Cooking with Bwog: Memories of Chamblee, Georgia

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Welcome back to Cooking with Bwog. Bwog’s resident chef is doing a one-week tour at a Navy mess hall, but in her absence we present a full Southern meal, a recipe that was handed down for generations after this week’s chef’s family had forfeited all its Southern roots by moving to New England in the 1920s. Enjoy now, y’hear?

OkraFried Okra

1 package okra (shoot for 3/4 lb)

about 1/4 cup white flour

Vegetable oil

Okra can be obtained at West Side Market. This is frankly unbelievable, seeing as it is currently early March. Don’t take it for granted.

Okra gets a bad rap because most people haven’t had it cooked correctly. In fact, the one true way to make okra is to fry it, ridding it of the goopiness that damages its reputation in soups. Chop the stub ends off each piece of okra (not the pointy ends, though, which are delicious) and discard them. Slice the okra into 1/4″ thick pieces, lengthwise. Put it in a bowl with the flour, cover and shake.

Cover a medium-sized skillet with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Fry the floured okra until most of the oil has been soaked up, then for another 5-10 minutes until crispy and well-browned. Serve on a paper towel, for your arteries’ sake.

Collard GreensCollards Pasta

1 bunch fresh collard greens

1/4 cup light olive oil (extra virgin will do in a pinch)

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons dried bell pepper flakes (dry on a plate in advance, or buy them in a jar)

2 dashes red wine vinegar

1/2 package each of spinach/egg fettuccine

Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste

Boil the fettuccine. (Hopefully you have a large pot.) While you’re waiting, wash the collard greens and chop then up, including the stems, into pieces no bigger than an inch and a half across.

Put the garlic and pepper flakes into a pan with olive oil on high heat for ten seconds. Olive oil has low smoking and flash points; don’t let it catch fire or start billowing smoke. If it does, turn the burner off, smother the flames, and call your mother to ask her to mail you some pre-cooked food.

Add the chopped collards to the pan. Keep them moving! Toss them constantly until they wilt visibly and are charred slightly around the edges. Throw the red wine vinegar in there. Don’t be shy, it’s delicious. Grate a bit of Parmesan over the top. Don’t stop tossing the collards! Add the pasta, mix it and serve right away.

Thanks to the intrinsic awesomeness of fettuccine, this is also great as leftovers.

Paprika, flour, chickenVaguely Healthy Fried Chicken

1 package chicken parts, cut small (Shoot for 2 lbs.)

1 teaspoon ground rosemary (Bwog is allergic, but you go right ahead)

Several shakes of paprika

Several shakes of garlic powder

Even more several shakes of celery salt

Pinch of savory (don’t go out of your way to buy savory, though)

1 heaping cup all-purpose flour

Mix the flour and spices in a big bowl. A good guideline for the spice mixture is that it should be an aesthetically pleasing, very subtle pink. Rinse off your chicken and drain it, then toss it around in the flour mixture until it’s good and breaded.

In a large, thick-bottomed skillet, fry the chicken over medium heat. Make sure you use a nonstick skillet, or you’re liable to lose the breading. Fry for about five minutes without disturbing it until it’s golden, then flip it over and do five on the other side. If it’s a pleasing color, cover the pan and let it simmer on lowish heat for 15-20 minutes. (Now’s a good time to make garlic mashed potatoes.)

Remove the cover. For good measure, toss the chicken around on medium heat to get the sides nice and crispy, then serve it. Eating all of these at once provides 300% the USDA monthly requirement of flour and oil.

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  1. DHI  

    Fried okra is fucking great. When I was a little kid I went to a Luby's with my grandparents and they suggested I get some fried okra, I was like "okay, I don't know what that is" and it was really delicious. Of course I got better fried okra later, so it was only upwards from there.

    Yes it is necessary to tell my LIFE STORY. You getting this for free right now. You don't gotta buy the book.

  2. DHI  

    But, are you implying that okra is no good in gumbo?

  3. Foodie  

    Well, the whole point of putting okra into soup is to take advantage of its ability to thicken broths. In fact, that is the reason why gumbo is called was originally thickened using gombo, another West African name for okra.

  4. Coonass  

    anyone that says Okra is no good in gumbo needs to be dragged into the street and shot. Okra is what makes gumbo gumbo, and not soup.

    I also like smothered okra.

  5. really  

    i didn't know okra had a bad rap? you must have never had gumbo or pickled okra. then again if all of the Southern roots were "forfeited", how could one expect this piece to be authoritative?

  6. cyang  

    I was excited when I saw Kitchen Cabinet @ ADP on the sidebar until I realized they were a band...

  7. Mofo  

    White people, introduce yourself to the loveliness that is Bhindi (Indian-style okra). Only the browns know how to get down with okra. All else is cheap imitation.

  8. a real Southerner

    This recipe for collard greens is amazingly appalling and should not be consumed under any circumstances.

  9. cut crosswise  

    cut crosswise, not lengthwise (do as the photo shows)

    • ZvS  

      Ah, you're right. I actually like to do both, anyway, but only because I forget the vocabulary.

      Anyhoo, as far as #13 goes: I probably ate this once a week for twenty years. I assure you it's quite edible, even without hamhock.

  10. okra fan  

    I like it deep fried. Just don't try to heat a pot of oil on a Columbia appliance. I once started an oil fire trying to use a questionable range. Use a gas stove instead of an electric range if you're boiling oil!

  11. jpm  

    I like the "chicken" tag. It's a nice throwback.

  12. Anon

    I think okras bad rap is nonexistent, but clamed as reality in order for chefs to use okra in a recipe and then say "see! Okra is actually awesome!" there was a whole good eats episode like this. Although I am not gettin down on good eats. Alton brown is the shit and that show is amazing.

  13. Favorite Food  


  14. right.  

    chamblee is like the least southern part of georgia EVER

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