I love this cookbook especially when I am hankering for some spicy Creole-inspired combinations from NOLA. I nearly always purchase a cookbook from my favorite travels so I can enjoy again the smells and the tastes I remember from these journeys.
As I do on many Saturday mornings, I am cleaning out the refrigerator (my glamorous life) and making the shopping list for RM. The man loves “making groceries” with his favorite stops at Aldi, Wal-Mart and Trader Joes planned for later today. He is mowing the yard first (yes…he leads a glamorous life as well). In the veggie bin is a large brown sack full of Texas okra that needs cooking today as well as several green peppers and tomatoes that appear very ripe. Whenever I get okra in my Greenling delivery it never really appeals to me that much so I often pawn it off on my willing Texas native friends that love these green lady fingers. Okra or gumbo as it is sometimes called is not something that this Kansas native ate growing up. I don’t know why but okra wasn’t grown in our home garden. But today, the pods looked appealing especially when I thought Louisiana creole. So I began browsing through a cookbook I had purchased when RM and I visited New Orleans two years before. There are four recipes featuring okra in the book but the one for Market Stew sounds yummy and most importantly… I have all of the ingredients on hand. Also, the recipe is relatively healthy and meets my recent dietary requirement of 80% fruits or veggies on my plate. Here are the steps.
1. Cut up bite size chunks of green peppers, onions and tomatoes (as much as you want – these veggies are guilt free). Cut the okra spears into round wheels. This okra was so fresh it had Texas dirt flecks all over it so I had to rinse them really well.
2. Saute the peppers and onions until soft and then add the wheels of okra. If you prepare this in a T-Fal nonstick saute pan (love this product!), you won’t need to add any fat to the pan. Then add the creole spices such as paprika, onion powder, garlic salt, Old Bay, red pepper flakes (cayenne if you like), black pepper, oregano and thyme. Add tomatoes to the batch and simmer for at least an hour. This is an important step as all the veggies get super soft and the spices have time to meld together.
3. Add 16 oz of shrimp – I used the frozen shrimp that comes already cleaned with only the tails on. I removed the tails before adding them to the pan with the veggies.
4. Cook until shrimp is pink – only takes a couple of minutes. Add salt to your taste.
5. Steam some rice (I didn’t because I don’t need the carbs) and then spoon the okra mixture over the top and dig in. If the mixture is too dry just add a little water to loosen it up and to make a little bit of gravy for your rice.
6. Bon appetite!