Tag Archives: okra

Three Cities

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Cleveland looks pretty amazing to me.

“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans.
Everywhere else is Cleveland.”

Tennessee Williams, who died in 1981, may (or may not) have made that remark.  And though you might be puzzled, amused, or annoyed by his choices, it has the possibility of stimulating some fun conversation (perhaps around a dinner table!).  Should Chicago have been included?  If Williams were alive today, would he still include SF?  Should Dallas replace Cleveland?  What’s your favorite up and coming city – Portland (could be Oregon or could be Maine)? Denver?  Where does L.A. fit into all of this?

When you think of New York, do you automatically include Brooklyn?  We had a lively conversation about Brooklyn as part of New York City during our visit last week to our Brooklyn kiddos.  Those boroughs of “New York City” could not be more different.  Clearly, Manhattan is filled with amazing attractions; our dinner conversation won’t need to go there.  But what a trip Brooklyn is – food-wise, culture-wise, people-wise, gritty-wise, real-wise.  I’m meeting up with my Fort Collins Besties there in October and couldn’t be more excited.

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I don’t think there is any other place in the U.S. where you hear so many languages and encounter so many ethnicities on one long walk: Irish (hi, Miriam!), African-American, Caribbean, Italian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian.

It’s tricky touring around Brooklyn; after all, it has about 1 million more people than Manhattan and area-wise is 70 square miles compared to Manhattan’s 23 square miles.  But you can take it neighborhood by neighborhood: Crown Heights/Prospect Heights for the Brooklyn Museum and for the Botanical Gardens and Prospect Park; Park Slope for beautiful brownstones; Fort Greene for BAM (the Brooklyn Academy of Music), Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge OverPass) for food, shopping, art, and an amazing view over the East River to Manhattan.

And the food!  Brooklyn has over 90 restaurants in the Michelin Guide, and they include almost every imaginable cuisine – from Mexican/Oaxacan (Claro) near the infamous Gowanus Canal – to Jewish/Japanese (Shalom Japan) in hipster Williamsburg.  We heartily recommend Hunky Dory (Claire, the charming young owner, a native of Houston, came to Brooklyn via San Francisco) and Glady’s (Caribbean) – both just around the corner from our kids’ Crown Height’s condo, the lauded Roberta’s (delish pizza) in Bushwick,  Frankies 457 (Italian) in Carroll Gardens, and Dumbo for the new Time Out Market with fun spots such as Jacob’s Pickles (Southern) followed by a great cup of coffee at the Brooklyn Roasting Company.

Which reminds me, Andy is still focused on coffee.  After being a coffee wallah on his bicycling trip, he’s now reflecting – in today’s Andy’s Corner  – upon our daughter Sara’s foray into the coffee culture.

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I agree with this review: “These recipes range from fantastic to not very good to overly simplistic.”

In 1992 Molly O’Neill – probably known best as a food columnist for the NYTimes – published the New York Cookbook.  I got the book back out after reading that O’Neill  recently passed away.  Even if the recipes in her book are a little random and may not delight everyone’s palate (eel handrolls? callaloo? dill kalv?), the cookbook is filled to the brim with fascinating snippets about New Yorkers (including Brooklynites!) and their food.  Plus, that’s where we got Katherine Hepburn’s brownie recipe, which is one of our all-time favorites.

Even though I’m not crazy about okra when it’s used in the Caribbean callaloo recipe in O’Neill’s cookbook, I really love okra cooked other ways and think it’s a shame that more folks aren’t willing to give it a try.  So here’s another Caribbean okra recipe; it’s easy; it’s delicious.  And frying the okra takes all that disliked sliminess away.  Now if someone could just explain to me why it’s called “Limpin’ Susan!”  The story goes that it’s an alternative to “Hoppin’ John,” a peas and rice dish.  Mmmmmm.  Why isn’t it Hoppin’ Susan and Limp John? 🙂

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Limpin’ Susan – Fried Okra and Rice

Limpin' Susan

This is really two recipes in one.  My absolute favorite way to do okra is to just slice it and fry it over medium high heat.  Don’t bother to bread it…way too much work.  Then serve it as an appetizer or side dish.  In that case, you just need the oil and the okra (and some salt and pepper) and complete step #1 (well, a sprinkle of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning is always appreciated).  But if you want something more substantial, continue on with the onions, seasonings, rice, etc.  Recipe adapted from Kim Severson and the NYTimes

  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 2 c sliced fresh okra (1/2 pound), about 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/2 c finely chopped onions
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger 
  • 1/4 to 1 fresh hot pepper, such as habanero, minced and added to taste
  • 1/2  – 1 tsp  salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • a handful of peeled chopped, uncooked shrimp can be included when the onions and seasonings are added (optional)
  • 2-3 cups cooked long-grain rice; leftover rice is perfect
  1. Pour oil into an 8-inch skillet, adding more, if needed, to make sure it coats the entire bottom of the pan. Heat over medium to medium-high heat and add the okra.  Sprinkle with some salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until okra is nicely browned and tender, about 4-6 minutes (you can stop at this point and serve the fried okra as a fabulous appetizer; be sure to serve it sizzling hot; OR you can go on to step #2).
  2. Add everything else but the rice and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring frequently. Increase heat to high and add rice, stirring gently but constantly for about 2 minutes. If you want the rice to brown. like fried rice, you can cook the mixture longer. Taste frequently, and add more seasoning as needed. Serve hot.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.
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