Kitchen gadgets earn their keep when the summer weather turns hot and steamy | Where NOLA Eats

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When it’s hot outdoors, it’s tough to stand over the stove with a cast-iron skillet to create one of the glories of the season, fried okra.

Now is a good time to turn to the small appliances we own. Let them earn their valuable counter space! The slow cooker does not radiate heat. An electric pressure cooker vents steam, yes, but not for long. And an air fryer, if you happen to have one, can air-fry okra.


On, I found a recipe for Barbacoa Beef made in the slow cooker. For filling tacos, burritos and enchiladas, it’s a great change of pace from ground beef. Make it as spicy as you want by adding more chipotles and/or adobo liquid from the chipotles can.

I cut the recipe in half and it still made enough for several meals. If you want to make the whole thing, you can have a stash of taco filling in your freezer for quick microwavable meals.

The Instant Pot shrimp boil from did indeed cook in six minutes, as the author claimed, not counting the time it takes for the pressure cooker to build up steam before cooking starts.

Corn, potatoes and andouille are cooked with beer and seasoning for five minutes, then shrimp is added to cook for one minute. The shrimp may cook in less time than that, though, in the time the cooker is coming up to pressure.

Ounce for ounce, herbs are the most useful plants to cultivate. You can put them in just about everything except cream gravy. Well, maybe you …

The recipe called for a garlicky butter sauce to be poured over the whole thing before serving, but it’s not really needed. Skip it if you want.

My favorite of the three new recipes here was air fryer okra. Because the last fresh okra at the farmers market was on the large side, I slit the pods in half, coated them in olive oil then tossed them with some garlic and seasoned coating mix.

It was terrific. Is it as good as the okra I can fry in my faithful cast-iron skillet? No. Was I much cooler as it cooked? Yes. Was it a delicious treat on its own? Yes. I urge you to try it if you have an air fryer.


Barbacoa Beef in the Slow Cooker

Barbacoa Beef in the Slow Cooker

Use two chipotle peppers for spicy. Makes 8 servings.

4 pounds chuck roast or brisket, cut in large cubes

4 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons cumin

1-1/2 teaspoons oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)

1 bay leaf

1 canned chipotle pepper

1 tablespoon adobo sauce from can of chipotle pepper

1 cup beef broth

Chopped cilantro, for garnish

1. Put meat in a slow cooker with all ingredients except cilantro. Stir to combine.

2. Cover and cook on high 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Shred meat with two forks; remove bay leaf. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.


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Instant Pot Shrimp Boil

This recipe is adapted from one on I substituted liquid crab boil for the Old Bay seasoning. Use whatever seasoning you have on hand to you’re your taste. Makes 4-6 servings.

1-1/2 pounds baby red potatoes

3/4 pound andouille sausage, cut in 2-inch pieces

1 tablespoon favorite seafood seasoning (Zatarain’s, Old Bay, etc.) (OR ½ teaspoon liquid crab boil)

1 tablespoon hot sauce

3 ears corn, halved

16 ounces pilsner or lager beer

1-1/2 pounds medium or large shrimp, shell on, heads removed

Chopped fresh parsley and lemon wedges for garnish

1. Put potatoes, sausage, seafood seasoning and hot sauce in a 6-quart electric pressure cooker. Stir to combine. Top with corn and beer.

2. Select manual setting; adjust pressure to high, and set time for 5 minutes. When finished cooking, quick-release pressure according to manufacturer’s directions.

3. Add shrimp. Select manual setting and high pressure again, and set time for 1 minute. When finished cooking, quick-release pressure.

4. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley and lemon wedges.

5. Optional sauce: Melt ¼-cup salted butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in 3 cloves minced garlic and 1 teaspoon (or a few drops of the liquid) seafood seasoning. Stir until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Drizzle over mixture before garnishing with parsley and lemon.


air fried okra.jpg

Air Fryer Fried Okra

Air Fryer Fried Okra

The seasoned coating mix I used is made by Louisiana Fish Fry. Makes 2 servings.

½ pound okra, washed and dried well

1 tablespoon olive oil

About 1 cup seasoned coating mix

Spray of olive oil or nonstick spray

1. After okra is washed and dried, split large pods in half lengthwise. Leave small ones whole but cut off ends. Put in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat completely.

2. Add seasoned coating mix. Toss to coat well.

3. Preheat air fryer, if necessary, to 400 degrees. Coat the basket with nonstick coating per manufacturer’s directions. Distribute okra in the basket evenly, not touching. Coat with a spray of olive oil or nonstick spray.

4. Cook about 10-14 minutes, until browned, shaking the basket or turning over the okra about halfway through.

5. Okra will crisp further as it cools a bit. Best served warm.

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