PuzzleBeast - The Fried Okra Perplexity
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The Fried Okra Perplexity

Okra graphic
Bubba Joe's cousins Wal and Cooch are in town for a visit, and Darla has cooked up a regular feast of fried okra, black-eyed peas, fried chicken, and collard greens. But dang it, she hasn't set the table right. Nooo, this just isn't going to work.

Bubba Joe stares at the table and thinks for a bit. (Man, that fried okra smells good.) He always sits at the corner of the table where there's a big gravy stain on the tablecloth, and his best bet is to position the plate of fried okra right in front of him so he can get plenty of okra while it's hot.

Now Bubba Joe is just a touch obsessive. He'll only move a plate if he can pick it up and jump it over adjacent plates, landing on the next available space on the table. Trouble is, the bigger plates--the ones with the fried okra and fried chicken--are too big to fit next to just anything, and in fact they'll only fit next to the small bowls of black-eyed peas. (Fitting plates next to one another is only a problem if they are right next to one another. You can stick anything next to anything diagonally.)

Doggone it, Bubba Joe is hungry and the okra is getting cold. Can you help him rearrange the plates and get the orange plate of okra moved to the upper left corner of the table?


Okra graphic

Cooking Fried Okra

There are different schools on how to cook fried okra. Southern culinary experts have long discussed the relative merits of using cornmeal, flour, and/or egg in extensive intellectual debates, some of which have been known to continue well into the pool hall parking lot.

However, in my opinion okra is best with just a nice thin crust of cornmeal, served still piping hot from the skillet. It's good enough that it has been known to make people who thought they hated okra go into a swoon.

You'll need:
Wash and dry the okra pods. Cut off the caps and cut the pods into 3/8" (1 cm) thick rounds. Toss the okra in corn meal until evenly coated. (The juice of the okra--slime some would say--will be enough for the cornmeal to adhere.) Shake off any excess corn meal.

Meanwhile, add oil to a cast iron skillet until it is about 1/4" deep. Heat the skillet over medium heat until oil is hot enough to ripple and for a test piece of okra to sizzle and bubble. Add okra to the skillet in batches, spreading out the okra so that it is in a single layer in the skillet. Cook until brown on both side, turning the pieces halfway through. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels.

Lightly salt and eat.

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