I just fried some okra, and it was about the easiest thing I've ever done that tasted that good. Cut the okra into half-inch rounds (they're not really round, but you know what I mean) and put in a bowl, sprinkle with salt, and cover with water. Refrigerate for an hour. Then drain the okra in a colander, but don't rinse it. You want it to be sticky.
Put some cornmeal on a plate with lots of salt and pepper, heat up about an inch and a half or more of vegetable oil in a pan -- use a wok, you'll need less oil -- over medium-high heat. The oil is hot enough when you throw a pinch of cornmeal into it and it goes bwishhhhhh and floats.
Dredge the okra in the cornmeal, try to coat it pretty well, and throw it in the oil in batches. Too much at a time will bring down the temperature of the oil. Move them around with a slotted spoon, try to flip them over, but don't worry too much if some of them won't. When they change color a bit, pull them out and put them on paper towels or newspaper.
(Save and re-use the oil. Put it in a jar in the fridge and it'll last for weeks.)
I also made a batch of pumpkin muffins which are just about ready to come out of the oven. And I'm soaking some posole to make a vegetarian posole stew tomorrow.
The food at the drug trials makes me crazy. It's not that it's so bad. In fact, it's really okay. It could be worse. There are people, after all, who eat flour mixed with dirt every day. It's just all very processed and characterless. It's loveless nutrition.
Yet, when I'm there I look forward to meals. Sometimes, depending on the protocol of the trial, there will be periods of fasting, so I'm famished and can't wait for dinner, but even when we're not fasting, meals are breaks in the long days of ECGs and blood draws, or just long days of reading.
It's a cycle of disappointment. I look forward to the meals yet they are never satisfying. It's the samsara of drug testing.
I need some real food.