Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Southern Tradition

Where I grew up, every year had to start out with some black eyed peas if you want it to be a good one! I decided to get a solid leg up on my beans by soaking them last Tuesday and then slow cooking them over the next three days in my crock pot. I seasoned them up the way I do all of my beans: an onion (the color doesn't really matter), at least four cloves of bruised garlic, 3-4 small bay leaves and some sea salt. This never fails to yield a satisfying pot of grub.

The black eyed peas are traditionally accompanied by greens. Some say collards but I don't really know for sure if your choice is limited. Since I did such a good job with my peas, I let Trader Joe's give me a hand with the rest. They sell a bag of chopped mix greens so all I had to do was dump them in boiling water and let them simmer. My bases were covered because it was a mixture of collards, mustard and turnip greens. They turned out absolutely fantastic and I will definitely be buying those guys again!

The cornbread....not so much. I made it from a TJ mix that only called for an egg, milk and oil. I let my pan preheat in the oven with some ghee and then added the batter once it was nice and hot. This was total yankee cornbread. Way too sweet for me. This is a common problem up in these parts. McCaffrey's also has incredibly sweet cornbread. It tastes like it should have chocolate icing on top. The best place I've found to buy cornbread, so far, has been Wegmans.

There is an important detail in the second picture that must be discussed: pepper sauce. As hard as it is to find cornbread up here, it was even harder to find pepper sauce. I think we scored some at Shop Rite but it's difficult to remember because we bought it a long time ago. I just refill it with white vinegar. It tastes absolutely awesome on greens. You don't need pork fat to knock those guys right out of the park.

The peas are supposed to bring good luck and the greens are for money. Here's hoping for a healthy and prosperous 2010 for all of us!

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