It was from my Granny that I learned my love of food. Her bread–baked fresh regularly–was amazing. We lived down the road, I swear I could smell it baking and would rush over to Granny’s house. When it came out of the oven, she’d slice it, slather it with butter, and OMG, it was divine. Crispy, flaky crust giving way to soft slightly sweet bread, buttery and comforting right down to your very soul. That’s how Granny makes everything–simply and with so much love you could taste it.
In my humble opinion, that truly is the secret to making out of this world dishes and delicacies. Anytime I make something amazing, I always think of Granny (even if it’s to know that I have to make her something the next time I’m at home) and it’s how I keep my connection with her, no matter where I am on this great, big planet. It’s rather comforting for someone who strays so far from home for extended periods of time. And anytime I’m feeling really homesick, I make Granny’s Gumbo, eaten with freshly baked Italian or French bread. They’re not as good as Granny’s, but will do in a pinch–besides, Granny has declared herself “too damn old” to cook or bake anymore–so I’ve been on an extensive search to find something close. Alas, I think perhaps I should embark on bread baking…but until then, I’ll just defer to local bakeries.
But I digress (btw, I do that a lot!)…Granny’s Gumbo. Now, before you start in about how this isn’t real gumbo. It is to me because, well, that’s what Granny always called it. I asked her once about it and she said she didn’t have time for all that fancy Louisiana stuff–all she knew is that gumbo was stew with okra and tomatoes and so that’s what she created. Of course, Granny always used fresh from the garden veggies–and since fresh okra isn’t always easily found (especially in New York City), I’ve created this recipe that you can make year round–which is great for me, because I find it’s a great cold & rainy night dish (not to mention, it’s rather inexpensive and very healthy–which means it’s a great meal to help stretch your pennies until payday!) So suck it up and learn to like okra!
- 1 medium onion dice
- 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups of diced tomatoes
- 1 bag of frozen okra
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
In a large pan (I use my wok) saute’ onions & garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add the okra and tomatoes and season with salt & pepper. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until okra and tomatoes are cooked. Yep, it’s that easy. As previously mentioned, I serve with a slice (or two!) of French or Italian bread.
Bon appetite, ya’ll!