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January 01, 2014


Best. Resolution. EVER.

Happiest to you & D!

EXCELLENT resolution, which I will now adopt for myself.

For next year, I share herewith my a version of BEP that my friend L. makes, which is delicious beyond measure, and I am not a BEP-lover:

The recipe comes from the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, by Matt Lee and Ted Lee (W.W. Norton, 2006). The Lee Brothers call for this to be soupy, gack, mostly by asking that you use 6 cups of broth. I use 3.5 (and then use discretion if it looks like it needs more when it's almost done) and problem solved.


Hoppin' John, like boiled peanuts, is not an exclusively Southern delicacy. Rice and beans have traveled throughout the world, so it stands to reason that someone somewhere might also have combined the two. A friend's daughter, in fact, spied a slightly soupy version of rice and black-eyed peas offered for sale by a street vendor in Saigon. The only hint that it wasn't going to taste the same as a Charleston hoppin' John was a spear of lemongrass- and ginger-inflected dish that turns the typically meaty character of a Lowcountry hoppin' John into an aromatic vegetarian porridge.

For 6 people
Time: 4 hours to soak peas, 1 hour to cook

1 cup dried black-eyed peas
6 cups Sunday Vegetable Broth (page 539)

1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Two 4-inch stalks fresh lemongrass, 1 bruised and cut into 4 sections, 1 for garnish
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
half-teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
half-teaspoon sugar
quarter-cup finely chopped cilantro
freshly-ground black pepper to taste

1. Place the peas in a strainer and wash for 1 minute under cold running water, gently tossing them with your hand or a wooden spoon. Place in a large bowl, cover with fresh water, and soak for at least 4 hours.

2. Bring the broth to a boil in a 4-quart pot. Add the drained peas, reduce the heat to medium-high, and boil gently until the peas are just tender but still have some bite, about 25 minutes. Add the rice, ginger, bruised lemongrass, coconut milk, salt, and sugar and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until the rice and peas are tender and the dish has the soupy character of a porridge , about 20 minutes. Stir in the cilantro with a spoon and add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Cut the remaining stalk of lemongrass into 6 sections. Serve the hoppin' John in bowls, steaming hot, with a piece of fresh lemongrass in each.

I really like your resolution. Wishing you and D. a very happy, healthy new year of living the life you want to live!

When i was in jr high, i had 4 teeth pulled (baby teeth with no adult teeth underneath). The top two had roots that went up into my sinus cavities. The oral surgeon put plugs in those holes - but those fell out. The thing I remember most about it is drinking chocolate milk and having it come out my nose.

All of that is to say, I totally get what you are going through on that one!


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Who is this What Now?

  • I'm an English teacher at Fabulous Girls' School (FGS). I'm a convert to Judaism. I am partner to D. We live in an adorable, messy little house in Adventure City. Two cats -- the Muse and the Contemplative -- live with us and keep life at home plenty adventurous.

    Email me at whatnowblogger at yahoo dot com.

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