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Black-Eyed Peas (it was supper before it was alternative music)

Well, I love you too much to show you a picture of a pot of cooked black-eyed peas.  You know, it just doesn’t “look” good to the modern eye.  But our family genuinely loves black-eyed peas and cornbread.  Really!

A word about beans and pork.  Typically, most good folks associate beans with ham, bacon, salt pork, or what not.  As I write this, I am licking my lips thinking about the ham and beans my mom makes.  So tasty!  But if I could just persuade you to set aside the pig momentarily, I could introduce you to an incredibly flavorful food–the legume!  Beans have SO MUCH FLAVOR, even before you add ham.  I love the flavor of beans.  And to be honest, the flavor that I thought was “ham” really is the bean.  You’ll have to try it to believe it.

When we make beans without ham, we enjoy a flavorful, high protein, high fiber, no cholesterol, inexpensive meal.  It’s a staple meal for our week.

Here’s how:  I rinse the black eyed peas, dump them in a big pot and cover with water.  I try to give mine more than an hour to cook so that they will cook slowly and tenderly.  I don’t add salt because it makes them tough–the salt comes at the end.  If the pan gets low on water, I just add more.  They’re done when they are tender.  That’s it.

Drain them a little and serve at the table with salt, pepper, cheddar cheese, sour cream, spicy pepper, ranch dressing, or even horseradish.  Bake up a lovely pan of cornbread and delight the kids with that old-fashioned treat, honey butter.  If I have it, I like to serve with a simple salad.

The cost for this big meal that will feed 8 of us: less than $5 without salad, or $8 if we add a good salad

$1.50 for the black-eyed peas (they are sold cheaper than that)

.33 for one box of Jiffy cornbread mix or make your own cornbread from scratch–that’s what we do

cheese, condiments, what not–maybe $1?

honey butter–maybe $1.50? (whip up equal parts butter and honey, make a lot to avoid a fight 🙂

My recommendation for cornbread is the recipe on the package of Aunt Jemima yellow cornmeal.  This recipe comes together in a snap!

1 c. cornmeal

1 c. flour

2 to 4 T. sugar

4 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

1 c. milk

1 egg

1/4 c. vegetable oil (we always use olive oil)

Combine the dry ingredients, then add the milk, egg and oil.  Pour batter into greased 9 x 9 square pan or muffin pans.  Bake at 425 for 15 to 18 minutes.

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