Monday, January 6, 2014

2014: The Year JTFF Made a Comeback!

Hello?  Is anyone still out there?   It's been a while.  (818 days to be exact).  I'm not really sure why I took such a long break, but I guess life just got busy.  I still love to cook.  I still love to try new recipes.  And I still share the really good ones with my friends & family.  However, blogging step-by-step recipes with pictures is quite time consuming and therefore fell to the wayside when my plate got full.  (No pun intended). 

Recently, several people have mentioned to me they really missed Journey to Fabulous Foods and wished I would bring it back.  Well, it's a new year and I thought I'd give it a shot!  In order to try & make things more simple, I'm going to share recipes with just a few snapshots of each.  If there is a step that I think would be better understood with a picture, I'll throw that in, of course.   Besides, y'all know I like to stick with simple recipes 90% of the time and you don't need pictures for those.  On the rare occasion that I do something more complicated, I'll go into more detail.  I'm also hoping to upgrade the blog to include a better search function & an easy-to-print recipe card.  We'll get to that eventually.  More than anything, I just want to share recipes with others when I find dishes worth making. 

Before I move on to sharing a recipe, there's one other change/addition to this blog that I'm excited about....


Since I last blogged, The Hubs and I built and moved into a new home in the "country."  We absolutely love it!  When we were designing the house, the kitchen was my main area of concentration.  Thankfully, my wonderful husband let me have (pretty much) exactly what I wanted.  I love it!  It is perfect for entertaining, which we done A LOT of since we moved in.  (Note: This picture was taken before we moved it.  I promise it has more decoration - and more of a mess - now).  I can't promise my photographs will be any better, but they will have a new backdrop!

And now...on to what you really came here for: a recipe!  We'll start with an easy one, Okra with Stewed Tomatoes.  I love okra - pickled, fried, stewed, grilled, it doesn't matter.  I like it all.  Some people don't care for the slimy texture of okra, but when when cooked over low heat for a long time, that sliminess goes away and acts as a thickening agent for the "sauce" in this dish. 

Okra with Stewed Tomatoes

  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 lb fresh okra, sliced 
  • 1 (14oz.) can diced tomatoes (with juice)
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven.   Add okra, tomatoes, shallots, onions & garlic.  Saute for 2-3 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper & Cajun seasoning.  Stir in 1/4 cup chicken stock.  Cover and set heat to low.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.  If the okra starts to stick to the bottom, add another splash of chicken stock.  (I ended up using the whole 1/2 cup).

Yields: 4 servings with about 70 calories each.

My Tid-Bits:

* Start with 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning.  If you like more spice, add more.  You just don't want the dish to get too salty.

 "Slap Ya Mama" is The Hubs favorite Cajun seasoning. 

* If you like things really spicy, use diced tomatoes with green chiles (aka Ro-Tel).  Just be sure you buy a larger can.  The small one isn't enough. 

* To make this side dish into a full mean, throw some peeled, raw shrimp in the pot during the last 5 minutes of cooking and serve over rice.

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