This past week of decompression, sleeping in, swimming, snorkeling (with barracudas!), eating locally grown/raised food, did wonders for our paleo souls. With our day jobs being pretty demanding as of late, the book being out there for you all and such an incredibly rewarding project, and the gym continuing to grow, we felt it imperative to get away and disconnect to recharge and revitalize. And boy, was it worth it!

Now we’re back, energized, and ready to come up with new fun recipes, content and more for you all! (no, we are not penning another book at this very moment. We joke about it, but not just yet!).

Of course, what motivates and inspires us is hearing from all of you. What future recipes are of interest to you? What would you like to see more of? What would help you in your paleo/primal/real food journey? More videos? Less? More recipes? More lifestyle information? More guest posts? You let us know!

And now onto a recipe.

If we told you we had a recipe for “Lady Fingers,” you’d likely be thinking that we were talking about those cookies most commonly served in tiramisu. However, we’re actually talking about a vegetable, namely: OKRA.

A few weeks back, we did a Skype interview with Dean Dwyer of Being Primal, and he joked that he wouldn’t even know okra if it hit him in the head. As someone who grew up north of the Mason-Dixon line (this is Julie writing), I didn’t really have this vast experience with okra. I knew it as a Southern fried food, and often times included in gumbo, and that was it.

A few years back, my very kind brother and sister-in-law gave us tickets to an Outstanding in the Field event here in Georgia (as opposed to “Farm to Table,” Outstanding in the Field brings the table to the farm – we ate next to the very spot where the chickens were hunting and pecking for grubs in the ground). The chef who came out to cook the meal was Top Chef finalist Kevin Gillespie, and he is the one who inspired our Oven Roasted Okra recipe (page 184 in the book). That recipe is the very one that has helped many tried-and-true Southerners (including some of Charles’ family) to realize that okra doesn’t have to be slimy!

I didn’t think okra could get easier or tastier, until our friend (and 50% of the duo who introduced me and Charles) Jeff Hayes cooked up a meal that involved sautéed okra. Super easy, super tasty, and a great veggie to use up the last okra of the season. I know other friends are fans of grilled okra too. So many ways to prepare this one vegetable!

Before the recipe, a few things about okra: It’s believed to have originated in Africa, and many other cultures use okra in their dishes (for example, okra is very common in Indian cuisine). This posting includes a great run down as to the nutritional benefits of okra (though the references aren’t cited, so I cannot speak to the validity). This link also includes some of the okra nutrition facts, along with how to freeze your own okra. Charles is a big fan of pickled okra, and we usually try to do up a few jars of the stuff (unless we’ve eaten all the okra from our garden, which is very likely!). We encourage you next time you see okra on a menu or at your local farmer’s market to go ahead and try some. Okra is a great veg to include in your Whole30 – so have at it!

Sautéed OkraPaleo Comfort Foods - Sauteed okra
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Yield: approximately 5 cups of cooked okra

2 tablespoons ghee (clarified, grassfed butter) or coconut oil
1 pound okra, washed, and cut in half lengthwise
1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the skillet over medium heat. Add in the ghee once the pan is hot.
2. Add in the okra, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper and stir.
3. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, allowing okra to become somewhat browned (about 1o minutes). If you prefer a crispier okra, cook longer to get to that crispy point (about 5-10 minutes longer).
4. Serve hot!

I get a little sad with the end of summer, knowing that I’ll be saying goodbye to our okra, tomatoes, basil, peppers, and other summertime staples in our house. However, until it’s all gone, we’ll continue to enjoy!

Have any of you tried okra? What’s your favorite way to enjoy this Southern favorite? Any non-Southerners out there who have given this veg a shot?

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