My site has been all about the baby showers this week!  First I celebrated Amanda’s baby girl in real life, and now I’m honored to take part in a virtual shower for my dear, sweet friend Courtney.  Courtney and I met through our love for food and blogging about it, and now I’m proud to call her a friend in real life as well.  Though we live over six hundred miles apart, we don’t let that stand between us.  She hosted my virtual baby shower last year.  Then she came to visit me in Indiana back in the fall.  Last weekend myself along with some other blogging girlfriends surprised her with a mini shower/get together (more on that later).  I can say from firsthand experience that she is undoubtedly one of the most genuinely nice and thoughtful people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Her husband Eric is just as kind and friendly as she is, and they are going to be incredible parents.  Of course we wanted an opportunity to celebrate with all her other blogging friends as well, so a virtual shower was in order and Josie graciously offered to host us.  Be sure to check out Josie’s and Courtney’s posts to see everyone’s contributions!

Since so many other participants made desserts for the occasion, I opted to go savory.  Courtney has Southern roots having grown up in Alabama and living in Virginia now, and she has a deep love of Southern cuisine.  I wanted to make something that would be a nice, bite-sized appetizer appropriate for passing at a shower or party that was also inspired by Courtney’s Southern background.  I turned to the latest edition to my cookbook collection, Basic to Brilliant, Y’all (a gift from Josie – thanks dear!)  Since okra was being delivered in our produce bin, these okra cornmeal cakes seemed like a great starting point.  Though certainly optional, I decided to cut them all with a biscuit cutter after cooking to give them a more uniform, finished look.  Then I finished them off with a thin spread of herbed chèvre and a few roasted grape tomatoes to elevate them to party-worthy status.  Whether for a party or get-together or just for a regular ol’ meal, this combination was killer.  I knew these would be good but they definitely exceeded my expectations.  Courtney, I hope you enjoy these and try them at home sometime.  And if not, we’re definitely making them next time we get together!