Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Very southern

Tonight's Menu

  • grilled ham steak
  • cornbread
  • spinach w/bacon and pinkeye peas
Well, this was NOT a cool-kitchen supper, I'm sorry to say. But it was very yummy and easy and I'm not sure you can get much more southern than ham, cornbread, and greens with peas, y'all.

The ham steak was easy -- just drain off the water in which it's usually packed and slap it on a grill over high heat for 3 minutes per side (more or less, depending on thickness).

The cornbread was homemade, using my usual recipe. I SWEAR this is not much more trouble than those mixes you buy at the store, and you can control how sweet it is (DH likes it SWEET) and what sort of fat is in it (this time I used an extra-light olive oil).

The spinach and peas were the real stars of this meal, though. One of the weird things I planted in my garden this year was purple-hull pinkeye cowpeas. They look a lot like blackeyed peas, if you're familiar with those (you can see the pods here, and the peas here). Of course, my garden is tiny and I don't usually get enough peas all at once to feed the four of us. I had collected maybe two tablespoons worth over the past week and had no idea what to do with such a small amount, but I definitely didn't want them to go to waste!

So, here's what I did: I brought a little pot of water to a boil, dumped in my tiny amount of homegrown pinkeye peas, and boiled them for maybe 15 minutes until they were nice and tender. Then I drained them and set them aside.

In a large skillet, I browned off some chopped bacon and then added the drained peas and a big bunch of fresh baby spinach. I tossed the spinach around until it had wilted, then I seasoned it with salt and pepper and added a tablespoon each of brown sugar and vinegar (this time I used a raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, but in the past I've used red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar and it's all good!). Stir that around for a bit until some of the liquid has evaporated, then serve. So yummy! If you think you don't like spinach, try it like this -- it's all smoky bacon and sweet-sour sauce. Mmm!

Here was the timeline for this simple, delicious meal:
  • Put the peas on to boil.
  • Mix up the cornbread and stick it in the oven.
  • Light the grill (if you're using gas; for charcoal you might want to do this first).
  • Remove peas from heat after they're tender, drain and set aside.
  • While grill is heating, chop bacon and have the spinach, sugar & vinegar nearby.
  • Put ham steak on grill for 3 minutes per side; remove and tent with foil to rest.
  • Remove cornbread from oven.
  • Make spinach/pea dish (it's fast).
  • Cut ham into serving pieces, ditto cornbread, serve it on up!


Lover Lady said...

Where's the butter? And bacon fat? You can't call that meal "Southern!" I keed! Sounds pretty damn good to me, though I don't think cornbread is cornbread without buttermilk.
Julie in Ga.

PS, my word is "oppopygi"

Badger said...

The butter goes on the cornbread and the spinach was cooked in bacon fat! (Did you see me tell you to drain the pan after cooking that bacon? No!) :)

Lover Lady said...

Ah, very good! Thanks for the clarification. In the words of the lovely Miss Paula Deen, "Butter and bacon grease! Toot, toot!"

Unknown said...

So, are your kids now eating the same meals as you & DH are?

Just wondering.

Anonymous said...

.thanks for sharing