Adventures in Gluten (and Sugar) Freedom from a southern blogger chick!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Field peas, fried okra, corn and cornbread!

It's New Year's Day at the Miller abode! I have been thinking all day about the year in front of me, and tonight I'm fixing a traditional southern New Year's Dinner -- field peas (black-eyed peas, no humps), fried okra, fried corn, cornbread, tomatoes and bar-b-que chicken. Our dear friend Larry will be over for dinner in an hour, so I've only got a few minutes to write for now.

All gluten free!

Today has been very New Year's like, somewhat bittersweet. In an "Auld Lang Syne" kind of way, I've said good-bye for now to my YMCA water buddies -- Florence, Sandy, Cookie, Connie, Ann, Tony and Richard, plus our lunch buddy, Louie. We all went to Tijuana Flats for lunch and had a lovely time and exchanged email addresses. Randy will see them every time he goes to work out at the Y, but I won't see them til late September. I'll miss them all -- I'm sad Mary Ellen and Maggie weren't there, as I'll miss them, too. And I also said bye to Connie, who has been such fun in another class. These folks have been a great deal of fun this summer. We talked about food and vacations and movies and cruises and Prince William and Paris Hilton. And on Fridays, we went to lunch (I know, work out and head to lunch. GREAT FUN!) I have to say I will especially miss Florence, because she reminds me of my mom. That, and I am envious of her tattoo....

On to recipes for dinner:

How do I make fried okra gluten free? I have always done fried okra one way -- I cut fresh okra into small rounds and dust it with corn meal mix. Since I gave that Martha White stuff up ('s the best) I will sprinkle it with cornmeal only and fry it in canola oil. Cut it into little pieces and put in a bowl, then let the cornmeal adhere to the "okra juice." It makes wonderful, crispy fried okra (I got in the mood for it last night at dinner, but since they didn't know if it was battered in flour or not, I passed).

The peas are easy, as is the corn. Peas get gently boiled with a little bit of seasoning, and I will fry the corn in a little olive oil and butter in a wok until it's crisp tender. I use frozen bagged silver queen with no additives (which I get at the Fresh Market). You can use plain on frozen niblets, too. Works fine. Salt and pepper when finished.

Now, the cornbread is cool. I've seen other people offer a recipe for corn bread, but mine is southern style. First, you heat your DCS (dedicated cornbread skillet - you have one, right? Cast iron, perfectly seasoned?) at 425 with 1/4 cup or so of canola oil (I used to use Crisco, but this works fine). Use an oil that can hold the high heat.


1 cup cornmeal (stone ground is best)
3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour (or 1 cup of a non-sweet mix)
1 heaping t. Zanthan gum
1 t. baking powder (GF)
1 t. salt
2 eggs beaten (or egg substitute if you must)
1 1/4 c. buttermilk (or any milk will do, even soy, but we like buttermilk) or perhaps a little more
1/4 c. plus 2 T. oil for the frying pan

Mix wet and dry and incorporate wet into dry. Pour all but a little bit of the hot oil from the frying pan in the mixture (leave enough hot oil to cover the bottom) and stir quickly (it will sizzle), the pour the batter back into the frying pan (it will also sizzle). THIS is the key to that crunchy crust we love so much. Bake 20 minutes at 425 degrees until golden brown. Take it out and invert it on a place, and serve it bottom up to show off the crust! (OK you can flip it if you want to. Your choice.) It will be fluffy and beautiful. Leftovers, if there are any, are delicious split and buttered and popped under the broiler.

Please note: NO SUGAR, please, I'm southern. If you're not and want to add it, go ahead, but to us, that's a sacrilege. And if you don't have a DCS (or corn stick pan, either one) then do this in a dark/heavy 8 by 8 pan. Don't use the silicone stuff for this - ouch.

This is the second recipe I experimented with as I've started cooking GF, as it's an essential in my house. I can eat off a pan of corn bread for about week myself, and it's GREAT in soup or chili, or topped with pinto beans and chopped onions. Or crumble it in a glass of milk even works for this!

I added some sliced tomato from my Daddy's garden, and voila (or VWA-LAH, as some of students have written in the past).

Happy New Years! And much love in my new year!

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