Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cornbread Crepes + Smoky Black-Eyed Peas

Cornbread is a Southern tradition, but I never can seem to get it exactly right. I'm either unwilling to put enough fat into it to make it moist or unable to follow a recipe properly. You'd think as a Mississippi-born Southerner, my skill would be inherent, but it missed me somehow.

Honestly, I think it's just that I can't bake. I need to be able to taste things and adjust them as I go. So I figured out a way to use grits, something I can make, into cornmeal pancakes. They are perfect, delicate little cakes that are more akin to hot water cornbread or johnny cakes than traditional Southern cornbread, and they're served with smoky black eyed peas, sweet arugula salad, and aged cheddar.

In the South, it's tradition to have cornbread, greens, and black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. The story as to why we do this (everyone does this!) varies depending on who you ask, but it's supposed to bring luck in the coming year. Try this creative, meat-free spin on a classic Southern dish this New Year's Day for luck, health, and happiness.

Cornbread Crepes:

3 cups milk
1 jalapeno (diced)
1 shallot (diced)
salt & pepper to taste
2/3 cup yellow corn grits
knob of butter
2 eggs (beaten)
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup flour
olive oil

Bring milk up to a boil and add jalapeno, shallot, salt, pepper, and butter. Stir in the grits but add them slowly to avoid lumps. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 25 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Remove grits from heat and allow mixture to cool. Mix remaining ingredients. The result should be like a pancake batter. Heat a non-stick griddle to medium-low heat. Ladle batter onto the non-stick surface to create 3-inch pancakes. Cook each for about 4 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second. Makes about a dozen.

Smoky Black-Eyed Peas:

1/2 white onion (diced)
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup mushrooms (diced)
2 cups dried black -eyed peas (soaked)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon hickory smoked salt
black pepper
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 1/2 cups water
1/8 cup ketchup
1 Not-Beef bouillon cube

In a soup pot over medium-high heat, sauté onion in a tablespoon of olive oil. Once onion is translucent, add the wine and reduce until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add remaining ingredients except the bouillon cube. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. Add the cube and simmer another 15 minutes or until the peas are soft.

To serve, spoon peas over the corn cakes and top with any fresh greens. This is perfect topped with a slice of aged white goat cheddar from Bonnie Blue Farms.

(If for some reason, you want to skip the cornbread component entirely, try pairing your beans and greens with -- yes, really -- my good old vegetarian pork rinds!)


Lauren RZ said...

I ADORE Bonnie Blue farms! Their aged gouda-style goat cheese is fantastic!

Miss Rachel's Pantry said...

I hate to bake, too! Sentiments are shared! Food soulmates.

Ami's Vegetarian said...

This one looks very delicious, and filling. I'm a veggi, and we consume a lot of legumes too.

Chk out my blog when u got time.

Marjie said...

You had me at crepes =). This looks wonderfully appetizing.

Bianca said...

As a Mississippi-born Southerner, "unwilling to put enough fat into it" should really not even be in your vocabulary. But, this does look delicious!