Fried Okra and Potatoes

Fried Okra and Potatoes

fried okra and potatoes

Growing up in Texas, we always had okra growing in the garden.  It seemed like we ate okra everyday in the summertime.  While living in Virginia, fresh okra wasn’t as available, even in the summer months.  Now that I am living in South Carolina, I am happy to have year-round access to fresh okra.  Now I can make this dish more often.  It has been a favorite of mine for most of my life.  It’s the ultimate in Southern comfort food.

Fried okra and potatoes goes great with black-eyed peas and cornbread or with fried fish.  I like it with ketchup.

Fried Okra and Potatoes

1 pound fresh okra
2 large potatoes (baking type — not new potatoes)
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Wash okra and cut off stem ends. Cut in 1/2-inch pieces. Peel potatoes and chop into 1/2-inch dice. Put okra and potatoes in large bowl. Add chopped onion to mixture. Sprinkle cornmeal, salt and pepper over mixture. Stir until cornmeal is evenly distributed throughout mixture.

Heat cooking oil in large skillet over medium heat (oil should be hot, but not smoking hot). Carefully spoon okra/potato mixture into hot oil. Fry, turning mixture occasionally, until potatoes are done and mixture is nicely browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Thai Shrimp and Spinach Curry

Thai Shrimp and Spinach Curry

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I got this recipe from my mom a few years ago and never got around to making it until this week.  I wish I hadn’t waited so long to try it….this dish is delicious!  It is also very easy to make and quite quick to prepare.  The end product not only tastes wonderful, it is also pleasing to look at with all the vibrant colors.   This recipe will no doubt be one I will make again and again.

Thai Shrimp and Spinach Curry

14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, chilled
11/2 to 2 teaspoons Thai green or red curry paste
1 pound medium shrimp (about 24), shelled and deveined
2 tablespoons naam pla (Thai fish sauce)
2 carrots, sliced thin crosswise
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
3/4 pound spinach (about 1 bunch), coarse stems discarded and the leaves washed well and spun dry
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
Cooked rice or rice noodles as an accompaniment

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the thick coconut cream from the top of the coconut milk and in a large heavy skillet cook the cream over moderate heat, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it is thickened slightly.   Add the curry paste and cook the mixture, whisking, for 1 minute.  Add the shrimp and sauté the mixture over moderately high heat, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink.  Add the coconut milk and the naam pla and simmer the mixture, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute, or until the shrimp are just cooked through.  Transfer the shrimp with a slotted spoon to a bowl, to the skillet add the carrots and the bell pepper, and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes.  Add the spinach in batches, stirring until each batch is wilted, return the shrimp to the skillet, and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.  Sprinkle the dish with the coriander and serve it with the rice or rice noodles.



My dad concocted tor-pea-does many years ago.  Hot black-eyed peas topped with shredded cheese and salsa, wrapped up in warm corn tortillas.  In addition to the cheese and salsa, I like to add pickled jalapenos and sour cream to mine.  Tor-pea-does are such a comforting dish.  Simple, quick, inexpensive, and a delightful mesh of flavors.

Tor-pea-does bring back good memories from my childhood….my family sitting around the table playfully boasting about how many tor-pea-does we could eat.  I can eat 4!  Well, I can eat 5!  Oh yeah, I can eat 6!  Fun times.  Tor-pea-does are an all-time favorite and a dish that I hold dear.

I make sure to keep a few cans of black eyed peas and fresh corn tortillas in the pantry for this quick meal.

You don’t really need a recipe for tor-pea-does…just heat up some black eyed peas, throw them in a warmed corn tortilla (you can zap it in the microwave for 15 seconds or toast in a hot pan), and then top with cheese and salsa (add sour cream, cilantro, jalapenos, or anything else you would like).  Don’t overfill or the whole thing will fall apart (if that happens, just bust out the fork).

Cranberry Praline Bread

cranberry praline bread

This bread is so good.  I baked a batch of the festive mini loaves to give as gifts.  The sweet praline glaze really adds to this quick bread.

Cranberry Praline Bread

Bread Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Glaze Ingredients:
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine 2 tablespoons flour and cranberries in small bowl; toss to coat. Set aside.

Combine sugar, sour cream, butter, eggs and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat just until moistened. Stir in cranberry mixture and 1/2 cup pecans by hand.

Spoon batter evenly into 4 greased and floured mini (5 1/2×3-inch) loaf pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans.

Meanwhile, combine brown sugar and 1/3 cup butter in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil (3 to 4 minutes). Spoon glaze mixture over warm loaves. Immediately sprinkle with 1/4 cup pecans.

TIP: One greased (9×5-inch) loaf pan can be used instead of the 4 mini loaf pans. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes.

Yield: 32 servings (4 mini loaves)

Recipe source:

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

lemon-poppy-seed-bread-smThis is a nice quick bread.  It’s not too sweet and not too lemony.  It freezes well too.  The lemon syrup makes the bread moist.  I baked the bread in 3 mini loaf pans instead of a standard size loaf pan.  Makes great gifts.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 large egg
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 1/4 cup cold water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
zest from one lemon

For the syrup:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg with a fork. Stir in the cooking oil, water, and lemon juice.

Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture. With a spatula, mix the two together until moistened. Do not over mix—over mixing will develop the gluten in the flour and make for a tougher bread.

Scrape the batter into a well-greased 8-inch by 4-inch loaf pan. Spread the batter evenly in the pan.

Bake for 55 minutes or until done. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into a crack in the center of the loaf. The toothpick will come out clean when done.

While the bread is baking, mix the granulated sugar and the three tablespoons of lemon juice in a cup. Heat the syrup in the microwave until warm. Stir the syrup until the sugar is dissolved.

Use a skewer to poke holes in the top of the loaf to the bottom of the loaf. Place the holes about one inch apart. Pour the syrup over the top of the loaf while it is still hot and in the pan. Let the loaf rest for 20 minutes and then remove it from the pan to cool on a wire rack.

Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread

monkey-bread-smThis is a perfect recipe for Christmas morning.  It is sometimes called Pull Aparts and tastes very much like cinnamon rolls.  I’m not a fan of canned biscuits because of all the preservatives and chemicals in the ingredients list, but Pillsbury now makes Simply Buttermilk Biscuits that doesn’t contain all the yucky stuff.

Monkey Bread

2 can refrigerated biscuits
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a small bowl combine sugar and cinnamon.  Separate biscuits, and cut each one into 4 pieces (a pair of kitchen shears works really well for this). Place a few biscuit pieces at a time in the cinnamon/sugar mixture, and toss to coat thoroughly.  Evenly distribute the coated biscuit pieces into a greased bundt pan.

1/3 cup sugar
1 /2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter or margarine

Place these ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, and stir until butter is melted and all
ingredients are thoroughly combined (DO NOT BOIL).  Drizzle this mixture evenly over the biscuit pieces.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then immediately turn out onto serving plate.   Let cool a few minutes before eating.


snickerdoodles (428x345)

These are some of my all time favorite cookies.  I’ve made this recipe countless times.  I like my snickerdoodles crisp and crunchy so I bake them a little longer (9 – 10 minutes), but if you like a softer cookie, don’t bake them that long.  When I make these snickerdoodles, I roll the dough a bit smaller than the recipe describes in order to have more cookies (even though they are a bit smaller) in the end.  These snickerdoodles keep really well and withstand being shipped across the country.


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the 1/4 cup sugar and 4 teaspoons cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.

In another bowl, sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. set aside.  Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar together until well blended and fluffy.  Add the eggs and continue beating until well blended and smooth.  Beat flour mixture into butter mixture until smoothly incorporated.

Pull off pieces of the dough and roll between the palms to form generous 1 1/4-inch balls.  Roll the mixture in the sugar and cinnamon mixture and place on cookie sheets, about 3 inches apart.

Bake, 1 pan at a time, in the upper third of the oven for 8 to 11 minutes, or until cookies are light golden brown around the edges. Rotate cookie sheet halfway through baking for even browning.

Transfer sheets to wire racks and let stand until cookies firm up slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.  Then transfer the cookies to wire racks and cool thoroughly.  Cool cookie sheets between batches or cookies may spread too much.

Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 10 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Recipe source:  Joy of Cooking Christmas Cookies by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker (Scribner, 1996).