Well, the odds were good that it would happen… after spending many tortured years in Art School together, writing music and playing in a band together: we got a bit “synced up”. We have always had complimentary creative processes, and we understand each other’s’ thought patterns.
Totally independently of one another, and while both striving for something unique:
WE BOTH WORE THE SAME DRESS TO THE PARTY!
Oh, Horror of Horrors!
This week, in the Militant Foodie vs Somerland Farms Throwdown, YOU DECIDE!
Who wore it Better?
Okra without the slime? You bet! My second dish was a twist on the Western India recipe for Bharwan Bhindi. Basically, Cheese stuffed okra grilled over mesquite coals.
8 pods of okra
8 slices Morning Star Farms “Bacon” Strips (or thick, real bacon for the carnivores)
1 8-ounce container chive cream cheese, softened
½ cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
onion powder & sea salt.
Half okra lengthwise and hollow out the seeds.
In a bowl, mix cream cheese, shredded cheese & season to taste.
Stuff cheese mixture into okra and wrap with 1 slice of “bacon.”
Place on grill over medium flames and cook until the okra is tender, being careful not to burn the bacon.
Serve as an appetizer with a dip of your choice or as a side. This dish compliments any entree with which it’s served.
*Don’t forget to Check out all the Amazing things Sherry is bringing to fruition at Somerland Farms: Your Personal Gardener!
I went almost 20 years without ever giving Bacon a thought. I never missed it. However, with its (weird) rise in pop-culture dominance, not just on the breakfast plate, but on t-shirts, memes, air fresheners & wrapping paper… I decide to experiment with some vegetarian bacon substitutes.
It was then that I realized how much I desperately craved salty, smoky, crunchy elements in some of my dishes! Vegetarian Bacons totally refreshed my tired-old veggie sandwiches, vegan mac-n-cheese, and breakfast quiches.
Emboldened by my recent Eggplant successes I decided to use Japanese Eggplant to make a “Facon” for grilling with fresh okra. In fact, the prep for Eggplant Facon is so similar to the prep for making low-carb-lasagna-“noodles”, that it would be a fantastic time-saver to make enough to use in both recipes!
AmbeR’s Grilled Okra Wrapped in Eggplant “Facon”
1 tsp real maple syrup
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
1 dash smoked paprika
2 japanese eggplant (peeled)
10-12 fresh okra pods
¼ cup sea salt + 6-8 cups water (for brine)
In a large pot/bowl, stir the salt into the water until it is dissolved. This is your “brine”.
Cut the peeled eggplants into long, thin strips, approximately 1/8 inch thick (if you have a mandolin and a ridged blade, this is a wonderful time to use it. Neglect the guard at your own risk. Nobody likes a bloody eggplant!)
Submerge the eggplant strips in the brine for at least 20 minutes.
Spread the eggplant strips out on an absorbent surface and allow to air-dry for several hours (*you can also sandwich the eggplant strips between layers of absorbent material and press the moisture out. You are not trying to make the strips thinner, just dryer).
**if you intend to use a portion of the eggplant strips to make eggplant lasagna, set those aside now and do not follow any more of these instructions with them.
Combine the paprika, maple syrup, liquid smoke, olive oil, liquid aminos (or soy sauce) and apple cider vinegar. Marinate the eggplant strips in this mixture for at least one hour, or until you are ready to grill.
Wrap a strip of eggplant “Facon” around each okra pod and secure with a toothpick. Grill over medium coals/ flame, turning periodically to keep from burning.
***grilling tip: I soak wooden toothpicks and skewers in water before assembling this type project. The saturated wood is less likely to catch fire and drop the food.