Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sleep Be Not Proud -The Ultimate Okra Fritters

Can't sleep. Waking up every two hours is pretty far from restful. The paresthesia - insane itching to us regular folks - has temporarily moved from my arms to everywhere else. Not only are the sleep disturbance and insane itching annoying, they are expensive - since I am up at an ungodly hour, I checked my mail, which led me to follow a link to Amazon, which led me to order a new cookbook. Pasta By Hand: A Collection of Italy's Regional Hand-Shaped Pasta. It'll be here Wednesday. I  found it appealing because there is nothing in it that requires any specialized equipment like a pasta roller, which is good because you can probably purchase that on Amazon as well, and I don't want to get started with that - I just want to learn how to make really good gnocchi and gnudi.

One of the annoying hallmarks of insomnia is that once that every-two-hour wake cycle has subsided, usually about 6:30 am, you are able to sleep. I can't tell you how many times I jumped on a moving LIRR train or ran a red light because of it.  Like Bill Clinton, I have a reputation for being punctuality challenged, and some years back, one of my judges took judicial notice of the fact the I do not do mornings.

Fortunately I had nowhere to go this morning, so despite Chelsea's snoring like a lawn mower with a broken gear, I managed to pick up a few hours albeit at the wrong end of my sleep cycle.

Athene also snored very loudly without cessation, except she sounded like the TARDIS. Sometimes I would wake up to that sound and start looking for David Tennant in my bedroom.  Ahem.

Unfortunately, that morning sleep time does not compensate for a normal night's unbroken sleep, so here I am, huddled in the corner of the living room, in the dark, trying to swim to the surface for some daylight.  It hurts to keep my head upright, and my brain is stuck on stupid. I have some mail to respond to, but it is freaking me out.  I have an appointment in the Universal Studios area at 4:00 and I am already panicking about getting there on time. It's odd, and definitely unpleasant, just how the fibromyalgia makes one feel so vulnerable to everyday demands.

Okra Fritter Aficionados: Discard that beta version, peeps! What I have here will make you jump for joy, if you are the type of person who is inclined to react that way to food, and even if you are not.  These okra fritters will make you want to run out and plant a half dozen okra plants in your garden.  They are so delicious all on their own, showcasing that wonderful okra flavor (garden-fresh but earthy) that you may not want to bother with any kind of dipping sauce.

You really do have enough batter to cover the vegetables.  

However - it occurred to me that I always serve my corn fritters with maple syrup (actually Log Cabin, go ahead and shoot me) or honey, and so I tried a little drizzle of Log Cabin on an okra fritter, and it was very good. Part of that is the tiny bite of heat from the cayenne, which is complimented by the sweet syrup.  

                    I told you that you had enough batter. The trick is to use the rubber spatula.

The Ultimate Okra Fritters

1 - 12 oz package fresh okra pods, blanched, chilled, and sliced (about 2 - 2 1/2 cups sliced)
1/2 cup small chop red bell pepper
1 bunch green onions, sliced (discard only the darkest green ends)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup Bisquick
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon McCormick garlic pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 extra large egg
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup plus 1 full tablespoon milk

Prepare the vegetables: Blanch the whole okra pods in salted boiling water for 4 minutes, then immediately move them to a bowl of ice water. After 5 minutes, move the drained okra to a bowl or pan lined with paper towels, and leave in the fridge while you do the rest of the preparation.

Melt the butter in a small skillet; add the red bell pepper, two-thirds of the sliced green onions, and the garlic and sauté until the peppers are tender and the onions and garlic are fragrant. Set the skillet aside to cool while you prepare the batter. Chop the reserved green onion a bit finer, and add to the cooling vegetables.

In a large bowl, combine the Bisquick, dry mustard, nutmeg, paprika, salt, pepper, basil, granulated garlic, garlic pepper and cayenne pepper, and whisk until the spices are evenly distributed.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg, Dijon mustard, and milk, whisk together, then bring in the dry ingredients in and whisk until smooth. Set aside while you slice the blanched okra.

With a rubber spatula, fold all of the vegetables into the batter.  Over medium, heat a half inch of canola oil over in a large deep skillet.  Using a medium scoop, put the batter into the hot oil, immediately using the back of the scoop to flatten out the fritter to a diameter of roughly 3 inches.  Repeat with two more scoops of fritter. Fry the fritters on both sides until golden brown, and then with a slotted metal spatula, remove them to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining batter.  The recipe yields about 15 fritters.

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