that grew from a seed. Things like this always remind me of how God provides for us so I looked up some verses about seeds. Read them here if you're interested. 

Our boys are such good workers in the garden, especially the oldest. I gave him the task of cutting down the okra and he neatly chopped them all down at the ground, laid them in a pile and then took them to the goats. 

I tried to get a picture of these two...and they're smiling and saying "CHEESE" but not looking at my camera. As usual. 

I'm so glad we have this garden for our family. Almost every evening Ashley is out there working with the boys and I bring the baby out if I have time after cleaning up from supper and before his bath. We've been rewarded by its bounty and the experience of it all. 

The beginnings of our fall garden

Our second fall of gardening has begun. We've already cycled through some of the plants (the first set of broccoli was eaten by deer; the second batch struggled; and Ashley decided he had planted the collards too early--they were eaten up with bugs). All that to say, our lettuces and greens are doing well!

Recognize this bunch of greens?

It's the top of a bunch of radishes. Although radishes are fun to pull (we love pulling root vegetables around here), we're not really fans of consuming very many. So we ate a few, gave away some and then treated the goats with the rest. The color is beautiful though!

 We have at least four types of lettuce growing. Yum! I've been eating salads every day (inspired by reading Eat to Live and watching Forks over Knives). Fresh lettuce from the garden is so much better than the stuff we can buy in the grocery store--and I know this hasn't been treated with any chemicals.  

We're also growing kale after enjoying the free kale we found along the highway in front of our house (strange, I know...but we live in a big farming area and trucks roll by all the time loaded down with boxes of produce--and occasionally stuff falls off at our house). 

Our favorite way to eat kale is making kale chips. There are a lot of recipes out there for this easy, nutritious snack. Basically you cut the kale up, removing the ribs. Toss with olive oil and salt (not too much--I usually use my hands to evening distribute the oil) and roast in the oven (one recipe says 275 degrees; I've also done 350). I use my wire rack on a cookie sheet method (how I make fries, too), which eliminates the need for turning the chips. The chips are done when they're crispy, around 10 minutes, depending on the temperature you selected. 

Tonight I tried Bobby Flay's sauteed kale. Yum! A great accompaniment to the shrimp, brown rice and okra supper. I plan to serve kale frequently while we have it. Read more about this "powerhouse" vegetable here