My love for okra blossoms more and more each day. Even as a kid, I loved eating tons of pickled okra which was readily available at grocery stores in New Orleans. 

I frequent my local produce junction biweekly and often buy large bags of whole fresh okra.  There was such an excess of okra in my fridge that I started to eat the okra raw which turns out to be an amazing, crunchy, delicious snack-try it!  I also started pickling my own okra since it is quite difficult to find in the Northeast. 

Okra has so much to offer!  Packed with Vitamin A, Potassium, and folic Acid, okra is a tasty addition to a healthy diet.  Okra is said to be excellent for eliminating inflammation in the stomach and lungs.  With all of okra's health benefits, pleasant taste, and satisfying crunch why aren't more people telling me how they love okra?  

I love it raw, pickled, fried, sauteed, stir fried, stewed, and in gumbo or soups.  I suggest trying your first okra dish simply by sauteing the okra in a bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil on high heat. This quick method retains the texture and nutritional elements of the fruit.  

First wash and cut the fresh whole okra.  Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan on medium to high heat.  Add a dash of crushed red pepper to the oil to heat the dish.  Next put the cut okra pieces in the saute pan and coat well with the oil.  Salt and pepper the okra at this time and cook on high for 5 minutes.  Add a quarter cup of water to the pan.  Cover the pan and cook for another 5 minutes.  Uncover and add 1 teaspoon grated or minced garlic and the tomatoes.  Mix the garlic to distribute it well throughout the pan.  The fresh garlic will burn easily, so watch carefully.  Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 2-3 minutes. Feel free to onions, hot sauce or Tony's Chachere's.  If you don't know what Tony's Chachere is then you must learn!  Tony's Chachere's is the perfect Cajun seasoning mix nearly required for Cajun or Creole cooking.  Check out your local grocery store for it or even get it online.

Quick Okra and Tomatoes

16 oz. fresh whole okra, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes (cut in half if large)
2-3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp grated or minced garlic
1/4 cup water
dash of crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste

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