Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cheese with Tomatoes and Okra

I tend to think of casseroles in the fall or winter. Summer should be salads and barbeques and picnics, right? Casserole Cookery: One-Dish Meals for the Busy Gourmet defies expectations, and delivers up a seasonal summer vegetable casserole.
Cheese with Tomatoes and Okra

Time: 1 hour

4 medium-sized fresh tomatoes
1 pint okra
1 pound rattrap cheese diced
1 spring onion, tops and bottom chopped
salt and pepper

Butter deep casserole. Slice, but do not peel tomatoes. Cut tips and stems from okra pods. Dice cheese and chop onion. Arrange in layers in casserole, first a layer of tomato, then a layer of okra, then a sprinkling of onion, salt and pepper, and finally the cheese. Repeat until all ingredients are used, cover and bake in a medium oven (350°) for 40 minutes. Serves 4.

Cheese with tomatoes and okra
Beet salad: Beets stuffed with mixture of lemon juice, chopped pickle, chopped spiced beets, mayonnaise, served on lettuce
Italian bread cut in hunks

From our Southern cousins. Very inexpensive. Very easy to prepare.

Very suspect salad suggestion. I mean, seriously... I love beets. I love pickles. I love spiced beets. I love mayonnaise. I do not want to chop up most of those things and then shove 'em in another, and serve it on lettuce. No. No, thank you.

"Rattrap cheese" isn't an ingredient I'm familiar with. My initial thought was "Velveeta" or other processed-to-hell-but-deliciously-meltable cheese. Some modern-day research (can we call Googling a term "research"?) points instead to...


Yes, cheddar. Nothing fancy, nothing imported, nothing expensive. American cheddar, including/especially the dried out and unsavory bits that you wouldn't want to eat yourself, but might be used in an iconic rat trap.

I love it when the story behind words makes such neat and colorful sense.

Also, don't be scared off by the okra. Honest! Okra can be your friend! If you're really wigged out by the notion, I suggest you try some dry-fried okra to ease you into the wonderful veg. Alton Brown has a great episode of Good Eats devoted entirely to this unfairly maligned vegetable; the dry-fry recipe comes from that.


  1. I think I'm going to have to make this, if I can find the okra. Yummy! Maybe pepperjack or colby jack cheese would be a bit more flavorful.

  2. Truth be told, I'd probably stick with a cheddar, but only because my fridge is always stocked with Tillamook. Mmmm, Tillamook.

    Of course, I also have Tillamook pepper jack in the fridge...

    I would never use Tillamook as rat bait. MAN bait, sure; have done, will do again.

    Mmmm, Tillamook!

  3. Tillamook works as man bait? Perhaps that's why it's one of the things I can get with my WIC vouchers. ;) Behold the power of cheese!

  4. Oh, golly, YES. Tillamook is the best darned way to snare a cheese-lovin' man (and they're the only kind of men worth snaring, IMHO).