Christmas Okra, the completed version

Fat fingers got me again. i hit “Publish” rather than “Save Draft,” so it wasn’t really fat fingers. It was fat head. So now for the rest of the tale.

Those two words don’t quite fit together. Christmas. Okra.

i should have known.

Then, there was this crazy thing when i found okra in the Navy commissary at the 32nd Street base in San Diego. In late November. i haven’t seen it all year anywhere except at the North Island exchange in early October. Go figure.

i should have known.

Then, i made the mistake of looking up fried okra on the internet. Initially, Paula Deen and i had a rocky relationship.

i should have known.

i have tried frying okra, twice previously. The first time, i could not find any fresh okra in the Southwest corner, so i tried it with that frozen muck. Bad idea. The next time, i got some fresh okra, worked on it for about three hours, counting cooking and it turned out…well, not quite as bad as the frozen stuff.

So i quit the frying jag.

i came up with own recipe for okra, something roughly akin to a Cajun gumbo. It has gotten some pretty good reviews. i toss in some Tennessee Pride Sausage, and i like it. So i stuck to it. It goes really well with my mother’s biscuits or Maureen’s gourmet takeoff on my mother’s biscuits. My cornbread also works pretty well with my okra.

i made some about a week ago before i came upon this commissary okra. So i decided to try the fried version again.

For a while, it appeared this time would not be a great deal different from the other two fiascos. i blamed it on Paula Deen. i took the ingredients and mixed them as directed. The problem was i was not supposed to mix the buttermilk into the mix. i was supposed to wash the okra in the buttermilk — i know, i know “wash” is probably an incorrect description, but hell, i don’t claim to be a knowledgeable cook, just good at couple of things stolen from my mother’s extensive recipe cards and several things i picked up from others like The Alligator, Colonel Jimmy Lynch, my former father-in-law — wash the okra in buttermilk before dragging through the mix to deep fry.

When i got to that part about not mixing the buttermilk, i tried to salvage the whole thing. More buttermilk. Not mixed.

It came out of the fryer in big lumps about the size of a baseball. i didn’t include photos here because it was ugly, real ugly. i separated the lumps as best i could with knife and fork, but it still remained lumpy. And ugly.

But then Maureen came home and we tried it. It was really good, tasted as good or better than most okra i know.

So Paula, you have a free pass on this one. But write your recipes so bozos don’t mix everything together before they read to the bottom of the recipe.

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