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Western Colorado adaptations for authentic Southern-style food

By Penny Stine

Although I joke that I'm from the South (Cheyenne is in the southern portion of Wyoming, you know), I didn't grow up eating okra. In fact, I'm not sure that I ever ate okra before I planted it this year.
I am a big believer in growing experimental veggies just for kicks, however. Once they grow, I usually have to figure out what to do with them, which is how I began my still ongoing experiments with tomatillos. My okra still isn't producing a lot, but I pan-fried the first few, which was pretty tasty. 




Then I decided to make jambalaya the next time I had a spare okra.
That's right. I had one okra.

But I also had a pattypan squash, a boatload of tomatillos, some peppers, onions, garlic and a couple tomatoes, so I figured I had plenty of ingredients for my jambalaya.


Especially after I added sausage, rice and shrimp.




The result was pretty tasty.


My okra is starting to produce a little more, so I looked at recipes for gumbo, which is now on my menu for tomorrow night. While looking at gumbo recipes, I discovered that while okra seems to be essential for gumbo, it's not usually included in jambalaya.
Oh well. Jambalaya also normally includes the trinity of celery, onions and peppers. I had no celery in my garden, so it didn't get included in my jambalaya.
I'm sure tomatillos will be part of the gumbo plan, since my plants have started producing enough for me and my village. 


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