Wednesday, September 2, 2009

okra & sausage from Ms. Virginia

I gave a basket of okra to my neighbor and she exclaimed, "Oh, good! I have some smoked sausage that I'll cook this with and it'll be so good."

Oh, how do you do that Ms. Virginia? (and actually the smoked sausage is from yesterday - I was there for that conversation when a young woman on her lunch break from work dropped off the smoked sausage for her uncle who had just turned the corner - literally - so told Virginia she could have it. I love my neighborhood!)

Clean the okra , dry it, chop it with a sharp knife ["How thin do you slice it? I heard it gets too slimy if it's too thin"; "The slimy doesn't bother me, and if it's too slimy you can add just a tiny bit of vinegar - and the sharp knife sure helps")

Fry it with some onion and garlic, maybe some bell pepper [I'm thinking of the trinity, but she didn't mention celery]

Cook that sausage in with it [I didn't ask, but probably over rice] [I just transcribed an interview with the author of Gumbo Tales who said: "I find this to be an amazing sausage town. It’s one of my favorite things about it. Poor vegetarians"]

Add some chicken breasts in to make a meal of it all.

So simple, so flavorful, so New Orleans. Sometimes I look at okra and think, "Oh golly, this will be a process" - a roux, a stew, or pickling. (None of which is really a terrible process at all but sometimes I'm just tired when I see 20 pods of okra.) But cooking it down and "smothering" with it is always fantastic.

Virginia is the one who told me about blueberry dumplings which I will try for sure next year. She describes things really well, is a fantastic source of knowledge, and generous with said knowledge.

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