Thursday, July 12, 2012

Okra and Tomatoes a Southerner's Summer Love

A Song of The South...the sweet lure of gumbo and okra 'n' 'maters.

Okra and Tomatoes - a summer Southern Classic!
“Are you a complete idiot?”

“No!” I replied with reason.

“You must be!”

“Why do you say that? That’s harsh,” I continued.

“Because you must be a moron to drive your readers away like you are.”

I instructed, “You shouldn’t end a sentence with “are”. There are better sentence structures.”

“Ok, let me rephrase this for you,” the heckler continued. “Because you must be a moron to drive your readers away like you are, dumbass.”

Inside Susie's Head...
 “Oh yes, that’s much better,” I confirmed with a shake of my head and a roll of the eyes.


“Look, Conscience, I haven’t seen you for days, why not cut to the chase and tell me what you’re on about now?”

“You haven’t answered me, yet! What the heck is wrong with you? First, you stuff your blog full of veggie recipes. You use too many danged ol’ ingredients. Your instructions go on forever and a day. And you haven’t posted a dessert recipe in a coon’s age! I repeat! What the hell is wrong with you! This is a low carb food blog. Start posting meaty stuff. Or fatty stuff. Or post some stuff with artificial sweeteners out the ying yang whydoncha!?! What’s a girl gotta do to get some chocolate porn around here? Where’s the cream cheese? Why are you holdin’ out on the cream? We need less veggies and more butter around here!”

I could tell the conversation was spiraling out of control and commanded, “Calm down. You’re ranting.”

Fresh, tender okra with thumb-sized pods.
“No! I can’t calm down! First you post a meatloaf recipe in the middle of a summer heat wave. Then you post a big old salmon salad recipe nobody’s gonna make because, come on, salmon salad makes people gak! Now you’re goin’ for the trifecta! Okra and tomatoes??? Really? Okra? The wicked-redheaded step-child of the veggie kingdom? Have you no sense at all? You’re killin’ me, here!”

“Look,” I reasoned calmly, “okra has been maligned for years. It’s highly nutritious, a great source of protein, fiber, has good levels of B-Vitamins as well as having good amounts of Vitamins A and K. Besides, okra just spells summer in the South.”

“Hello, McFly! Okra is slimy! Don’t you ‘get that’?”

“Well, you’re just plain wrong there, Missy! I’m about to hop all over you like a duck on a june bug! You’re makin’ me mad! Okra, when properly prepared, has an unctuous texture that isn’t in the least slimy. And darn it! It’s downright meaty. And filling. And low carb! And when you pair it with tomatoes, onions, and a bit of bacon – it’s sublime!”

“Well here’s what I heard, “the nagging voice droned. “Blah, blah, blah, blah, bacon.”

“Congratulations. You finally made one word of sense,” the voice continued sarcastically.

I’d had enough and interrupted sharply, “You know, you always do this! You always work me into a lather and make me irate. I don’t know why I even bother talking to you. Why, all I really need to do is give you this recipe and show you that okra and tomatoes, especially when combined with a piece of low carb faux "corn bread" is a Southerner’s prescription for summer lovin’. Why it IS summer to a true DFSW.” (Delicate Flower of Southern Womanhood)

“I’m a true DFSW.”

“No you’re not.”

“Am too.”

“Are not…”

“Am too…”


Okra and Tomatoes
Serves – 4
Prep Time – 15 Minutes
Cook Time – Roasting 20-30 Minutes
Stove Time – 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Difficulty – Involves some – er – gooeyness and a sharp knife

A perfect Southern Low Carb Meal - Roasted Pork Loin
with Mashed Cauliflower and Gravy, Okra and Tomatoes,
and Green Beans with Garlic
1 lb Okra
2 large Tomatoes or 1 (14-1/2 oz) can Diced Tomatoes
1 medium Onion
3 cloves Garlic
3 slices Bacon
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Parsley, dried
1 tsp Basil, dried
2 Bay Leaves, dried
½ can Water (use tomato can to measure, about 3/4c)
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Granulated Garlic

Preheat oven to 450°.

Gather your ingredients.

Pick sepals (little petals) off the ends of the washed okra.

Oh and hey, pick small okra, about the size of your thumb. 

Trim off the dried stem ends, but you can leave the okra caps on!

Cut okra into 1/2 inch slices.

Feel free to cut 3 or 4 okra at one time.

I was worried these were a little dried out, although they were freshly picked.

Chop onions and garlic. Set aside.

Toss cut okra with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic.

Place on a sheet of aluminum foil. If using fresh tomatoes, make a small “X” on the end opposite the stem and place stem side down on the baking tray along with the okra.

Roast okra at 450° for about 20-30 minutes, stirring once, about half way through roasting process. No slime in sight!

In non-stick skillet, add chopped bacon. Cook over medium high heat.

Sauté bacon until almost done.

Add onion and garlic. Reduce heat to medium and sauté until translucent.

See? The onions are translucent!

Add the roasted okra.

If you roasted the tomatoes, remove skins. They should slip out easily from the “X” you made in the end. Coarsely chop them and add to okra, onion, bacon mixture in the sauté pan. Or simply add the can of diced tomatoes and juice.

Add 1/2 can of water.

Add spices.

Stir everything up. Bring okra and tomatoes to a boil and reduce to a slow simmer.

Check at 30 minutes. Nope. Not done.

Check at 1 hour. Add more water – about another 1/2c.

Check at 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add more water – about another 1/2c. Okra will be breaking down and the broth thickening at this point.

It’s almost ready. See? The stock has thickened and the okra is breaking up? Taste it for salt and pepper and adjust seasonings if necessary.

It’s ready!

Now serve it up!

Okra and tomatoes go great with an old fashioned Southern meal of Roasted Pork Loin,
Mashed Cauliflower and Gravy and Green Beans with Garlic.

No, Trappey's didn't pay me to say this. It's a Southern Tradition!
Serve with a sprinkling of Pickled Pepper Vinegar.

Don’t be a scaredy cat!

Nutritional Information
Okra and Tomatoes – Full Recipe

Okra and Tomatoes – Single Serving

SusieT Notes –
This may just be one of my favorite veggies. Sure, I know, okra has a bad rep. People say it’s slimy. And it can be. My mama and WaWa taught me in the old days to stand over a cast iron pot and sauté the okra in bacon grease until all the stringy slime cooked out of it. It would take forever – about 30 minutes of constant stirring! And it stuck to the bottom of the pot. Yuk! What a PIA!

Then I figured out that you could toss the okra with a splash of bacon grease or olive oil and toss it on a foil lined pan and roast it! Easy peasy! No more stirring. No more slime to conquer. Just easy, roasted okra, ready to stew or gumbo.

Okra and tomatoes, low carb, paleo friendly and
delicious - Southern Comfort!
I love adding okra to soups and stews. It adds a meaty richness and helps thicken the broth from the pectins inside the okra.

Of course, Denny and “the boys” insist that okra is not people or sock monkey food. They continually subtract points from the nightly supper score.  Okra is an automatic
 (-1) subtraction. They’re just wrong!

Next time around, I will teach ya about oven fryin' this little darlin'!

Get ready.


  1. As a Northerner, all I can say is maybe... I have been burnt by too many bad Okra dishes in the past, so maybe the roasting method would change that. I am not sure which would be a greater achievement -- me actually liking Eggplant now (which happened) or me actually liking an Okra dish. Love the commentary though... :-)

    1. Ha! Kent, I hope you try it. Remember, if the okra isn't breaking down and breaking apart, it hasn't cooked long enough! Just keep adding water in small quantities and stir it now and then, and let it cook. The longer it cooks, the more it will end up like a rich stew.

      Glad you like the commentary. Now you see what it's like livin' with this monster inside my head. Sometimes she annoys me for days singing, the same three lines over and over again, "I think I'm goin' Japanese, I think I'm goin' Japanese, I really think so!" Or sometimes it's "Solo cup!Oh yeah. Solo cup!" Or if it's not one of those it's, "I come from the men down under! Women snore and we plunder!" - I'm pretty sure she has some of the lyrics screwed up too! Sheesh!

      Glad to see you round these parts! I've missed ya and hope your summer is going swell!!!

  2. One more question - what temp did you roast the Okra at -- 350F?

    1. Roast it at 450 degrees and stir and turn them over about once, halfway through the cooking. You aren't really going for "brown" here, more like "dry" than brown. If there is some brown, it's ok. It will just add flavor!

      Good luck and let us know, even if it makes you gak! (Which they won't. That was Buddy who typed that - our oldest sock monkey boy.)

    2. I just wanted to say congrats on the new writing gig with Carbsmart. It couldn't have happened to a more deserving lady with talking sock monkeys. :-D

    3. Thank you Kent!! I'm extremely honored and excited that Dana and Andrew would choose me!!! Thanks for your vote of confidence and for all your support. Coming from someone such as yourself, I count that as high praise, indeed!!

  3. I love okra! I cannot believe I've roasted so many vegetables, but failed to roast okra. This sounds like heaven. Thank you.

    Now for that oven-fried okra version.... can't wait!

    1. Ha! That makes two of us, I think! ;) Thanks for "comin' out"!

      I will get to the oven fried okra soon, I promise!! I eat it sooo often now! :)

  4. Blast from the past! My Mom (Southern Bell from Thibodaux) used to make okra and tomatoes and I loved it. Dad and Bro, not so much, but that was OK - more for Mom and me!

    1. Ahhhh Thibodaux! We had great friends growing up from Thibodaux. Great cooks! Most everyone loved okra and 'maters in our house. But Mama and Wawa always made a ton. But dangit. I could eat this stuff every day, it's that comforting and filling to me! :) Hope you like it. The roasting makes the okra easy to deal with!

  5. This sounds really good, Susie! We must have been on the same wave-length this week, ans I did some stewed tomatoes and okra myself the other day! I've never put bacon in mine, but that sounds FANTASTIC! A fun variation you might like to try sometime is to use a pinch of thyme and Cajun seasoning and a few drops of tobasco in lieu of the Italian spices. Totally different, both great in their own right. A born-and-raised Louisiana cook at the high school I used to teach at in Galveston used to fix this dish that way and she could cook up a mean batch of this stuff. Man hers was good! :)

    1. Hi Peggy! Awesome to see you here and so glad you can now post here! Your version sounds so yummy! I will try the Cajun version. There's also an African version I am hankerin' to try too. So many recipes, so little time! Right? Gosh, did you love living in Galveston? Part of me would love it, but I'm afraid the other part would hate it!

  6. Yes, more sites are allowing me to post successfully now. Not sure if the problem was blogspot or a corrupted Firefox profile on my end. But I fixed my end as best I could and some of that problem has improved. Still can't post on a few websites, though.

    Galveston was OK I suppose. I'm sure I wouldn't even recognize the beach now, since Hurricane Ike. We're not beach, marine-oriented people at heart, but we sure made a heckuva lot of wonderful friends there in the 30+ years we lived there (and in Texas City). After all, THAT'S what REALLY makes or breaks a locale for us. Sure do miss our ald friends down there. We still chat with a few by phone to get the latest Galveston gossip and news. :)

    1. Well, I hope you will eventually get it settled, cuz I figure it must be aggravating!

      I know, the changes since Ike are amazing. :( Yep, the people are what make a home, aren't they! My dad's family grew up in Galveston and my great grandad had a small ship yard down near the old Lynchberg Ferry. I used to love goin to the old cemetary and looking at all their old headstones of my relatives I never knew! But felt like I knew em!


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