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This may be an acquired taste, I couldn’t say. My dad grew up in Texas and eating okra is not strange to me. I’ve only been to Texas two or three times in my life and we did not have fried okra a lot while I was growing up. On one of the occasions we did visit Texas I remember being with Grandma and stopping by to visit my father’s cousin, Doris Marie. She was in the kitchen frying okra. I will never forget the smell, the look, the taste. Oh, my, it was mouth-watering. But I like mine better! Ha!

  • Ingredients (quantities are approximate)
  • 12 oz. package frozen sliced okra
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 3/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • LIBERAL amounts of salt and pepper
  • Oil for frying

Thaw the okra until it’s no longer frozen, but not quite all the way thawed. Sometimes I let it sit in a colander for a few hours, shaking it every once in awhile.

Heat about 1/2″ of oil in a large skillet. I’m not sure of the temp, 350 degrees? I just wait until it bubbles when I drop a pinch of corn meal into it.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the mostly-thawed okra.

In a flat dish (I use a pie plate), stir together the corn meal and flour and salt and pepper.

Lift a big handful of sliced okra from the bowl of egg and okra and place it into the corn meal mixture. Dredge the okra so that all the pieces are coated. Using your hands as a sieve, lift out the okra, and gently drop into the hot oil. Let it fry for a couple minutes. Using a slotted spoon, give it a stir. Stir every once in awhile until all the pieces are golden brown.

Once golden and crispy looking, remove from skillet into a paper-lined bowl using a slotted spoon. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat the procedure until all the okra is done. You may have to add more oil to the pan. For me, this is four batches. Do not overcrowd the okra or it won’t get crispy. Make sure to salt every batch.

NOTES: I don’t care for garlic salt on this. Just sayin’. Regular salt or seasoned salt will do. This kinda falls into the salty snack category if you have a hankerin’. This has a Cousin Pam thumbs-up rating even though she should not be eating fried foods, but who can resist . . .

This is a delicious no-churn ice cream made with the first fruit of summer: rhubarb. The recipe comes from Older Mommy Still Yummy.

  • Ingredients
  • 3 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups whipping cream, whipped

In a saucepan, stir together rhubarb and sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until rhubarb is tender and starts to fall apart. Remove from heat and let cool. Chill until cold. This may take a couple hours in the refrigerator.

Remove about 1/2 cup of rhubarb mixture and set aside. Mix together the remaining rhubarb mixture and the sweetened condensed milk. Fold in the whipping cream, about a third at a time until the whipping cream is well incorporated.

Pour into a freezer-safe dish or dishes. I like to use small plastic tubs, they’re about 1-1/2 cups each, because the ice cream freezes faster and I can give them away without giving it ALL away and takes up less space in the freezer as they’re used up. But you can put it into one large dish if you want. Once you’ve got the ice cream divvied up, take the remaining 1/2 cup rhubarb and dollop onto the top and then run a utensil through it to make swirls. This is the wow factor of the ice cream, that pop of rhubarb tartness. Super yummy!

Everyone knows how to make 7-Layer Bars, right? Well, in case you don’t, here are the instructions. This is the easiest, yummiest recipe to assuage that chocolate craving right now (or in thirty minutes anyway)!

  • Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter
  • 1 cup (or 1 pack) of crushed graham crackers
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened . . . it does not matter)
  • 2 cups chips (chocolate, white chocolate, milk chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, whatever kind you like or have on hand or a mixture . . . it does not matter)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup raw chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, whatever . . . it does not matter)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter in a 9×13″ pan. Tip the pan to make sure the bottom, and up the sides a little bit, is coated with melted butter. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the melted butter on the bottom only of the pan. Sprinkle the shredded coconut over the crumbs. Sprinkle the chips over the coconut layer. Pour sweetened condensed milk over all. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake at 350 degrees F for thirty minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool if you can wait. Serve. Tastes great warm and melty or cold and less messy.

NOTE: What you see pictured here is two cups total of semi-sweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips. I had several bags with just a few chips left in them so I mixed it all together. I used sliced almonds for the nut component. The “usual” 7-Layer Bar would be semi-sweet chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and chopped walnuts. I’ve never used salted, roasted nuts before, but that might be good. If you used gluten-free graham cracker crumbs, this could be a gluten-free dish.

I’ve been trying to tweak this dish since I first had it at a family gathering. It was so, so good that I wanted to add it to my arsenal of gluten-free foods. You could go a lot of different ways with this to punch up the flavor. I’ve used canned diced green chiles here, but consider how bacon bits would be amazing.

  • Ingredients
  • 2 large russet potatoes, parboiled, then shredded
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 4 oz. can diced mild green chiles
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease or spray an 8×8″ baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the shredded potatoes, sour cream, 1 cup cheese, and chiles. Stir in a liberal amount of salt and add pepper to taste. Spread into the prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F for 45-60 minutes. Serves 4.

NOTE: Parboiling was an interesting challenge as I had never done that before. It means to boil the potatoes whole, or in large pieces, until the outsides are tender, but the insides are still hard. Kinda tricky. They shred rather nicely, though. I used a hand shredder one time and then another time I used my Cuisinart shredder attachment. Either way is fine. The dish requires a generous amount of salt. The first time I tried this I didn’t use enough and the whole thing was rather, muh blah. The last time I made it using garlic sea salt. REALLY good! When I ate this at Easter dinner for the first time, Andrew and Sharon had added just a teensy bit of diced (I assume pickled) jalepeno. My husband thinks I’m killing him with spicy food, so I didn’t put any jalepenos in the potatoes. The baking time will depend upon how big and how parboiled the potatoes were to begin with. You want to make sure they’re very soft before removing the finished product from the oven. I served these with stove-top pork spare ribs in a type of barbecue sauce. The potato dish’s green chile component complimented the ribs nicely.