okayed okra

Okra is probably eaten mostly in the southern states in gumbos and fried in a cornmeal batter. Both those forms are good; but this one is superlative. Not being a gumbo, it is a side dish. Not being fried, it is less caloric. Dietetically, I have officially designated it as okayed okra.

  • 8 oz frozen sliced okra
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • ½ medium onion, sliced and diced
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp leaf oregano
  • ½ tsp black ground pepper
  • ½ tsp <salt>
  • 2 oz sharp 2% fat cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 oz grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 medium jalapeño peppers, sliced
  • 1 tsp chicken base or bouillon cube
  • 1 cup water

Sauté onions in a little oil until limp. If you want a milder side dish, remove all seeds and placenta. If you want it more piquant, leave them in. Add all remaining ingredients except the cheese and cook in open pan, stirring, until the liquid has almost evaporated. Remove from burner, add cheese, cover, and set aside until the cheese melts. Yum!

Rutabaga Hash With Onions and Bacon ♯

Rutabaga, also known as Swedish turnip, yellow turnip, swede, and neep, was first reported as growing wild in Sweden in 1620. Modern studies of the plant’s DNA have shown that it originated as a cross between the cabbage and turnip.

Rutabagas and turnips are very similar. The former tend to have a firmer texture and a tougher skin, they are generally bigger and firmer, and they have slightly more total carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Both are ideal for the lower G. I. diet. Turnips are usually white, rutabagas, more of an orange tint. When cooked, the turnip turns almost translucent, while the rutabaga turns a yellowish orange. Both often have a purple-colored crown. Despite these differences, they are similar enough in taste to be interchangeable in most recipes.

My recipe, below, which introduces a little Southwestern kick, serves as a nice side dish for blander entreés. I have also made this using turnips; I think rutabagas are a little better here for textural reasons.

  • 4 rashers bacon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 1 Anaheim or Poblano chile, seeded, ½” dice
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded, diced
  • ¼ tsp <salt>
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Taubasco sauce, to taste
  • 2 cups rutabaga, peeled, in ½” dice
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Cook bacon and crumble into bits.

Sweat the onions in the oil until just turning golden, add chiles, seasonings, bacon, and rutabaga. Cook, covered, until rutabaga is soft. If, while cooking, the rutabaga begins to caramelize, deglaze the fond with a little water and stir it into the mix. Add cilantro, toss, and serve.