Whoops! Meant to post this on New Year’s Day, but these beans are so delicious, I hope you won’t mind the wait.
As most of y’all know, I’m from the South and every New Year’s Day we eat black eyed peas and greens for wisdom and wealth in the New Year. This isn’t the way my mother and grandmothers make them, but with my version, you won’t miss the hambone.
Way back in the dark ages before I became a vegetarian, chicken and dumplings was one of my favorite dishes. When I gave up meat I didn’t really miss the chicken part but I did miss the dumpling part. I decided to combine some classic flavors from southern gardens to make a new hearty vegetarian dish worth of my beloved dumplings. It’s probably not how you’re used to seeing pumpkin or dumplings used but believe me, you’ll love it.
This time around I used a short cut to make the dumplings, but if you’d like a homemade recipe for dumplings, let me know!
Pumpkin Stew with Dumplings
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cups pumpkin puree, or 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups baby lima beans (frozen is fine)
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups Trader Joe’s whole meal baking mix (or equivalent)
- 2/3 cup milk
In a large stock pot, heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil over medium heat then sautee onions under soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add pumpkin, tomatoes, beans and broth and bring to a boil. Simmer covered for 30 minutes or until the squash has cooked through (if not using precooked squash). In a bowl, mix baking mix, milk and remaining 3 tbsp oil. Plop tablespoon-fuls of the dough into the boiling soup (don’t worry: they’ll expand!) Bring back to a boil if it’s cooled off, cover again and simmer for 30 minutes.
Serves 6 to 8.
With the arrival of fall I have a sudden yen for comfort food, which translates to Southern cooking. This weekend I was invited to a multicultural potluck and decided it was the perfect opportunity to trot out one of my family’s favorite special occasion dish: baked cheese grits. As always when I serve this dish outside the South, the first person through the line pokes at it, takes a small spoonful to be polite, takes a bite and starts to rave. Other people take bigger spoonfuls, the first few people go back for seconds and I get to score the potluck victory of taking home an empty casserole. Being somewhat waistline and wallet conscious, I’ve worked to cut calories and scale back on the more expensive ingredients from the original recipe. Not surprisingly, the first thing I cut was the crumbled breakfast sausage my aunt always served on top, though you non-vegetarians who are looking for a splurge should definitely consider it. And while grits are delicious for breakfast (think of them as a savory oatmeal or cream of wheat), they’re great for dinner, much like polenta, often served with ham or shrimp. Personally, I like it as is with a greens salad for dinner or fruit for breakfast.
Baked Cheese Grits
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 1 cup grits or cornmeal
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 pound shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 eggs
Lightly grease a 2 quart casserole dish (I use a 9×9) and preheat the oven to 350F.
Bring the broth and garlic to a boil, then whisk in grits. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in milk and all but 1/2 cup of cheese until cheese is melted and thorough combined. Next, whisk in butter and eggs until mixture is smooth. Pour into prepared casserole and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Pour into prepared casserole and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until cheese on top is bubbling and brown.
These aren’t the most attractive dish I’ve ever made, but it’s my favorite way of making squash. I made this batch for a potluck this past weekend, where they all disappeared and I had to write the recipe down 3 times. Traditionally these are pan-fried, like a pancake, but this batch I baked in the oven to keep it healthier and make it tastier cold. I also like to occasionally make these veggie burger size for a light dinner. However you make them, they’re tasty on their own or dipped in homemade garlic mayonnaise.
- 2 large squash or zucchini, grated
- 1 red onion, grated
- 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
Preheat oven to 425 F and thoroughly grease two cookie sheets (even on the silpat, if you’re using one). Wrap grated squash and onion into a clean tea towel and squeeze tightly, until no more liquid comes out. Mix in a large bowl with remaining ingredients. Place by heaping tablespoon full on prepared sheets and flatten slightly. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip gently, and bake for another 10 minutes. Makes 3 dozen.
I don’t make this recipe very often, but every time I do I remember how much I love it. It only requires what I consider to be pantry staples, is fast and simple to make, lots of nutrition and have I mentioned how delicious it is? Because it is. If you’re a meat eater, I’d suggest this as a side to some spicy sausage, or even throw the sausage in for a one dish dinner. I like to have a salad or sauteed greens on the side for a little extra color.
Simple Black-Eyed Peas and Rice
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup water or vegetable broth
- 1 cup rice, uncooked (brown is delicious)
- 1 can black-eyed peas, rinsed & dried, or 2 cups cooked beans, no liquid reserved
- hot sauce, preferably Tobasco (optional)
In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until until soft, about 2 to 3 additional minutes. Add next 4 ingredients, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Stir occasionally, and cook until rice is done, about 20 to 30 minutes. Add hot sauce to taste. Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side dish..
One of the cool things about Deborah at Nevermore Farm is that she lets me come help out sometimes in exchange for a discount on my box. I think of it as a win-win: I get awesome produce for cheap AND get to play in the dirt. Back in October, I spent a day weeding and laying out irrigation for the winter crops. In November, I spent a day putting in cabbage after cabbage. In my last box? I got one of those cabbages. Obviously there’s more than one day of weeding and putting the plant in the ground, but I’m so stinking proud of this cabbage.
Anyways, with this cabbage I wanted to go back to my Southern roots. I coated pinto beans with my homemade barbeque sauce, baked up some cornbread, and made Spicy Smothered Green Cabbage from Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry. This stuff is delicious and taste just like my grandma’s, just without the bacon. Originally the recipe called for 2 tsp mustard seeds, but I didn’t have any in my kitchen, so I subbed in prepared mustard.
Spicy Smothered Green Cabbage
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 small cabbage, quartered, cored & shredded
- 1/4 cup water
- salt & pepper to taste
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil, red pepper, sugar and a pinch of salt. Cook for 2 minutes, then add cabbage and mustard, stirring until it wilts, about 5 minutes. Add water, stir to combine, cover, and allow to cook until the water has mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Serves 6 to 8.