New Orleans Okra and Tomatoes

My first trip to New Orleans in July with my two sisters – a city that never goes to sleep…  I cannot even imagine how it is during Mardis Gras!  If you are looking for something different and full of action pay a visit to this historic city.  Of all the traveling I have done over the years I have only driven by New Orleans but never stopped.

For the first time also  I tried a new southern veggie called okra and I loved it!  It is a flowering plant in the mallow family and is valued for its edible green seed pods.  It is known as ladies’ fingers, bhindi, bamia or gumbo.  Not a plant I can grow in the North as it can get 4-5 feet tall (not good for a raised bed) and we do not get those warm temperatures over a long period of time.

See below for recipes for “Okra and Tomatoes”, “How to Peel Tomatoes” and How to Make a “Hurricane”.

IMG_2798New Orleans and the party over at The Novice Gardener – this should be good!  Thanks to the co-hosts Jhuls@thenotsocreativecook.wordpress.com and Selma@ selmastable.wordpress.com

One of the many things we did during our two night stay in this historic city besides walk, walk, walk was to take a 2 hour lunch cruise on the Natchez Steamboat on the Mississippi River.  There were quite a few dishes served and one of the side dishes on the buffet was Okra and Tomatoes.  I love just about anything with tomatoes and this dish was no exception.

By the way I apologize for the photos but I had my small Cannon camera with me instead of my nice Nikon – did not want to carry anything heavy around.   There is a picture of the skyline,  Saint Louis Cathedral,  a building with the saying “You are Beautiful”,  lunch on the steamboat and a mime (who really was not a mime – he just stood there and did not move) when we departed – he was very good by the way.    Never did take a picture of the steamboat itself but I did buy a bag.

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As I do not have any recipes for cooking with okra I searched online and came up with one by Paula Deen – you cannot find a better Southerner!  I also bought a cookbook (yes, another one) Gumbo Shop which is a quaint Creole restaurant on Saint Peter Street in New Orleans.  Then with my own additions such as homegrown veggies, homemade bouillon it turned out to be a great recipe made with 3 contributors!

Needless to say this is tomato season right now so I decided to substitute my own tomatoes (some are from a sister who brought the seeds back from Italy), used my own chicken base, my jalapenos and my homegrown garlic that I planted last Fall.  The one ingredient that was not mine was the okra and that was hard to find here in Michigan; finally found some at my local Buschs store.

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Okra and Tomatoes

  • 4 slices bacon, crisply cooked and torn into small pieces for garnish
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (from my garden called Italian Garlic)
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans diced tomatoes (I used my homegrown tomatoes, peeled and seeded instead – see below for instructions on how to peel tomatoes)
  • 1 tbsp. chicken base (find my recipe for chicken bouillon cubes here – much better than what you can buy!)
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 cups fresh okra, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 jalapeno, minced or to taste (optional – I added as this is from my garden)
  • black pepper to taste
  • rice or noodles (as I made this a main dish and not a side I served it over Kluski noodles – I know not the traditional rice!)

Cook the bacon until crisp and set aside.  Add the onions to the drippings and cook until soft; add the garlic the last minute or two.  Add the tomatoes, chicken base, sugar and pepper.  I used a bunch of tomatoes (all of the ones in the pictures) which was enough to make a good sauce.  Stir well and let simmer for about 20 minutes.  Wash okra and  and cut into slices.  Add and simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes. I prefer to not have the okra crunchy at all so I did cook it longer.

Recipe by cooking with aunt juju https://cookingwithauntjuju.com/2014/08/18/new-orleans-okra-and-tomatoes/  

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How to Peel Tomatoes

First make a shallow X in the end (opposite the stem) and place in boiling water.  Count to 25 to 30 seconds and remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a bowl full of ice.  Do not leave the tomatoes in too long as they will begin to soften and cook.  Chill and you can easily  peel them with a knife starting at the X.

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New Orleans!!!

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Cafe du Monde – had some beignets here…

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Sure was hot – celebration birthday drink with a Hurricane at the famous Pat O’Briens.  You can buy a mix online from them or make the recipe below.  This recipe comes from New Orleans Cuisine (only 1 of 4 cookbooks I bought on my trip).

Hurricane

  • 2 oz. amber rum
  • 1/4 cup passion fruit juice
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tsp. superfine sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. grenadine
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • crushed ice cubes
  • orange slice and maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine the rum, pineapple and passion fruit juices and sugar.  Add the grenadine and lime juice; stir to combine.  Add the ice and shake; strain into a cocktail glass  and garnish with an orange slice and maraschino cherry.  

My two sisters sipping away celebrating our birthdays – I had my Merlot 🙂  There are two more locations in Orlando and San Antonio.

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40 thoughts on “New Orleans Okra and Tomatoes

  1. Pingback: Mille Crêpe Cake | Fiesta Friday #29 | The Novice Gardener

  2. What a lovely time you seem to have had and how nice to be sharing it with your sisters as well. Joy of the fabulous blog, Joy the Baker has moved to NO and I have been enjoying her take on the city. I love your version of Okra and Tomatoes – so much better using home made and grown items as much as possible. Until I saw your photo, I always thought that references to use Jalepeno peppers referred to the pickled ones!! Not sure how easy they are to get here but will definitely look out for them now – we do seem to have something that looks similar so will have to do some research! Thanks for sharing your trip and the recipes with us at Fiesta Friday – have a great week!

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    • Yes Selma we had a great time in New Orleans – so much to see and do 🙂 I have seen some of Joy’s posts and just pre-ordered her new book “Homemade Decadence”. I like to bake, I just do not bake that much any more. I am following her now too as I would like to hear more about New Orleans for my next trip there! Thanks for sharing the info and have a super week.

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  3. It sounds like you had a fun trip. If I am in New Orleans, I always stop by the Gumbo Shop for a bowl of their delicious seafood gumbo. Growing up in the south, I have eaten okra lots of ways and like it cooked with tomatoes. Yours had to be great with your homegrown tomatoes.

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    • Thanks Karen – I just looked at my cookbook and found the recipe – “Seafood Okra Gumbo” – apparently it is the most popular dish on the menu! Shrimp and crab – I will have to make this. I need to see if I can find frozen okra as fresh is not in too many stores 🙂

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      • You will love the recipe. Frozen okra is in the markets in my rural area of New Hampshire so I hope you can find in at your local market.

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  4. You make me want to visit “New Orleans” immediately. What a city bustling with life…and the Okra. Thanks for another addition to my Okra repertoire!

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    • It is a fun city and I will be back as my brother-in-law inherited a pecan orchard and it is only a couple of hours from New Orleans. So, of course my sister had to buy another house which means I will visit again 🙂

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  5. I love New Orleans too. I don’t think I would want to be there during Mardi gras. It’s crazy enough the rest of the time. The people are wonderful and so are the beignets!

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  6. Thank you so much for this wonderful post, Aunt Juju. I really love the tomato-okra dish and “how to peel tomatoes”. I am glad that you had a wonderful time. Have a lovely week. ❤

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  7. I have never been in New-Orleans before, it seems to be a very nice place to visit (food and music). I’m glad you had such a lovely time with your sisters and your Okra recipe looks delicious, Judi 🙂

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  8. Lucky you, Judi…a trip to New Orleans with your sisters sounds like the perfect little getaway! As soon as I saw okra in the title of the post, my mind went to the south…and I was right. This dish sounds fabulous and your great photos make me wish I had some now…yummy!

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    • So good to hear from you Nancy! Hard to believe I never tried okra before (maybe I did and just do not remember) especially with a southern husband! The recipe is great, simple with lots of homegrown tomatoes 🙂

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  9. Oh my gosh, Judi. I loved this post! So much fun!!! I would love to visit New Orleans someday. This recipe. I love how you used noodles instead of rice…and all of those flavors, with the bacon, the okra, the tomatoes, jalapenos…. it just sounds fabulous. I’m printing this one as I’m typing this. LOVE. ❤

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