Awesome Fried Okra

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When granddaughter Abbey arrived she had driven from California via Colorado for the better part of a week. She was ready to get out of the car and to get busy in Grandma’s kitchen!

Our first evening meal together included garden-fresh fried okra.  Growing up in Colorado and California Abbey never had eaten okra.  I guess it really is a southern thing since I’d never even heard of it until I met my southern-born sweetheart!

The story of Abbey and okra was love at first bite! She couldn’t wait for a DIY lesson.  Well, I don’t really want to brag, but for a Nebraska girl I can turn out some awesome fried okra.

The local farmer’s market provided fresh okra and we added the fun as we cooked up this mess of tasty-finger lickin’ delights.  She and her Grandpa ate every one!  (They wouldn’t want me to share that with you, but hey — I’m a food blogger, when it comes to the kitchen, it’s all fair game!)

close up Okra
I realize frying okra isn’t rocket science.  But there is a particular sequence necessary to get perfectly breaded, nicely seasoned, non-slimy okra!

If you have a hankerin’ for a bowl of these tasty veggie bites, follow this recipe and you won’t be disappointed!

Blessings and Happy Cooking!
Catherine

 

Awesome Fried Okra

Awesome Fried Okra

You don't have to live in the South to have this southern-fried awesome okra -- delicious on any table, anywhere!

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. fresh okra, sliced 1/2-inch thick round pieces
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Oil* for frying amount dependent on size of frying skillet

Directions

  1. Rinse okra pods in water and dry with paper towel. Slice into 1/2" round slices being careful to keep the pods away from water and as dry as possible.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, garlic and cayenne pepper.
  3. Dip okra in buttermilk and then dredge in cornmeal-flour mixture to coat well.
  4. Spread okra on baking sheet and allow to set while dipping and coating the rest of the okra.
  5. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven to 350 degrees F. Fill with 1/4" to 1/2" oil up the sides of the skillet.
  6. Carefully add breaded okra to the hot oil and cook until golden brown, turning only once. (It may be necessary to fry the okra in batches.)
  7. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels, and then serve immediately.

Notes

* Oil used can be canola, corn, grape or coconut (without flavor). Use your favorite oil for frying. Butter will be too greasy.

This recipe adapted from a recipe by Paula Deen, Food Network.

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The Crowning Glory of Grandchildren!

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Abbey playing banjo
When Lee and I married in 1991 I instantly became “Grandma Catherine” to two little kids, Christopher and Abbey. Through the years we have been blessed with six more grandchildren but it is Chris and Abbey that provided all those firsts for us. First to travel with Grandpa on an airplane, first to go through Confirmation at church, first to want to always race Grandpa Lee up and down steps, first girlfriends and boyfriends, and first to graduate from high school and go on to college!

abbey banjo 2
Since college, Abbey has worked as a professional make-up artist in Los Angeles. California has provided a steady flow of clients for her and she perfected her craft as she worked her way up through the ranks of MAC cosmetics.

Abbey quilting

Abbey Making Her First Quilt

This past spring she began to think about her “hectic” life style and has felt a calling to a simpler way of life. So, in August she decided to take a sabbatical, put her belongings in storage and hit the road.

Abbey quilt 2

Perfect Seams Make For Perfect Quilt Blocks!

As she began making her way across country she stopped wherever she has family. August 21 she arrived at Bobo Hollow in Tennessee. I can easily and quickly confirm that our life will never be the same!

Abbey Quilting 2
Abbey is like a sponge soaking up any and all new adventures. She wants to learn anything and everything we are willing to share with her! What fun we have had and what joy she has brought to our home.

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Over the next few weeks I will share several recipes with you that she has shared with me. We have spent a good bit of time in the kitchen and her passion for baking has blessed us with some awesome treats!

Abbey Salsa 3
Our first stop in the kitchen produced 20 pints of homemade salsa! We used my favorite seasonings from Mrs. Wages. I’ve tried others and even made my own seasoning mix, but Mrs. Wages is perfect every time. I am all about making it perfect every time! And now, Abbey knows that secret too.

Abbey First Salsa
I pray your weekend is filled with a sweet surprise or two. A sweetness like having your granddaughter fill your home with love and laughter!

Blessings,
Catherine

Proverbs 17:6

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged,
and the glory of children is their fathers.

Famous Lion House Rolls

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lion house rolls pan
For 6 six years in the 1990’s we lived in Murray City, Utah. It is a wonderful place to live and work. Murray City is a suburb of Salt Lake City and part of that vast metro valley that is surrounded by the mountains of the Wasatch Range.

It was at The Lion House in Salt Lake City that I first experienced Lion House Rolls.  The Lion House was built in 1856 by Brigham Young to accommodate his enormous family.  Today it is an event center and restaurant. Over the years I forgot how wonderful these yeasty rolls are. It wasn’t until after the spring visit of our friends Shannon and Paul did these rolls cross my path again.

Utah Treasures
After spending a week with us Shannon and Paul sent us a fun gift box filled with unique “Utah-made” items. A mix for authentic Lion House Rolls was included in the gift. When I made the rolls my family flipped over them.

lion house roll single upclose
Over the years I have made a lot of yeast rolls. Many recipes have come and gone through my recipe box. Occasionally I will have a “keeper” like My Best Dinner Rolls or maybe even Yankee Dinner Rolls.

After I made the rolls both my sous-chef dish-washing mom and The Chief asked how they were going to get some more of those rolls. Google to the rescue! When I searched the internet for the recipe I found it in many places.

After looking at recipes until my eyes crossed I decided on using the recipe posted by Deborah at Taste and Tell Blog.  Deborah did a great job photographing the step-by-step process, which you will find here.

lion house rolls panfull
The batch makes about 28 to 30 rolls. You will see from my pictures that I wasn’t very consistent in cutting and sizing the rolls. Practice will make those perfect and I plan to practice again real soon. The dough is soft, fragrant and really lovely to work with.

Lion House Rolls Plated
We ate rolls. We shared rolls with our neighbors. I put a couple in the freezer for a rainy day. Any way you use these rolls they will be a hit. I promise!

As I write this blog post I am already mentally checking my calendar to see when I can make them again.

Happy Baking!
Catherine

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”          John 6:51

Famous Lion House Rolls

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes

Yield: 28 to 30 rolls

Famous Lion House Rolls

You won't have to travel to Salt Lake City to feast on these famous rolls. They are as close as your own kitchen! Yum!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2/3 cup nonfat instant dry milk
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 5-5 1/2 cups flour (you can use all-purpose or bread flour)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted, plus softened butter for brushing on top after the rolls are baked.

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water and the milk powder and stir to dissolve the milk. Add in the yeast and a tablespoon or so of the sugar and allow the yeast to bloom for 5-10 minutes. Add in the remaining sugar, salt, butter, egg and 2 cups of the flour.
  2. Mix on low speed until all of the ingredients are wet, then mix on medium for 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and add 2 more cups of flour, mix on low until combined, then on medium for 2 minutes. The dough will be getting stiffer at this point. Continue adding flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is soft and tacky, but not sticky.
  3. Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size.
  4. Sprinkle a work surface lightly with flour. Divide the dough in half. Roll out one half of the dough into an 11x14-inch rectangle. Brush the top of the dough with half of the melted butter. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough in half horizontally right down the center. Slice the dough into rectangles about 2x4" big. If you hold your hand out so that your hand forms an "L" shape, it can help to be your guide for sizing.
  5. Roll or flip the rectangles, buttered side in, and place on a greased baking pan with the end resting on the baking sheet. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
  6. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375F. Uncover the rolls and bake until they are browned and cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Brush with softened or melted butter while they are still hot.

Notes

Recipe from Deborah at www.tasteandtellblog.com

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Morning Fruit and Yogurt Shake-Up

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blueberry ahake
I get bored with oatmeal.  Especially when the weather is hot and humid like is the norm at my house in the summertime.  This summer when berries were fresh and I wasn’t feeling good about my swim suit I started drinking fruit and yogurt shakes for breakfast.

Blueberry shake blender
I didn’t go all out and add protein powder or anything like that. I simply opened my refrigerator and put together a cup of Greek yogurt (vanilla flavored), a handful of blueberries and tossed in a few strawberries.  I added 5 pieces of ice and about 1/2 cup milk.

blue straw for shake
No sugar is needed because the yogurt has the vanilla flavoring and that is enough for me. You may or may not want to add a teaspoon or two of sugar if you give this a try.

pouring berry shake
I pulsed the blender on the crushed ice button a few times and voila’!  I really never intended to blog this little recipe of mine except that it is so dang tasty and really filling and I thought you might like to give it a try.

picked blueberries
I realize that for the most part the fruit is now stowed-away frozen in the freezer, but that’s okay.  The frozen fruit works equally well.  I also tried cantaloupe that was almost past it’s prime and boy-oh-boy is it delicious!  The weather is finally turning cooler and oatmeal may be back in style. But for me — I am shaking up the morning with fruit and yogurt!

Have a blessed week,
Catherine

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”

Philippians 2:1-2 NIV

Morning Shake-Up

Morning Shake-Up

Shake up your morning with a delicious combination of fruit and yogurt. Perfect on-the-go breakfast!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (plain or flavored)
  • 1/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 5 ice cubes

Directions

  1. Place everything in the blender and pulse on and off until well blended and the ice is crushed into fine pieces.
  2. If the shake is too thick for your taste, add a little bit more milk.
  3. Enjoy!

Notes

Most any fruit will work equally well. Peaches - cantaloupe - raspberries - kiwi - blackberries - your choice!

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Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream …

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Strawberry frozen Yogurt
When I began to write this post about ice cream the corn looked like this.

July Mushroom Corn
Today, the corn looks like this.

SONY DSC
Okay, I admit the ice cream recipe has nothing at all to do with the corn.  But it does have something to say about my ability to share an ice cream recipe when it is actually ICE CREAM SEASON !

What?  Every season is ice cream season?

That is exactly how I look at ice cream!  It really is never to hot and most generally never too cold for ice cream.  Okay, maybe -20 below zero but hey, it is still 90 degrees with 90% humidity in the South and we are still trying to find just a breath of cool fresh air during the day and night!

perfect scoop
Here is the cookbook that is conveniently located within reach of my Kitchen Aid Ice Cream maker.  I’ve shared a fantastic Coffee Ice Cream from David’s book and even a DIY Tin Roof.

So, when temperatures began to rise last spring and I had a yearning for ice cream I started leafing through The Perfect Scoop.  Strawberries were fresh, plentiful and cheap.  Our blueberries were just turning and my Chief gardener brought in a few from his garden.

Fresh Blueberries
I didn’t use all of these, just a handful.  The others went into this beautiful blueberry cobbler.

On this particular day I landed on a recipe for Strawberry Frozen Yogurt. Swim suits were once again making an appearance in our laundry basket and I rationalized yogurt is a better choice for this frozen treat and I had the short list of ingredients necessary to get it going!

  1. Strawberries
  2. Blueberries (my addition)
  3. Sugar
  4. Yogurt
  5. Vodka or Kirsch (optional)
  6. lemon juice

This is what David says about alcohol in our frozen treat:  “Alcohol does two things in ice cream:  it prevents ice cream and sorbet from freezing too hard (alcohol doesn’t freeze) and it provides flavor, as in the case of Kirsch. 

He also says for fruit-based recipes, spirits like Kirsch, vodka, gin and eau-de-vie will enhance the flavor and produce a softer texture by preventing the ice crystals from forming.  It doesn’t take much and more is NOT better or you may end up with a mixture that doesn’t freeze at all!

I used 2 teaspoons of Vodka and it turned out perfect.  What I particularly like about a recipe like this one is that you can mix it up in a couple of minutes, refrigerate for one hour, freeze it in the ice cream freezer and then put it back in the freezer, ready to serve at the end of the meal.  So easy and quick!

When the temperatures act a little more like autumn I will start posting some fallish-recipes.  But for now we are still eating homemade ice cream and frozen yogurt!

Have a blessed week!
Catherine

Time for Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Mixed Berry Frozen Yogurt

Mixed Berry Frozen Yogurt

Anytime is the perfect time for this fresh berry frozen yogurt.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vodka or kirsch (optional)
  • 1 cup yogurt (plain or vanilla flavored, regular or Greek)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

  1. Slice the strawberries into small pieces. Toss strawberries and blueberries in a bowl with the sugar and vodka or kirsch, if using, stirring until the sugars begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand at room temperature for up to 1 hour, stirring a couple times.
  2. Puree the berries and their liquid with the yogurt and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until smooth. If you wish, press the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds.
  3. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Notes

Cook's notes: This frozen yogurt can be made with all strawberries or all blueberries (2 cups total)

Also, may be made with frozen fruit. Alcohol is optional but makes the frozen yogurt less icy giving it a a better texture.

Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop

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