Friday, April 5, 2013

Flavors of the Bayou: Crab Stuffed Okra Poppers Recipe & Story Excerpt

Hi, y'all! I'm honored to present Linda Joyce, a sister writer and foodie. So wonderful to meet friends who enjoy some of my favorite things -- good food and good books! 

I’m excited to spend time with Rashda and the good readers of Hot Curries and Cold Beer. Thank you for having me as a guest.

And no good guest comes present-less to a party, therefore I’m offering a giveaway. For everyone who leaves a message here, their name will be entered into a drawing for a goodie bag from me. The delights of the prize are related to cooking, things I picked up when in New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

Remember, you must leave a message along with your email address to be entered to win.

In Rashda’s post Finger Lickin’ Good Curried Ribs on 2/8/13, she mentioned Mardi Gras. Well, Rashda is to Food and Texas what I am to Southern cooking and Mardi Gras. And one cannot possibly be from The Big Easy, Baby! without having a love of food. However, I got a double whammy. I’m an Irish/Cajun New Orleanian and half Japanese, too. Isn’t that a culinary treat! *grins*

Per the definition of Foodie from the Urban Dictionary 
My interest in food fits definition #1.

A person that spends a keen amount of attention and energy on knowing the ingredients of food, the proper preparation of food, and finds great enjoyment in top-notch ingredients and exemplary preparation...

I enjoy simple food, for example, oysters. They’re luscious when raw on the half shell or roasted with drizzled garlic butter or in seafood gumbo or just deep-fried. A most versatile frutti di mare.

Now, my gumbo recipe is a closely guarded secret. However, if you come to my house, you know you’re really special if I make Crab Stuffed Okra Poppers. Of course, okra has to be in season—I pick it from my husband’s organic garden. Here’s the recipe:

Crab Stuffed Okra Poppers

Begin by making the dipping sauce: Remoulade sauce. It needs to chill while making the Okra Poppers.

Mix together in a glass bowl:

1 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
3 tsp. chopped parsley
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. sweet pickle relish
1/2 c. ketchup
1 tsp. horseradish (or to taste)
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Dash paprika

Now for the Poppers

Heat oil to 375 degrees in a large deep pot when ready for deep frying poppers.

1) Start with about 20 fresh, young okra, about the size of your middle finger.
Wash, dry, and cut long ways.
It helps if the cut is a 1/3 to 2/3 split so the smaller part will become the “hat,” so to speak, of the okra pod. Keep both pieces together until stuffing.
Remove seeds.

2) Make Dredge:  Combine in a flat pan (I use a pie pan)
1 c. Panko
1 c Bread crumbs
¼ tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper
½ tsp. cayenne pepper if you like a little bite.

3) Dredge: Beat together in bowl
1 large egg (or 2 small)
½ c dry white wine. (wine can be omitted. May have to add another egg)
Dash of salt

4) Make Crab Stuffing:

1 cup crabmeat
½ c. bread crumbs, or panko
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. mustard (I prefer a Dijon)
1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1 egg, beaten
5 tbsp. real mayonnaise
Salt to taste.

Gently combine all ingredients in a bowl.

5) A - Stuff okra with crab. Pack gently. Replace “hat” so pod looks whole again.
    B - Dip stuffed okra pod into Drench
    C - Dip pod into Dredge
    D - Deep fry 4 to 6 for about 1-2 minutes, until golden brown.
    E - Remove from oil and drain on plate with paper towel.

Serve warm Okra Poppers with chilled Remoulade Sauce. Bon Appetite!

Yes, I am a foodie and it’s part of my heritage and culture. I’m also a writer, and there’s no better way to immerse a reader in setting and culture than by including food in my story.

In my novel, Bayou Born, Branna is having lunch for the first time with James, and this is what ensues:

   “I’ll have the side salad, the garden-salad sandwich and lemonade. Fresh squeezed lemonade. You don’t find that every day.” She looked up into the waitress’ plastic smile, then handed over the menu.

     “Garden sandwich?” James asked. “Not the special? Don’t tell me you’re one of those women who only eats rabbit food. Or don’t you eat southern?”

     What did he mean by that? “Of course I eat southern cooking. I’m from Mississippi. My daddy’s family is from Loosy-ana. My comfort food may be different than yours—there was no seafood gumbo or jambalaya or stuffed mirlitons on the menu—but I promise you my comfort food is southern. I happen to like what the menu says about the specialty sandwich.” She cocked her head, daring him to challenge her decision.

     “Mur-la what?” the waitress asked.

     “Chayote squash or vegetable pear at the grocery store,” James answered. “I want the fried grouper sandwich with fries, please.”

If you want to know more about Branna and James in Bayou Born, the book is available for Kindle now. It will be available in print at Amazon and The Wild Rose Press in mid-April, and Barnes and Noble mid-May.

I invite you over to my place at and please join me at Linda Joyce Contemplates where I blog.

Twitter: @LJWriter

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April Cover Girl for Miss Millennia

Miss Millenia Magazine

April 2013

So, wow. I'm April's Lady Lennia and theme is Giving Back. I was chosen because of my UNICEF project with A Tale of Two Djinns. Totally humbled and honored. And grateful.

You do what you can and sometimes the Universe answers back in wonderful ways. If I had to be on the cover of a magazine (Lol, what a hardship...not!), I couldn't imagine a better one than Miss Millennia. It seeks to inspire, encourage and empower young women. Again, wow.

They asked me to blog with them for all of April. I'm going to use this opportunity to share about things that concern me: violence against women, human rights, poverty, equality, courage and community. I'm also going  to share about projects close to my heart: UNICEF, the Peace Ambassadors of West Texas, Valentines at the Soup Kitchen. And, of course, I'm going to share about people who inspire me.

Thank you, Universe!

If you are interested, here's my Miss Millennia interview. I'll keep you updated about the blogs.