Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Every New Year we cook Black-eyed Peas and Cabbage, it's a tradition we love. Normally I'd have the bone from the baked ham at Christmas to season the Black-eyed Peas, but we made some Split Pea Soup and used it then. (yeah, it was delicious!) Folks call Black-eyed Peas and Rice Hoppin' John around here. You'll also have turnip greens,collards, or cabbage, or all three. Both these signify wealth and good luck throughout the year. In my family, I'm the one who prefers fried cabbage( ick, never boiled for me) and HossFly prefers cole slaw. The best way to cook this,in my opinion, is to rinse and sort the peas, cover with water. If I use bacon, I start frying it on low,and this is anywhere from a half a pound to a pound of bacon, and chop an onion, usually green onions leftover from Christmas, but it doesn't matter a whole lot, add that to the pan of bacon. Don't pour out the bacon grease unless it's too much, but at least save some to saute in. If you have fresh garlic, mince it and add it to the pan,too. And,to me, it doesn't really taste right unless it's got a chopped bell pepper. Add as much as you want, somewhere between half a pepper to a whole one. Since I cook 2 lbs. of peas, I use only half, but others will use a whole bell pepper in just 1 lb. of peas :D Id using a ham bone, then saute the vegetables in a little butter. Saute until nice and soft and everyone has come into the kitchen to ask you what are you cooking?? It smells SO GOOOOD! Dump all that into the pot of beans. If you didn't use real garlic, now's the time to add dried garlic, or garlic powder. And the main trick to cooking up a good pot of beans is to try not to stir it, and to cook it very,very low! Right about the time they're starting to thicken, shut them off. They'll thicken up a little bit more. The way I cook my cabbage is simple. Butter or margarine, and chopped up cabbage! LOL I LOVE fried cabbage, so I want leftovers for later :D Start melting some butter in a dutch oven, and fill it with chopped cabbage. The cabbage will cook down. don't let the core get in there ( the white center of the cabbage, yuck! it's too bitter for me) Just cover and cook on low, stir every now and then. And I'll let you in on a secret, I make my cornbread from a mix. I use 2 boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix for this. Since I use a cast iron skillet, I'll put a lump of butter or butter flavor Crisco( which really tastes awesome!) in the oven to melt while I'm mixing, say about 350 or whatever the box says :D While the butter melts, dump 2 boxes of the Jiffy mix in the bowl, and add about a cup or so of plain flour, and about half a cup of sugar. That's the two things I add to make mine different, more like a cake. Add the milk and eggs according to the directions, and keep it on the dry side. Take the melted butter and pour it into the batter and mix well. Yummy! Bake according to the package directions. It's done when you touch it in the center and it doesn't spring back, and it's a nice golden brown color. To cook collards or turnip greens from fresh, make sure you rinse them well......no matter how much they rinse them in the store, they're gonna have mud and rocks and sand. I like to rinse mine outside at the faucet :D Use a dutch oven, add a small amount of water, and trim the greens. I don't like the long stems, so I cut those off, and just lay a large bundle on the cutting board and slice through about a 2" or 3" wide slice. They cook down a lot. Use bacon or ham for seasoning. I can remember my mother adding sugar to sweeten the pot, maybe just a pinch. Now I can't remember what they used to say.....sweeten the pot......something something???? Save the pot likker...that's the liquid left in the pot when boiling your mess of greens. Don't use too much water,lol! Remember they cook down a lot. The longer you cook them, the better they taste!Put some of the pot likker in a bowl and dip your cornbread in it....delicious.