Lately, for reasons that are not entirely clear to me, the food in my book, Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home, has gotten many more mentions than I ever would have expected. After all, my book is, in essence, the story of my family’s journey through the recession. And it’s a love story, too. But, what people are responding to, I think, is the way I fit food into my everyday. To me, what we eat, what we think about food and, more importantly, how we feel about food is just a part of our larger narrative—not to mention this is one of those things we do with regularity every single day and it often conjures up lots of emotion and desire.
Now, during book promotion you meet all kinds of amazing people, both in cyber space and in the real spaces of bookstores. Sometimes you get to meet other authors because you’re reading at the same event. I met Cheryl Tan, author of The Tiger in the Kitchen, this spring in Florida and we immediately connected. Cheryl then introduced me to the “Let’s Lunch” crowd on Twitter and so, here I am, today doing a “Let’s Lunch” blog.
Today’s theme is breakfast for lunch. I decided to open my book and find some of the foods I love (and wrote about) and see if I couldn’t come up with something breakfasty that was hearty enough for a lunch.
First, I wanted okra. I’m ready for summer already and when I think of okra, I think of warm sun and mornings that turn breakfast into lunch just because you’ve been lazing around for so long! Okra is something I write about some in my book because when I was younger I used to think it was , as I write in Made for You and Me, a “slimy, disgusting mess.” But when I was in my late twenties and living in New York City, I worked at a Farmer’s Market and started bringing bags of everything I was selling home. Okra was often in those big bags. I figured out a way to cook it that pleased me: I’d thinly slice it into rounds and then fry it with some freshly chopped Serrano pepper in olive oil and salt and serve it as a side dish to accompany steak or, for brunch, with a fried egg on top. Later, when Dan and I were broke in LA and needed to make filling food cheaply, we often bought okra at the farmer’s market because it’s full of fiber and, fried crispy the way I like it, always seems special.
So, after I chopped up the Okra I started thinking about what was needed to go with it. A fried egg, of course to make it breakfasty, but that wasn’t enough. I needed something else. Biscuits! In my book I mention that I make Fannie Farmer’s Baking Powder Biscuits (pg. 544 in her cookbook) all the time—to go with soups, or breakfast, or lunch. They take about 15-20 minutes, TOTAL time. So, I did my usual blend of half whole wheat and half white and put those in the oven (my son, Master M. was busy helping me).
When the biscuits came out, I fried the eggs and placed them on top of the fried okra coins. I pulled out a jar of last summer’s plum jam from the pantry and, voila!, we had a homespun, filling, delicious lunch of gooey egg, Serrano spiced okra, and homemade biscuits with plum jam. I’m so full now; I think I need to take a nap!
Make Fannie Famer’s Baking Powder Biscuits. Page 544 in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook:
2 cups flour. I use ½ white and ½ whole wheat.
½ tsp salt
I use 3 teaspoons of Baking Powder, not the 4 she calls for (hers has too much!)
1 tbs. sugar
½ cup shortening (I use butter or sunflower oil)
2/3 cup milk (or I use water).
Preheat oven to 425. Grease a caste iron skillet or pie plate. Mix it all together. Fannie tells you to knead this 14 times. I do not. I just mush it all together until it’s a nice, soft, elastic ball and then I flatten it into the greased skillet and bake. They are done when a fork comes out clean from the center and the edges.
Meanwhile, before you pop the biscuit dough in the oven, chop in thin rounds a good bunch of okra (I usually do a pound to a pound and a half). Chop finely one Serrano pepper. Throw the pepper in a pan and add a generous amount of olive oil and salt. Add the okra and swirl around so the okra is coated with oil.
Now pop the biscuits in the oven.
Then, turn up the heat to medium and cook until the okra rounds are crispy, not sticky, and are light golden, to darker brown at the edges.
When the Okra is done, pile it on the plate and add a fried egg. Complete with a nice hunk of biscuit and some butter and jam.
This meal is satisfying enough for any time of day.
To read more about Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home please visit my website at www.caitlinshetterly.com.
To read the blog that inspired the book go to www.caitdangowest.squarespace.com.
AND if you want to order the book, Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home please click here.
* Photos by my hubby, Daniel E. Davis, photographer extraordinaire.
AND DON’T FORGET THE OTHER LET’S LUNCHERS WHO JOINED IN ON THE FUN:
Cathy‘s Frittata Ribbon Salad with Honey-Bacon Vinaigrette at Showfood Chef
Denise‘s Vanilla Yogurt Pancakes at Chez Us
Linda‘s Cinnamon Roll French Toast Sticks at Free Range Cookies
Rashda‘s Sweet Potato and 2-Pepper Hash with Fried Egg and Avocado at Hot Curries & Cold Beer
Cheryl‘s Breakfast Tacos at A Tiger in the Kitchen