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When I opened our Farm Box from Berry Farms last week, I found a bunch of fresh okra. Being from the north, I sort of freaked out a little bit since I have never actually cooked with fresh okra before. Sure I've eaten pickled okra, and had it in southern stews, but my thoughts immediately went to fried -- the true staple. 

I don't eat fried foods (unless it is something I can't get ANYWHERE else), so I decided to whip up some baked okra instead. Super tasty, especially when served with sweet Asian chili sauce! 



I made them both gluten-free and with "regular"  ingredients. Feel free to use the ones you have on hand or choose base on your dietary needs. 


not-fried okra

ingredients.
2 large egg whites

1/4 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs OR panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp. quinoa flour OR whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 dashes salt

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
20 fresh okra, stems removed and sliced

directions.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay aluminum foil on a baking sheet. 

Put egg white in a small bowl. Place breadcrumbs and flour in a sealable plastic bag. 



Divide garlic powder, black pepper, and salt between the egg white and breadcrumb mixture. If you like, add cayenne pepper to the breadcrumb mixture. Stir egg mixture.


Put the okra slices in the bowl with the egg right. Gently stir to coat all sides. 


In batches, transfer okra from egg to plastic bag with breadcrumb mixture.


 NOTE: Make sure you shake off or drain excess egg before putting okra in with the breadcrumb mixture. 


Seal bag and give it a shake. Transfer coated okra to the baking sheet. Continue with remaining okra. Spray the tops with nonstick spray. 


Bake for 30 minutes, or until outsides have started to brown. For even browning, gently shake baking pan or flip okra about half way through. 


MAKES 2 SERVINGS


nutritionals.
1/2 recipe: 98 calories, <0.5g fat, 246mg sodium, 18g carbs, 4.5g fiber, 2g sugars, 7g protein




Tips & Notes: You should have just enough of the breadcrumb mixture to coat all of the okra, as long you make sure to drain the excess egg. 

For more traditional flavor, you can use cornmeal instead of breadcrumbs, I just prefer the taste & texture of panko and GF breadcrumbs! 




 
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Last week we got our first farm box from Berry Farms. Lots of fun options arrived in the box -- we opted for extra veggies instead of the bread. 

We got a nice batch of salad tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, okra, bell peppers, banana peppers, a small eggplant, and a watermelon. 

The watermelon is definitely a blast from the past --- a watermelon from my youth. Complete with a ton of seeds and an odd shape. 

A box with a ton of fun options --- looking forward to making a bunch of recipes with these organic fruits and vegetables! 

Interested in Berry Farms Farm Box? They service Savannah, the islands, and beyond. Check it out here!

Not in Savannah but interested in finding a farm box? Check out the CSA site -- find your local farm box


Recipe to come soon! 

 
B- Outstanding bread, it does everything a baguette should do.
I- The chicken itself is extraordinary.
T- The even distribution of sauces, flavors, veggies and the amazing bread makes it extraordinary.
E- You are in one of the best cities in the south.

Rating by Travelchannel.com
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Zunzi's Express Take Out was made famous by one of its sandwiches winning the title of Regional Champ of the South through the Travel Channel's search of the Best Sandwich award.

Any local or visitor that has not yet enjoyed this mind-blowingly delicious sandwich is definitely missing something. Stop making excuses and plan a lunch date already! 

Seriously.


The famous sandwich, known as The Conquistador, has moist and succulent chicken served with lettuce and tomatoes on the most delicious, fresh baked bread.  THEN it is smothered with two tasty sauces.

The sandwich is not so large that you can't finish it on your own, but in truth, I've yet to finish one in one sitting. Which is kind of perfect since I absolutely love the treat of eating this twice in one day.

The only thing better than The Conquistador, is topping it with marinara sauce, sausage and parmesan cheese. And calling it The Godfather. It sounds like an awfully weird combination, but I assure you it is ridiculously good. 7

There are vegetarian options (anything with the grilled mushrooms is great!) and you can adjust the meal to suit your tastes because they make it right there in front of you.

Finding it can be a little tricky if you're looking for a full size restaurant. Zunzi's is essentially a small counter just inside the door of a brick building. You will usually know you are in the right place by the line down the sidewalk. Since it is just a take out service, you will have to plan where to eat. In the spirit of the South, you can always take your food a few blocks over to the cemetery and lunch with the dearly departed (a Southern tradition). If that is a little too weird, they do offer a few tables around the side of the building.

Parking in the area is pay-per-hour (though you never pay after 5pm or the weekends!!!)  and hours can be a bit tricky, so make sure they're open right away.

location: 108 E York St. Savannah, GA 31401 (downtown)
connect: Zunzi's
Hours:
(Mon-Sat) 11am-5pm
(Sun) Closed






 
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Last week, my friend Shawndra and I joined a group of people for an evening cemetery tour.  The Bonaventure After Hours tour is lead by Shannon Scott and begins after the group has been locked inside the gates of this historic cemetery.

Sounds like the beginning of a terrifying experience, but that is not at all what this is about. The city of Savannah has rules against telling ghost stories on its hallowed grounds so this tour is more of the history of the cemetery itself and the stories of the people that rest there.

We were lucky to tour during a beautiful night, just as the dark set in, giving the cemetery a truly beautiful glow. Shannon guided us around and gave insights to some of the more famous residents, as well  people he had relationships with. From eccentric millionaires to free-spirited children, there were engaging stories throughout the entire journey.

I highly recommend this experience to anyone that wants to experience the cemetery in a new way (since the gates close early, it is the only way to get in afterhours), or just wants to get a mini history of Savannah while visiting. In fact, you can schedule private tours just about any night of the week with your group of friends or family. And since this is not a scare-the-pants-off-you kind of experience, it is great for all ages and for people who are a little skittish.

Some general tips? Bring a flashlight. Especially if you do get a little jumpy in the dark. Even though the overall feeling is peaceful, the extra light will just make you feel better. Also, bring a camera. There will likely be a few sculpted statues you will want a picture of.

Cost: $30 per person for the public tour, call for details to schedule a private tour

Website: Bonaventure After Hours

Schedule: See website (above) for details


 
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I am super excited to announce that local Savannah author, Shawndra Russell, is doing her virtual launch party today, September 16. In honor of this momentous occasion, I am giving away a free copy of her book! Just leave your email in the comments section or leave your info in the contact form (link to the left) and a winner will be picked at random. 

You may be thinking.... wait! This isn't a culinary adventure! You are correct, though there are many mentions of the great restaurants and bars in Savannah, GA throughout the novel. So I say it counts! 

I have read "Couple Friends" and it's a great light read that gives insight into the "Couple Friends" stage of your life; what happens after you've found the person you want to be with. 

Check it out on Amazon! Today is the last day to get it for $2.99! 

Anyone with a device that can download apps can read it through the Kindle app, or it can be read on any computer!  

So, don't forget to leave your email in a comment to be entered into the contest! 

Winner will be contacted Monday 9.17.2012 at noon. 



 
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Belford’s is located at one end of City Market in downtown Savannah. When you are walking through the crowd, you can easily identify the different feel this place gives off. Across from pizza and candy, you find a little slice of serenity.

I feel it is important to really focus on the atmosphere here. The plants that are perfectly placed, the design inside and out, the table dressing, and all around ambience really show that time was spent on making this restaurant feel like southern class.

We first took notice of Belford’s because of their appearance at 2010’s Taste of Savannah (an event where local restaurants battle it out for the top dish). They featured a pumpkin risotto that was everything it should be. Creamy, flavorful, and satisfying. It won our vote. While they didn’t win that year, they have won 4 times in the last ten years. Many of their award-winning dishes can still be found on the menu. So many winners, it’s hard to choose what to eat first.

On our recent visit, we enjoyed two dinner dishes. The Mahi Mahi was perfect. The balsamic glaze added just the right touch to the dish, along with the caramelized onions. It was all served over creamy risotto, something the Chefs at Belford’s clearly do really well. We also enjoyed a surf and turf special. The steak was amazing and was served with fresh seared scallops over mashed potatoes. Yum!

We wanted something sweet to finish off the meal. Chosen based on recommendation of our server, we ordered the White Chocolate Bread Pudding. It was the absolute perfect amount to lightly complete our dinner. Sweet, soft, chocolate-y, and all around tasty. I’m looking forward to getting into the kitchen to recreate this dish!

It should be noted that the price on the menu will be a turn off for people looking for a quick bite to eat. The fare is definitely higher end, with price tags to prove it. But I assure you, every bite we ate was worth the cost.

 

Top Shelf: Risotto

Get a dish that features the risotto, or at the very least has it on the plate. You will not be disappointed. They are very good at risottos and it would be a shame to miss out on trying it!

Local Alert! Belford's offers a Loyalty Card Program. Worth checking out since it's easy to reach awards.

location: 315 w saint julian street (city market, downtown)
connect: Belford’s
SavannahMenu.com VIP restaurant: not yet