Put a new spicy twist on fresh okra from the garden.
Four, 4x7-inch sheets nori or soy paper 3 cups prepared Traditional Sushi Rice (recipe below) 8 green beans, trimmed and blanched 1 4-inch long carrot, cut into matchstick strips 8 large pieces of pickled okra 1⁄4 of a small red bell pepper, cut into matchstick strips 4 tsp. cream cheese, softened 4 tsp. corn kernels, blanched 2 tsp. minced green onion, green parts only 2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds Place one sheet of nori on a bamboo rolling mat. Be sure that the short end is parallel to the bottom of the mat and that the rough side is facing upwards. Wet your fingertips and spread about 3⁄4 cup of the prepared sushi rice evenly over the bottom 3⁄4 of the nori. Arrange two green beans in the center of the rice. Top with 1⁄4 of the carrot matchsticks and two of the pickled okra pieces. Add 1⁄4 of the red bell pepper matchsticks. Smear 1 teaspoon of cream cheese across the rice. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of corn kernels, 1⁄2 teaspoon green onions and 1⁄2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds across the fillings. Wet your fingertips again and slide your thumbs underneath the mat while grasping the fillings with all other fingertips. Roll the bottom of the mat just over the fillings
Burkville, Alabama’s annual Okra Festival sustains its rural community in more ways than one. by Amanda Burleigh The 10th annual Okra Festival will be held in Burkville, Alabama, on August 28 this year. What started as a neighborhood party thrown by two friends in Lowndes County has blossomed into an annual festival drawing thousands of people to this small town located outside Montgomery. “Everybody in my little community grows the mighty okra, which we call ‘the peoples’ vegetable,’” says festival co-founder Barbara Evans. “It’s like us, strong, Southern, can withstand anything and keep going.” After the success of the first festival, Evans says townspeople wanted it to continue. “Local people cook all kinds of food, from pig ear sandwiches to gumbo. Okra is fried, steamed, stewed, boiled and used in art,” she says. But that’s not all. Festival goers will also find okra casseroles, hors d’oeuvres, pie and pickled okra. Sunny Boy King, a local bluesman, has been performing from Evans’ front porch, located on the festival grounds, since the second year. Vendors sell art, preserves and crafts, and there is even the occasional yard sale. “One year we had pony rides, but it was just too hot for the ponies,” says Evans, pictured