Okra "on the Hoof"

Yesterday son, Joe called and we had a wonderful visit. The kids, Ashley and Zachery are doing great. Ashley is 7 and reading 3rd grade level already. I used to love to sit under a shady tree and read to my kids on hot Summer days. Recently we sent a book of silly poems for her, and joy of joy, she loves it. Zachery is the funniest, cutest little boy!!! I love hearing stories of his escapades. Joe and Jessica are expecting a baby GIRL this September! I hope we are up there by then to see the new baby, as we plan on going up that month.

Joe always enjoys growing his garden in the summer months. Since he was curious about okra, we volunteered to send him some seeds, mayhaps for next year's garden, as it's kind of late for such goings ons in western NY this year. While I lived up there, the only experience I'd ever had with okra was in a couple of cans of Campbell's (watered down) chicken "gumbo" soup. So, that's pretty much no experience with okra. I explained to him that, in some circles, it's got a bad reputation for being slimey. And it's true that if it's not prepared correctly, it is slimey...yucky slimey. The Cajuns have a was of cooking okra that makes it luscious and not slimey. It is YUMMY!!!

Right now, our okra are at peak growing conditions. Every other day I carry a heavy "Malwort" bag of them into the house, wash, slice and put them in the freezer, or 'smother' 'em down then freeze them. Just now I went out to take pictures of the tall plants, which now, most of them, are about 10 feet tall, or more. All I can say it's a good thing that they are limber, so I can get ahold of them and bow them over so I can cut the okra off the stalk(along with the large leaf just beneath). I wanted to show you the beautiful flowers they make. If I waited until later in the cool of the day, the flowers would be all wilted. They only bloom for one day, then turn their energy into making the okra. This last picture is looking wayyy up into the sky of the tall plants, with the pecan trees towering over them. I wanted Joe (and those of you who've never seen them) to see what the plants, flowers, and okra look like, as Cappy would say, "on the hoof". The usual length of our longhorn okra are 9"! Since I think Walmart might carry okra in their freezer sections, as they do down here in the South, so, if you can find it, you might want to give this recipe a try. It's our own version.

Smothered Okra

3 pounds of sliced okra

3 tablespoons cooking oil

2 onions, chopped

1 pound of diced Cajun sausage (or Hillshire, or facsimile, if you can't locate Cajun sausage)

5 cloves of garlic minced

1 can of Rotel original tomatoes

1/2 a bell pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon of Worstershire sauce

1 tablespoon Cajun spice

hot sauce to taste

Saute` onions and sausage together with the oil in a Large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the rest of the ingredients, in no particular order and cook uncovered. (<--This would probably horrify most Cajuns, but it works ok for me, Pegody.) Stir often to prevent sticking or burning. Deglaze, if necessary, with whatever is handy; water, broth, beer or wine. I let it simmer for about an hour, once it has really started cooking down. I don't think it's possible to over-cook this dish, as the more it cooks down, the better. Tah-dah.

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