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Posts from ‘August, 2009’

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Today's topic is okra. Do you like it?

I think the only way I ever saw or ate okra until I was an adult was in Campbell's Vegetable Soup, which was often served in our home when I was growing up.

After I moved south I discovered possibly the most delicious form of okra -- fried with a cornmeal breading.

A few years ago Rob tried growing some and we discovered that it grows very well here in our climate and apparently doesn't have a lot of pests or blights that attack it. This year he tried a new (to us) variety called Burmese Okra. The plants themselves are rather pretty and the flowers look like yellow holly hocks.

picture of Okra Flowers

We enjoy eating okra fixed a variety of ways, including in gumbo-like dishes with chicken, tomatoes, etc. or in vegetable mixes with onion, bacon, and corn. Last year I saw a cooking show from here in South Carolina where a chef prepared the okra by sauteing it whole in just a trace of olive oil. You cut off the ends of each pod being careful not to cut into the seed part.

picture of Okra Cut

This way there is absolutely no sliminess at all. The oozing develops when you cut into the seed part of the pod and is similar to when you cut or break off a leaf from an aloe plant. You can also prepare it in a similar manner on the grill by brushing it with oil. I just cook it until you can easily pierce it with a fork. We really enjoy it and it's a quick and easy way to prepare the okra.

picture of Okra Cooked

How about it -- any okra lovers out there?

Becka


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Deviled Eggs


My mom used to make deviled eggs often for Sundays or for special family meals. I tend to make them pretty often as well. They just seem to round out a meal when you need a little something special. I have found that most people enjoy eating them. I thought everyone knew how to make deviled eggs, but I have had two people ask me for the recipe recently, so I thought I'd go ahead and post it:

Deviled Eggs

6 hard cooked eggs (see directions below)
3 Tbsps. mayonnaise (approximately)
1 tsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
dash of white pepper
1 tsp. mustard
paprika for garnish

Split eggs in half and place the yolk in a flat bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork and then mix in the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, pepper, and mustard. Fill the whites and then sprinkle with paprika to garnish. You can also pipe the filling into the whites with a frosting bag and tip and you can garnish them with parsley, dill, or with olives.

picture of olive eggs

Older eggs will be easier to peel than extremely fresh eggs. I try to let the eggs come to room temperature before boiling them to help prevent cracking and to make them easier to peel. Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover them with water that comes up over them by about an inch. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, and remove from heat. Let stand for 12 mins. Drain off the hot water and then shake the pan to crack the eggs. Run cold water over them and add some ice cubes and let stand to cool. Peel the eggs starting from the wide end. I usually cook one or two extra eggs when I'm making deviled eggs just in case one happens to crack or doesn't peel well.

Shortly after we were married I decided to make deviled eggs for Rob for the first time. I reached into my small larder and grabbed one of the few spice cans that we had and proceeded to sprinkle the eggs with cinnamon! Needless to say, it did not become a new family favorite, and Rob teases me about it to this day.

Becka


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Rob and the beanstalk


My husband, Rob, enjoys gardening. He grows lots of flowers and some vegetables and fruit each year. Nearly every year he tries planting something new just for the fun of it. Often these fun, new crops can create a dilemma. Shortly after we were married he planted six Italian eggplant plants. We ended up with nearly 100 eggplants that summer. To be truthful, I didn't want to face another eggplant for several years.

One summer the new crop was tomatillas. They are a small vegetable sort of like a little green tomato in a husk. You can find them at many markets today, especially those with a Hispanic foods section. The first summer he planted them we had a bumper crop and I had no clue what to do with them. I eventually discovered a tomatillo salsa recipe and an enchilada recipe that we all enjoyed. I found I could freeze the salsa and this was one way we could utilize our crop. Rob has tried planting them again in our garden here at this house but we have never had a good crop.

One summer the day before we were leaving on an eight week mission trip he planted butternut squash in our garden. When we returned home we had about 25 squash and the vines had taken over part of the back yard and gone through the fence across our little neighbor lady's driveway. Fortunately she did not drive and did not have a car!

Last summer's new vegetable was Asian Long Beans. We had eaten these at Chinese restaurants here and we had them the two summers that we were in China and really enjoyed eating them. I saw some seeds at an Asian market here in town and Rob planted them. He discovered that they do well here in our climate (the area of China where we were had soil every bit as red as we have here in SC!). This summer he planted them a little too close together so it is a little difficult to get between the rows to find them all. Here's a picture of some of the bushes:

picture of Bean Bush

Rob planted two varieties of the long beans this summer: red seeded and black seeded. They both are doing well and we have been enjoying them. I just cut them into bite size lengths and then stir fry them in a little oil with garlic and maybe some sesame oil to season them. They also freeze well.

Here's a picture of some of the beans:

picture of Long Beans

The longest one pictured was 27". Some get even longer than that.

If you are an adventurous gardener you will have to consider planting them next spring. Have you ever grown anything unusual or had a bumper crop of something?

Becka


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Paducah, Kentucky


After we left St. Louis we headed to Paducah, Kentucky, which was about a three hour drive. Our first stop was Hancock's of Paducah, which is a large fabric store catering to quilters. Megan and I enjoyed looking around in there and we both did a little shopping. Rob and Drew drove around and got the lay of the land and had a little snack.

picture of Hancocks of Paducah

This is the fabric and quilt pattern I bought:

picture of Quilt Stuff

After our shopping we headed to the town center to the National Quilt Museum.

picture of National Quilt Museum

Since it was already pretty late in the afternoon we decided we would just look around in the lobby and gift shop. We were perusing the gifts when the lady selling the tickets came to talk with us. When she found out we were just in Paducah for a short time she allowed us to go into the museum for a quick walk-thru. The quilts were absolutely amazing! They are truly works of art. I'd love to show you a picture, but photography was not allowed in the museum. There are also pieces of art related to quilts in the museum--things like carved wooden quilts (which were amazingly realistic) and mosaics in quilt designs.

Just beyond the museum is the Ohio River and the city has a series of about sixty floodwalls that different artists have painted with scenes of life from the past. They were very nicely done and we enjoyed strolling along the river and looking at them.

picture of Murals

picture of Riverboat Mural

picture of Boom Paducah

There was also an antique locomotive on display in front of the murals:

picture of Paducah Train

After we explored the town for a while we headed out for supper and then on to the hotel for the evening. The next morning we started our trip back to Greenville and home, thus ending our travel adventures for this trip.

Becka


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What’s Happening


I had some minor surgery on Monday and then my husband made a quick trip up to Ohio to deal with some issues his mother is having. We would appreciate your prayers for her as she has been moved to the geriatric wing of a psychiatric hospital. She has had these kind of problems for a number of years but they have become much worse in the last few weeks.

Just wanted to let you know why there haven't been any posts recently.

Becka


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