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Old 07-22-2008, 12:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mignon View Post
my family and friends wouldn't be caught dead eating anything I cooked
That is good because if they were caught dead after eating your food then you really never would get your restaurant off the ground
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:02 PM   #12
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I'm ashamed to say, that not only am I not gifted as a cook, I have a tin ear, I hope Andy forgives me.

As for my Hoppin' John, I was a little disappointed. My recipe called for adding the rice up front with the black eyes, but next time I'm going to do the rice separately. In fact — this might be sacrilegious — I think I'd like the black eyes without rice. Also, I think I put in too much crushed red pepper (half teaspoon), this is powerful stuff. However, it's great for the sinuses.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:07 PM   #13
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It's fairly common that a first try doesn't turn out perfect. I've eaten a lot of mistakes in my time.

Keep trying and take notes so you don't make the same mistake twice.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:15 PM   #14
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I have made MY version of hoppin john for years and I also mix my rice with everything else towards the end and then heat up together. I also find it best to let my rice cool completely (make day before) and then use it. I'm sure there are plenty out there that would tell me mine isn't really hoppin john - poetic license I think they would call it!
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Old 07-24-2008, 10:54 AM   #15
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I've never really made Hoppin' John. That's traditionally a New Year's Eve dish, for good luck, in the South. Here in OK, where I'm from, we traditionally do just Black-eyed Peas for New Year's. My other half, PeppA, is from Michigan. Many years ago, she came down to visit over New Year's. I made Black-eyed Peas, Fried Potatoes, and Cornbread. She had never had the peas before, her mother does fried potatoes extremely differently than I do, and they use Jiffy for cornbread, while I make cornbread completely from scratch.

Needless to say, PeppA had her eyes opened when she tasted it! Of course, she still prefers fried taters and cornbread they way she makes it. But, she's not to fond of beans or black-eyed peas. Different strokes for different folks.

Keep working on the Hoppin' John recipe. Take notes each time you make it. This is one of the reasons why I like computers for storing recipes. I can write a recipe, make it, make notes, as well as changes. Eventually, I will arrive at what I think of as a "perfect" recipe.
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Old 07-24-2008, 12:17 PM   #16
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There must be scores of Hoppin' John recipes that titillate different folks, but I'm hoping to cook a version of it I like that doesn't do violence to the southern tradition. My last effort was more pleasing than the first, I think I'm getting there. My recipe is as follows:

1 meaty smoked ham hock
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
1 c. black-eyed peas
1/2 c. rice
salt, pepper, and water to cover

Briefly, I soaked the peas overnight and placed them in a small stock pot with the hock, onions, bell peppers, crushed red pepper, S&P, and enough water to generously cover the beans. Brought it all to a boil and then lowered the heat to a bare simmer. Although the peas didn't take long to cook, I kept the pot going for 3 hours until the hocks were reduced to skin and bones and a spot of meat. I rescued the meat and ditched the rest. I had enough pot liquor left to do my rice separately which ended very tasty on its own.

Well, the bottom line is, I served myself the black eyes on a mound of rice with a small green salad and a tooth chilling bottle of ale, and almost ate one of my fingers in my zeal.

I may try this next time in one trip, that is to say, throw the rice in with the peas toward the end.
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Old 07-24-2008, 12:54 PM   #17
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Since I make it mostly on New Year's Day I just make an all-in-one dish...i.e., I add my cooked collards, cubed country style ribs, black-eyed peas, caramelized onions, green pepper...toss everything together at the end. I then sprinkle on some freshly chopped cilantro and a dollop of sour cream...and sometimes a sprinkling of grated cheese, either monterey jack or a combination of same and cheddar. I also like a bit of cumin in mine. I have been known to top with pico de gallo too - what can I say, I love Mexican AND hoppin' john
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:39 PM   #18
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kitchenelf:

Oh, wow! Have you ever broadened my horizon. I've never eaten collards, but I've thought about it. Dare I try them next time? Yes, I think will, and I love the idea of caramelizing the onions. I'm not sure about the sour cream never had it. And I'm not too big on Mexican stuff no familiarity, but I'm branching out from steak and potatoes with a vengeance.

My immediate need is for a basic, unfancy corn bread recipe. I've seen some contrived concoctions with enough exotic ingredients to choke a horse. This is simple, regional, country food, and that's the way I'd like to keep it.
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:48 PM   #19
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All you do with the collards is remove the big rib in the middle. Stack leaves on top of each other, roll like a cigar, and slice in about 1/2" slices. The process of stacking and slicing like this is called "chiffonade" and can be done with any leafy something - basil probably being the most popular.

Wash the leaves after cutting but leave the water on them. I don't use pork fat but I do use about an inch of a stronger beef base in the pot and a medium dousing of light olive oil or canola oil (if you are using 1 big bunch of greens I'd say 3 TBS of oil. Medium heat - stir occasionally - they will wilt a LOT. Put a lid on the pot and let them cook about 45 minutes to an hour. It does NOT take hours and hours like used to be done. Towards the end a nice sprinkling of kosher salt.

Now, some will say sprinkle with apple cider vinegar, or even white vinegar. When I cook mine for a VERY long time I like the vinegar. When I cook them like I mentioned above they are wonderful without the vinegar. I even love them cold out of the fridge.

At this point is where you can just toss them with your hoppin' john. Also, if the leaves are REALLY big, you can cut them more into squares - that's a good choice for the hoppin' john. The way I do this is after I chiffonade them I make another cut down the sides so the "ribbons" aren't so long.

Where are you from?
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Old 07-24-2008, 04:33 PM   #20
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Good grief, collards must be tough as nails. I can scarcely believe you can cook any vegetable for as long as you suggest without it disappearing into the liquid. If it can handle that much simmering, maybe it can go into the pot up front with the peas? I'd like them to be the consistency of spinach, if possible.

Indeed, as a side dish alone, I'd love to cook them as you've suggested, and then season with S&P, and dress with olive oil, and a squeeze or two of lemon juice (I'd set aside a portion to season with olive oil and cider vinegar to see which I liked best).

To answer your question: I'm originally from New York, which I believed to be the epicenter of the world.
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