Peas, Peas, Peas!

I remember when I was growing up I wasn’t really big on vegetables. I would eat them of course when my mother cooked dinner, but I wasn’t crazy about them… however, one of our annual family trips to Mississippi changed all of that. My mother and father were both born and raised in Mississippi. My mother would fondly say that she was from “the sticks.” That has always stuck with me. My father would load up the family vehicle each August 16th  and we would head south. On the 25th of August, we would head on back home. I recall those dates to this day because August 16th was my Aunt Hilda’s birthday, and August 25th was my Dads.  Looking back, I greatly appreciated his driving skills because he would take that car on in with no other drivers…well not until my older brothers began to drive. In any event, on one of our visits, it sunk in that I would not be eating with pleasure what ‘I’ wanted. My aunt Hilda (one of my mothers sisters) had a nice big field of purple hull peas right outside her door. And of course there was cotton, watermelons, okra, tomatoes and a bevy of other vegetables that she and my uncle Robert grew, and raised their nine children on. At the dinner table there was always plenty fresh veggies to go around. So…not being able to go to the store (the closest stores were 40 miles away in Jackson) and grab a chili dog, or eat those hamburgers from Peppys (just about the only burger joint near our home in Detroit in those days)…all that was left for me to do was eat what set before me. And  that’s when I fell in love with vegetables! Thank you Aunt Hilda for those fresh delicious vegetables.

I’ve often been called a “city girl with country ways” because I’ve always been a yard person, and gardening since I was 14…still at it. Yes, as I have so often said, I’ve got that Mississippi blood coursing through my veins. I still love it down there even though its been a number of years since my last visit.

I think I’ll add some purple hulls, black-eye peas, crowder peas, and lima beans to one of my raised beds next spring…maybe I will today. Although I was not born in the south as were both of my parents, I am definitively a “City Girl With Country Ways.”  

 My aunt Hilda cooked up the best purple hull peas I had ever tasted and I still recall that taste to this day. Today as I was walking about Randazzo’s Vegetable & Fruit Market, I made my way over to the table full of fresh crowder peas and grabbed a few pounds to satisfy my ever-present appetite for peas. I had some fresh black-eye peas on hand at home and decided to mix them with the crowder peas. That pleasant taste brought back those fond memories of my visits to “the sticks.”  Otherwise known as M-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I crooked letter-crooked letter-I humpback-humpback-I.

Crowder & Black-Eye Peas— These were sooooo delicious, and of-course I had to throw in some okra to make it a true southern meal. Garnished with chopped scallions and a few gourmet tomatoes.  There was a pan of fresh-baked cornbread as well.

The peas were cooked with a nice big ham hock

The hock was simmered with onions and garlic until nice and tender, then seasoned with onion powder, garlic powder, Kirkland’s  No Salt Seasoning, black pepper, and salt to taste. Next I added the crowder peas and black eye peas, a little more fresh chopped onion,  fresh chopped parsley, and a few sprigs of fresh thyme, and cooked  till tender allowing the liquid to cook down a bit. I taste-tested along the way and adjusted the seasonings as needed. That hock was so tasty and tender that it could very well have served as the meat entrée for the day.

The meat entrée was spice-rubbed broiled pork steaks. These were very tender and juicy. My family got right to them and didn’t even give me time to whip up a sauce for them. None was needed they said. I’m happy they enjoyed them

Garlic Mashed Potatoes rounded out the meal

Meanwhile…out in the garden…

Got my own little crop started. Next year there will be more

It’s just a beautiful thing to see them blossom, we know whats coming!

Ahhhh nature is doing its thing

Won’t be long now…

Shell’em!  Almost there. Can you smell what the Pot will be cookin?

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sybaritica
    Jul 06, 2012 @ 11:35:38

    It all looks terrific and very satisfying 🙂


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