Baked ‘Fried’ Okra

Justin Timberlake came out with a new song. It’s the first thing since 2006 when he brought sexy back.

I have been a fan of JT since his NSYNC days, of which I will proudly and openly admit my JC Chasez crush. Sorry Justin. I switched to a JT fan once his first solo album came out  … and JC struggled as a ‘judge’ on some dance show. (I know Justin’s married now but we obviously had a chance together, especially when he got to his suit wearing years.)

There’s a point to this. Promise.

You see, JT and I are a lot alike. Sometimes we just need a little break to perfect our crafts, or just work overtime. And in the blogging world… 2+ months = roughly 7 years.

Well…I’m back. And it’s time… so let me show you a few things, including this baked ‘fried’ okra.

'Fried' Okra

Being from Texas I know there are only two ways to ever eat okra. 1) Pickled and 2) Deep Fried (surprise!).

Having grown up and lived in the Evergreen state I’ve learned that 1) Okra isn’t nearly as popular and 2) Neither is fried food.

Side note: okra is slimy and a little weird. You’ve got to move past it because it’s so dang good.

Prep Okra

This recipe is simple. No messy goopey battered fingers and easy clean up thanks to freezer ziplock bags. This is a kind of a non-chicken version of shake and bake.
Breaded

Using the bag also helps to get a nice even coating. I’m a fan of thick, crispy coating. (I think it’s a carb thing, like wanting only the cobbler part of fruit cobbler.) The corn meal and egg combo really does the trick. Okra Dipped

So get out there, whip these up and eat the whole batch. I mean, why not? They’re baked!

Baked Fried Okra

12 oz. frozen okra, thawed

3/4 c. corn meal

1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning

1/4 – 1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 egg

1/4 c. milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the thawed okra into a gallon size freezer bag. Beat together egg and milk and pour into the bag with the okra. Mix around to completely coat the okra.

After the okra is coated, scoop the okra out using a slotted spoon (to drain off excess egg/milk mixture) and put it into a clean freezer bag. Pour over the corn meal and spice mixture. Shake around until completely coated. If you don’t drain off the excess, it can be a little gloopy and won’t have the nice separate pieces. If that happens, adding a little more cornmeal can help. Then pour onto a lightly greased baking sheet, in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes, then flip and bake an additional 20 minutes. Eat hot, right out of the oven with a side of ketchup.

Wintertime Brie

Up until today, it had been quite wintry around here. Winter Blast, Snowmaggedon, every local news channel had their own way of over dramatizing the situation.

Simply put – Seattle and snow just don’t mix. People have been nothing short of freaking out.

Oh AND wearing all their great winter get-ups bought for the rare chance it snows. You know those hats that hang off the back of people’s heads and have the perfect strands of hair framing the face without covering the ears… or the furry snow boots that have a wedge heel and scream ‘I’m really not ready for this but I look cute.’ That’s the kind of stuff I’m talking about here folks.

Well that’s not me, I find it’s the best time to just let go a little. Working from home or at a nearly vacant office means few human encounters, well besides the bus and I’m not sure I’m going to meet the man of my dreams on the bus. (except now that I said that God is going to make it happen…). So I leave my hair unwashed an extra day, take one or two extra days off from the gym, and lounge around in my oversized flannel shirt and leggings. So much easier than a floppy hat.

Cold wintry weather is the perfect time to make a nice hot pastry enveloped brie. [Admittedly, I didn’t make this during the last few days but made this recipe over Christmas (while cold and snowy) it’s kind of a new Christmas Eve tradition but can make any winter day feel a little warmer.]

No better background than some puffed pastry,(it’s the part of the recipe we added and it completely transforms the dish).

“Eat me”…. says the Pac-Man Brie Sandwich.

You think it looks good now. Just wait until it cooks and gets all….

Melty.

No crackers required. We just slice this up and go after it with a fork… or your fingers.

Wintertime Brie

Adapted from Portland’s Palate.

3/4 C. Pitted Dates, chopped

1 Small apple, peeled, cored, and diced (any variety)

1 Small firm, ripe pear, peeled, cored, and diced (any variety)

1/2 C. Currants (substitute Craisins, if needed or desired)

1/2 C. Pecans, chopped

1/3 cup rose wine, apple juice or applejack (I always just use apple juice)

1 (2 lb.) wheel Brie, well-chilled (Costco has the best deal)

1 sheet pre-made Puff Pastry, at room-temp (Pepperidge Farms makes a good one)

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine first 6 ingredients. Set mixture aside and refrigerate to soften for 2 hours.

Cut brie wheel in half horizontally to make 2 layers. Place one layer brine side down on the puff pastry, spread half of the fruit mixture on top. Place second 1/2 of brie brine side up on top of the fruit. Fold up the puff pastry over the top, sealing it all together. Squeeze the pastry together to seal. You may have to tug a little to get it all together. Pour remaining fruit mixture on the top of the pastry covered brie.

Bake 25-30 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

Serve with sliced baguette or nothing at all.