Okra is one of my favorite vegetables. Some shy away from it because, when boiled, it has a somewhat slimy and gelatinous texture. It is very good fried, which eliminates the slimy consistency. Sprinkle it with salt, black pepper, and some cumin, and you have a nice
Indian-inspired dish. But my favorite way to eat okra is roasted whole in the oven with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. It is so simple, yet has both sweetness and a tender texture. I add thickly-sliced baby bell peppers to it; the colors and flavors blend very well.
Every year we have family for New Year’s Dinner. In keeping with Italian tradition, we will have pork as a symbol of prosperity for the coming year. We are making pork cutlets (see my earlier post for the recipe) along with this okra dish and potatoes. My husband will make black eyed peas mixed with greens, another good luck food from his Southern grandmother.
For Christmas my husband gave me a photo album filled with family pictures of our holiday celebrations, vacations, and our children’s activities from 2011. Looking back, I realize it has been a great year, and we have so much to be thankful for. What has made it such a great year has been time with my family, sitting down to delicious and nourishing meals and holiday celebrations with people I love, having the health to care for one another, living in a place of beauty, and having the freedom to pursue the things that have meaning and interest to me. These are gifts that I hope will be extended to more people around the world in years to come.
Roasted Okra with Baby Bell Peppers
1-1/2 lbs. fresh whole okra
1-1/2 c. thickly sliced baby bell peppers, seeded
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse okra and let sit to dry on paper towels. Place okra on a baking sheet along with the pepper slices. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly with oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes until okra is fork tender but still holds a firm shape. Serves 4.