Hoppin’ John


My way.

I am not sure what possessed me tonight to decide to make a pot of black-eyed peas, but possessed I was and did become and now there’s this big pot of peas on the stove that needs to cook for another hour and a half or so.

So, come round my place about ten p.m. for a late dinner, it should be just about ready.

I don’t normally cook on a Friday night, I am either eating out with some folks doing that fellowship thing at Squat and Gobble in the Upper Haight, or I have a commitment elsewhere.

But I fulfilled my obligation this afternoon, making my way over to 23rd and Capp Street for a bit and then hitting it back to the Castro where I was nannying.

I got done with work and really couldn’t quite decide what to do.

Then intermittent rain was an encouragement to hie on home as was the need to watch my eating out, I can spend too much too quick and I decided to ride home, throw a Japanese sweet potato in the oven and go grocery shopping while it cooked.

I popped over to SafeWay, where I bought no meat or vegetable products.

Only toilet paper and yogurt and some tea.

Then back to the house to on load and go do the real market shopping over at Noriega Produce on Noriega and 46th.

Carrots, celery, apples, bananas, all organic.

One bag of Stumptown coffee–they have just started carrying it–unfortunately not the Holler Mountain, just the regular house blend.  Which still smells way better to me than  Sightglass or Four Barrel and definitely better than Ritual.  Although is there is no Stumptown I will happily drink any of those.

Heck, I’ll even buy some Philz now and again.

But Stumptown is my favorite and my go to.

It has been for a few years now.

After I got back from shopping I prepped some things and I debated about cooking up the peas but I have never done a pot of black-eyed peas before.

I have never eaten black-eyed peas either.

Something possessed me, like I said, and I bought a bag of dried black-eyed peas at Other Avenues Co-Op on Judah at 44th last week.

And then a piece of salt pork at the Whole Foods in the Castro yesterday.

I don’t frequently make one shopping trip in the week, I make three or four, I have to carry it back on my bicycle in my messenger bag, so when I see something I want, I tend to grab it.

I also will stock up on things that I think I might want to try.

A few weeks ago it was split pea soup.

But I made it my way with organic chicken breasts and carrots and Japanese sweet potato and carrot and broccoli and bulgur.

Split pea soup Californian style.

I think that my black-eyed peas are going to be about the same.

An amalgamation of Southern style peas and my own interpretation of how I want them to be.  I looked up a bunch of traditional black-eyed pea recipes on-line and after sifting through the recipes, just decided I was going to do it my way.

I took the peas and flash soaked them, brought them to a boil with some sea salt then let them sit for about an hour while I ate my dinner and balanced out my check book from the shopping trip.

Then I rinsed them off and covered them with three cups of organic chicken broth, added a few florets of cauliflower, rough chopped fine, some Spike, some chili powder, black pepper, cayenne, and some more sea salt.

While that was starting to simmer I chopped up some organic white onion and garlic and five stalks of celery and then diced the salt pork.

I sautéed that all down till it was lovely and brown and delicious smelling.

While the pork was browning and the celery was soaking up all the juice I minced up two carrots, added a cup of edamame to the pea mix and about a cup of white corn.  Then I took about half a cup of bulgur and stirred it into the salt pork/celery/onion/garlic mix and browned it lightly.

Once brown and toasty, I took the pan of pork and tipped it into the black-eyed pea and vegetable mixture.

Now simmering on my stove top.

I have no idea how this is going to taste, but I hazard it will be good, it smells fantastic.

I also put on a pot of brown rice to cook.

And voila!

I will have black-eyed peas with rice for the next few days.

My version.

I am half expecting a knock on the door from a friend to lay out a bowl of peas and rice.

Oh, there’s an idea, I should can up a jar for my friend up the street who is laid up with his foot surgery.  Nothing says neighborly like dropping off a jar of homemade soup.

I like doing things like that.

Sometimes I think it would be fun to start-up my own little soup label, I would make homemade soups and deliver them on my scooter or bicycle to you.

A little basket of love.

Paula Dean is probably rolling over in her kitchen with the liberties I took making the black-eyed peas, but I find that I have some sort of knack for making things mine.

I am not a chef, just a decent home schooled cook that likes making soup.

And other things too, but something about making a pot of soup soothes my soul.

This one needs to simmer for a bit longer, but if you’re hungry and in the hood, you know where to go.

Soup’s on.

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