I stumbled across an unbleached cake flour, produced by King Arthur mills, and for the first time I am able to make something close to a southern style baking powder biscuit.  Most cake flour is super-refined (and bleached), which is what makes cakes (and biscuits) very tender and moist because of the lower gluten content.  Soft flour is more finely ground, the soft winter wheat is high-starch & low-protein, and also contains a percentage of cornstarch which decreases gluten even further.  Of course, whole grains are good for us – but who doesn’t need a dose of guilty pleasure every now & again?  Everything in moderation, including moderation as  Mr. Wilde said.  He also uttered the inimitable last words, Either this wall paper goes…or I do.

You can adapt virtually any standard baking powder-, or buttermilk  biscuit recipe by substituting cake flour for (AP) all-purpose flour.  In place of 1 cup of all purpose flour, use 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp of cake flour.  Also make sure to use low-fat buttermilk (as opposed to fat-free), or regular sweet milk.

I had one other special ingredient that I was excited to incorporate:  Home-rendered lard that my friend Gary & I made a few weeks back.  Here’s how I made my first batch of southern style biscuits.

2-1/4 c unbleached cake flour

scant tsp salt

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp sugar

a generous 1/3 cup cold shortening (I used 1/2 butter and 1/2 lard)

a cup of buttermilk, more or less (you want an alarmingly sticky dough, something that makes you scared that the recipe has somehow failed.  This is normal).

Measure your flour by spooning it into your measuring cup & leveling off, and whisk together with other dry ingredients.  Cut in the shortening so it is like roughly coarse meal – a few larger bits of fat here & there will actually make it flakier.  Add buttermilk & stir as little as possible – only till the dough comes loosely together.  Don’t even knead this if you don’t have to – this is a very soft dough.

I shaped the biscuits not by rolling them out, but between my floured hands.  Just take a big spoonful of dough and plop it back & forth deftly until it more or less resembles a biscuit & then deposit it on a baking sheet, as carelessly and carefully as possible, if possible.  Lay them somewhat close to each other and have a hot oven ready (425F- 450).  You can get 12 biscuits, more or less, according to these proportions.

Some cooks bake biscuits in an iron skillet, or brush them with butter before baking, or all of the above.  Bake them till golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.

I sopped my biscuits (that is swirling equal amounts of sorghum syrup and soft butter together on a plate – and you push your hot biscuit around in the delicious mess until the butter melts.  Sorghum has a flavor that is sort of like the love child of molasses and corn syrup), and honestly I had eaten about four of those biscuits before I even knew what hit me.  Then I ate two more.

Have you ever heard of Maryland Beaten Biscuits?  I think I’m going to make them next, even though they use ordinary flour.  I will use home-rendered lard for that as well, because nothing else will do.  And I hope you have a Cuisinart– or a stump in your back yard, with a good beating stick, to prepare your Beat Biscuits.  Also, get you some good quality ham, because that’s what goes inside these little sandwiches.

Nota bene:  I don’t endorse specific products, but I do report on special finds.

It’s not as hard as you think.  I did it in about 30 minutes, including grinding one particular spice in a wooden mortar & pestle (I’ve had that device since 1976). And having 1-1/2# of good, fatty pork shoulder-roast on hand for about $4.50 — as opposed to 5.99 or 7.99/lb for the daily-made equivalent at a good butcher counter.  We can make sausage in the kitchen for half the cost, and better.  It’s better also because you made it yourself.

Chorizo is an exciting food, spread across continents and hemispheres.  It’s a flavorful, rich, pork sausage, and it must rest overnight before you cook with it, if you make it fresh.  Here’s what I did, following the suggestions of Bruce Adells, with Denis Kelly (Bruce Adells’ ‘Complete Sausage Book, Recipes from America’s Premier Sausage Maker‘ (c) 2000.  It’s a really good book).

Assemble:

1-1/2# pork butt (I used shoulder)

1/2# pork back fat ( I skipped this, because the cut was already so rich)

1 bunch of chopped cilantro (I used ~1-3/4 c vs. 1 c)

1 jalapeno, de-seeded & minced

1/4 c red wine vinegar

1 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika

1 tbsp ground chili (I used ancho, which is smoky and warm)

2 tsp Kosher salt (I used 1 generous tsp regular salt)

1-1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground cayenne

1/4 tsp ground coriander

I have an ancient Cuisinart, which is still almost like new.  I minced the pork (cut into 2″ rustic cubes) in three parts, ensuring an even, fine texture.

Knead everything together until uniform – it’s ready to cook- after a night of relaxing in the fridge.   It would be good with scrambled eggs, in a taco, and many other recipes as well.  This keeps in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for 2 months.  I will let you know how my first sausage experiment turned out very soon.

It’s been some time since I reported on cookbooks, but I have 2 additions that I have to mention, or lightning will strike me. The first is a 2011 Solstice gift from Diane, “BULL COOK and AUTHENTIC HISTORICAL RECIPES AND PRACTICES, by GEORGE LEONARD HERTER  and BERTHE E. HERTER,  Herter’s, Waseca, Minnesota“,  (c) 1960, 61, 62, 63 – in total 7 editions, and a treasure.  To give you a teaser, it provides the instruction for preparing “DOVES WYATT EARP”.  Mine is a 1963.

And today I found another real gold nugget:  a first-edition of “Brown Derby COOK BOOK”, (1949), forward by Rbt. H. Cobb, President, The Brown Derby Corporations, which finally closed in 1985, amid significant national nostalgia, having served generations of Hollywood’s elite.  It has a handsome brown leather cover, with speckled edges – and the seller asked only $6.  It’s worth $50 on Ebay, if you had the heart to sell something irreplaceable.   The Derby opened in 1926.  Sixty years is not a bad run.  The menu was famous for Grapefruit Cake, a cocktail, a Blackbottom Pie, Cobb Salad, a Red Velvet Cake, and a long list of other major & minor culinary credits.

(photo courtesy http://www.etsy.com/listing/78806862/hollywood-vintage-postcard-brown-derby )

Here is the renowned

Brown Derby Black Bottom Pie (10″, serves 8)

Start with Shell Pastry Dough For Open-Faced Pies, 2 10-inch shells

3/8 c (1/4 c & 2 Tbsp) sugar

1 egg

1/4 tsp. lemon rind, grated

Small pinch salt

1/2 tsp vanilla (bean or extract)

2/3 c butter

2-1/4 c flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Use an electric mixer to combine egg, lemon rind, salt, vanilla, until creamy.  Knead butter till smooth, and add to egg mixture.  [* that’s apparently correct – knead the butter?  Counter-intuitive = good. ]  Then combine all in the mixer at slow speed until a paste is formed.  Beat at high speed for only a moment or two.  Allow the paste to relax, and roll out thin on a lightly floured board, baking the shell at 400F for 10-12 min.  (probably best to do a blind-baking w some aluminum foil and/or pie-weights.)

Now on to the Black Bottom Pie

BROWN DERBY’S BLACK BOTTOM PIE

2 tsp (one envelope) unflavored gelatine

1/2 cup milk

1 oz. sugar (that’s 2 Tbsp)

1 pinch salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg yolk

3 ounces sweet chocolate

1 pt. cream, whipped (that’s 2 cups of heavy cream, not yet whipped)

1 prebaked baked pie shell

Soak gelatine in small amount of cold water for 15 minutes.  Bring milk to boiling point.  Beat together sugar, salt, half of vanilla, and egg yolks until light, thick, and creamy.  Add 1/2 of the boiling milk over egg mixture.  Blend well, then add to remaining hot milk.  Return to heat, stirring constantly, for a few seconds.  Remove from fire before boiling point is reached.  Press soaked gelatine free of any excess water and dissolve in hot mixture.  Strain through a very fine sieve.  Add 2 ounces of the chocolate, which has been shaved; beat until smooth.  Cool until it reaches creamlike consistency.  Fold in half of whipped cream and remaining  half of vanilla.  Fill prebaked pie shell.  Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Top with remaining whipped cream 1 inch thick.  Remaining chocolate is now shaved into curled spears and stuck in top.  Dust with grated chocolate.

For reference, here is a little more background and some modern context for this famous Hollywood eatery,  as well as an updated read on this recipe:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dailydish/2011/10/from-the-culinary-sos-archive-the-brown-derbys-black-bottom-pie.html

I have a favorite bread recipe that I’ve used for decades – and I don’t usually follow recipes when I bake bread – which can be once a week.  This requires a 1-hour first proofing before shaping into loaves, so it’s quick.  It keeps well, but disappears quickly, it’s so delicious.  This Wholegrain Wheat Bread recipe comes from Mildred Ellen Orton’s “Cooking with WHOLEGRAINS, THE Basic WHOLEGRAIN COOKBOOK, NEW REVISED EDITION WITH NEW RECIPES $1.95“, originally published in 1951.  Quite a trailblazer.

1-1/2 c warm water

2-1/4 tsp (1 pkg) dry yeast

2 tsp brown sugar

1/2 c powdered milk

4+ c whole wheat flour

1/4 c brown sugar

1 tsp salt

1/4 liquid shortening

I have halved the original recipe, so this will make 1 loaf pan, or 2 round loaves.

Dissolve yeast in the water, along with 2 tsp brown sugar, and allow to stand while mixing dry ingredients.  Combine 4 cups flour, with powdered milk, 1/4 c brown sugar and salt.

Add half of the flour mixture to the water – and I use an electric stand-mixer – mix thoroughly.  Add liquid shortening (I use ordinary vegetable oil) and remaining flour mixture.  For some reason I have found that sometimes I need at least another cup of flour to make a workable dough – it will be quite soft, but that’s ok.  I usually let the dough-hook knead for about 10 minutes when all the flour has been added.

Allow this to rise for an hour, punch down & separate into 2 equal parts.  Fit the two small loaves into a 9 x 5 buttered bread pan and allow to rise for another 1/2 hour.  The loaves may be separated after they have baked.  Or you can bake them as free-standing round loaves.

Bring oven to 400F and bake the bread for 15 minutes, reducing the heat to 350F.  Continue baking for 25-30 minutes.  Remove bread from pans immediately and place on wire cooling racks.  Brush tops with butter.

This bread makes unbelievably magnificent toast!

One of the things I look forward to in May is the arrival of green almonds at the Iranian deli/market in Minneapolis.  A few years ago I was exploring the aisles and shelves of the Persian pantry & I came across some fresh produce – which included a pile of unrecognizable and significant looking fuzzy things.  They were green almonds, and the grocer invited me to taste one, pointing out that they were available only for a very short window each year – and therefore a delicacy.

So after a few years of arriving in May so I could taste them again and again, today I found out that there’s yet another delicacy – sour plums (Gojeh Sabz).  They are closely related to apricots.  The grocer said that people like to put them in salads, or snack on them as appetizers.  I also discovered a few interesting links dealing with green almonds, from Israel to Morocco:

http://mypersiankitchen.com/gojeh-sabz-persian-sour-plums/

http://www.applepiepatispate.com/main-course/lamb-fava-beans-green-almonds/

http://www.israelikitchen.com/eating-local/green-almonds-mean-springtime/

http://www.thehungrymouse.com/2010/05/01/green-almonds/

Here is the Bistro/market where I buy them:  http://www.caspianbistro-mn.com/

I like the sour plums (watch out for the tiny pits) dipped in a dab of salt – they are mouth-puckering & delicious.

And for fans of durable kitchenware – I found a treasure – an ancient Mezzaluna at an estate sale for $5.  I shined it up and restored its blade, but it is going to take me some practise to get good at using it well.

I can’t remember when I began making fried rice, but it serves well as an emergency meal, or a nice dinner for a few people.  If you keep your cupboard stocked w rice (white or brown), tofu (or any leftover cooked meat); and if you have a handful of Asian specialty ingredients, you can make this version of fried rice – it’s the first time I’m trying to write this thing down, which changes every time I make it.  My general approach doesn’t change much however.  It’s an economical dish, and it refrigerates well, if you have any left over.

I have never used a lot of oil or salt when I make this dish – and I often avoid restaurant fried-rice, generally because it’s saturated w oil and soy sauce.  I limit my soy sauce (and a little fish sauce) to the marinade for the protein- in this case tofu.

I’ll be as faithful as possible to the measurements and proportions I use.  First of all, rinse well a cup of white rice and cook with 1-1/2 cups of water- optionally adding a scant tsp of salt or less, to your liking.   If you use brown rice, it will take  longer to cook and will require additional cooking liquid – but it also packs a lot more flavor – and it’s a whole grain.  Fluff w a fork and allow to cool, while you prepare your protein.  Alternately, you could cook your rice w an equivalent measure of vegetable-, or chicken stock, maybe w a Star Anise thrown in for good measure- this will provide an almost indefinable flavor and some richness, and I highly recommend it.

Marinade:

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp fish sauce

2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (or Umeboshi plum vinegar)

2 Tbsp rice wine

2 Tbsp water

Stir these liquid ingredients together and pour over 1/2 pound of tofu, cut into 3/4″ cubes (or a generous cup of shredded cooked chicken, leftover pork, sliced cooked beef, etc.)  Allow your protein to repose in the marinade, and as Alice B. Toklas says, acquire virtue.  This can be 10 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator.  Meanwhile, have your vegetables ready for stir fry.

You can get prepackaged Asian-style veg in the freezer section of your grocery store.  I have often used a couple of cups of ordinary frozen mixed vegetables, and that makes a perfectly wonderful fried rice.

Today I prepped mine fresh:

1 med carrot, cut into thin matchsticks

2 med stalks celery, sliced thinly on the diagonal

2 med scallions, sliced thinly on the diagonal

1/4 of a small head of cabbage, cut into med-fine shreds

1/2 green pepper, sliced thinly

1 small jalapeno pepper, sliced thinly on the diagonal

You will also need:

1 tsp finely grated ginger (or more)

1 finely minced or grated clove of garlic (or more)

1/2 tsp dried, ground shrimp powder

Since all your ingredients are now in place, you can start really cooking, and you are now only minutes away from meal-time.  It all starts moving very quickly.

Start with an egg or two, whisked in a bowl with 2 tsp cooking oil and 1/4 tsp white pepper.  In your wok or a large skillet place a Tbsp of cooking oil (and a few drops of sesame oil) and quickly let the egg set in a relaxed thin sheet.  Remove to a plate or cutting board and slice into slender ribbons.  Set aside.

Next, transfer your tofu (or other protein) from the marinade to the hot wok or skillet surface, with 1 Tbsp of cooking oil, and a few drops of sesame oil.  Allow to gain a little color and heat through very well, tossing lightly over med/high heat for a minute or two.  Remove the cooked protein from the heat, add to your collection of cooked egg; wipe out your wok or skillet and bring it back to heat.

Add ginger, garlic and dried, ground shrimp (or a bit of shrimp paste) if you happen to have it at your elbow, to the hot oil, and  agitate vigorously, careful not to allow anything to burn and become bitter.  At once, add all of your veg and toss around, until they are cooked as crisp or limp as your heart desires.  I usually only cook mine for 2-3 minutes, which allows them to retain their color, nutrition, texture and flavor.  Eat your vegetables! 🙂

Add your cooked rice to the veg and incorporate gently, adding the protein and cooked egg at the end.

Finally, I added a 1/4 c of chopped cilantro, and a couple of Tbsp of Thai holy basil.

This basic recipe I’ve made over the years, dozens of different ways, and it always somehow comes out well.  I forgot the bean sprouts.

I don’t know what else to call them.  When I bake bread, usually once a week, I take part of the dough, add an egg, extra sweetening & more butter.  This is what’s known as a rich egg- or sweet- yeast dough.  Make a kuchen, a stollen, Parkerhouse rolls.  You could even treat it something like croissants.

After a second rising and deflating, let the dough rest for a few minutes.  Then ease it out into a solid rectangle, about 10 x 16.  Brush 2 T of soft butter across 1/2, and fold it like a book.  Carefully roll out again, like a long rectangle, give a 1/4 turn and fold both edges into the middle, and close it like a book once more ; wrap with plastic, refrigerate and forget about it all for a while.  The gluten will relax, and in another 1/2 hr you’ll be ready to repeat the process one more time, which produces a couple dozen layers.

I finished with a 14 x 8 rectangle and divided it longways with a very sharp knife.  Then I cut each length by six = 12 portions.  I place them in a greased muffin tin, so they fan out on top.  After a 1/2 hr rising I gave them a spray of water and poppy seed and put them in a 375F oven for about 20 min.

Cool on a wire rack, and they are very good, even after they have cooled completely.

A few times a year I try to prepare recipes that I have never previously attempted in my life – sometimes because I lacked certain equipment, or ingredients, or nerve.  Yes, I have been intimidated by everything from Chopped Liver to Paella, MaPoDofu to Pheasant Wellington.

I found a gorgeous Paellera (a paella pan) at a church basement sale 2 days ago, and as I work up the courage to make paella in the near future, I decided to rev-up my engine by making Bouillabaisse for the first time.  I don’t know why I waited this long.

This recipe is adapted from the New York Times International Cookbook, which was gifted to me by a friend many years ago.  As I started fishing around for recipes (no pun intended) I finally settled on this recipe source, and incorporated parts of Bouillabaisse I & Bouillabaisse II.  I didn’t have any clams or mussels; however, I did have about a pound of good frozen cod, so I used that as well as some cooked and peeled frozen shrimp as a starting point.

I will record the version I adapted, but it is important to look at the original recipes, because they represent authentic approaches.  My attempt is a home-cook’s improvisation with ingredients at hand.

1 to 1-1/2# striped bass, black bass or other white, flesh,non-oily fish, about one & a half inch thick steaks

2 T olive oil

1 T butter

1 large onion, chopped (about 2 c)

1 large stalk celery, chopped

1 bay laurel leaf, dried or fresh

1 generous tsp saffron

salt & freshly ground pepper

1 cup tomato puree, plus 1 more generous cup or so of tomato pulp

generous pinch of dried thyme, or slightly more if it is fresh

1 big clove minced garlic

Tabasco sauce, several good strong dashes will do

4 c good fish stock (it can be found in some supermarkets, or you can make it w very little trouble, using fish bones, shrimp shells, etc)

about 18 shrimp (I used a 70-90 count/pound)

big pinch of anise seed, finely ground to dust

2-3 T chopped parsley

Over medium heat add the olive oil & butter to a deep, heavy vessel, adding onion, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, ground anise seed,and crumble the saffron well into the mix.  Bring to a boil, adding 1 cup of tomato, thyme and Tabasco.  I didn’t have fresh tomatoes, but I did have some very good home-canned tomatoes, so I used that – you will be using at least 2, and perhaps almost 3 cups of tomato in total.  Allow everything to simmer for 1/2 hour, after adding the fish stock, and reducing the heat to low.

After this has had a chance to mingle and the fragrances marry, and your kitchen starts to smell really good, lay your fish over the stew, cover and continue to cook gently for another 8-10 minutes.

About 5 minutes from the end of cooking add your shrimp (or other shellfish, and cook according to convention, which would otherwise be about 10 minutes)

Follow by strewing in chopped parsley, and gently incorporating, using the spoon to separate and flake the cooked fish into generous pieces that will fit onto a spoon.  If you use white wine (that would probably be about 1/2 c) and Pernod (an anise flavored liqueur- probably a Tbsp) you could add these during cooking.

]

Serve with croutons – or as I did with hot buttered toast, from homemade bread.  This may not be the most faithful rendition of bouillabaisse evar, but making this helped me lose my fear of making it again.

A world famous dish can be created in your kitchen, and the grocery bill doesn’t have to be huge.  I took short cuts, but if you can lay hands on some clams, lobster or mussels – they would go in the pot, too.  The only really costly item is saffron, and there aren’t much ways around that.  It’s an overarching characteristic of the dish, in color & flavor.  You can almost eat bouillabaisse just by breathing it in.

I’d like to forward this recipe from a wonderful, compact Thai cookbook, and I’m sorry that I didn’t take photos.  I’ve mentioned this author in one of my cookbook gazetteers, a year or so back.  Eng Tie Ang published a modest volume of Thai cuisine in ‘Delightful Thai Cooking’, in 1990.

Fifteen years ago, I was happy to find her paperback title in a used book store in Minneapolis, which taught me how to shop for Thai recipe ingredients.  This was proved to be both complex and simple.  Fortunately we also have an excellent specialty Thai superstore in Minneapolis, http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/news/2006/08/16/twin-cities-best-asian-markets

Gaeng Pet Gai (chicken curry)

4 T veg oil

10 dried red chilies, soaked, drained, chopped (I used Szechuan chilies and a hand-held food processor)

1 yellow onion chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed

a 1″ dried, or 1 tsp ground galangal root (Kha, or galanga). It is sometimes referred to as Thai ginger in the local markets.  It’s also a stand-out flavor in a world-famous coconut chicken curry soup w straw mushrooms.  Do not be a stranger to this unfamiliar and beautiful spice.

1 trimmed stalk fresh lemon grass, cut into 2″ lengths (I also give them a good pounding w a wooden mallet before I slice them for cooking.  It brings all their beautiful perfume into the final dish.)

4 T fresh chopped coriander

1 tsp ground nutmeg (this ingredient caught me by surprise, but it’s good)

6 kaffir lime leaves (I used dried, but fresh is always better)

1 T ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt (I used a little less, and it was fine)

2 boned, skinned chicken breasts, in 1″ cubes (I used 4 whole thighs)

1 can bamboo shoot (6 oz), cut into fine shreds (I used an equivalent amount of shredded, sour young bamboo shoots)

one 14-oz can coconut milk

20 fresh Thai basil leaves

Heat oil in a medium sized pot, stir-frying the chilies, onion and garlic until they become highly fragrant.  Add galangal root, lemon grass, fresh coriander, nutmeg, kaffir lime leaves, ground coriander, cumin and salt.  Cook for a couple of minutes over med-high heat.

Add chicken and agitate for a minute or 2 before adding bamboo shoots (or bamboo shoot-kraut) and coconut milk.  Cover & simmer 20 min over low heat, until chicken is tender.  Fold in the Thai basil leaves, and serve over steamed white rice (of course Thai rice is recommended, but I use Basmati).

*if you use powdered or dried lemon grass -or galanga powder, add both during the last 10 min of cooking, according to Madame Eng Tie Ang

Here are a few recipes that visitors online have requested at one time or another –  My favorite Shoofly, Hoppin John, and Moravian Love Feast Buns.  I don’t have photos for any of these at the moment.

There are 2 types of Shoofly Pie- one is generally referred to as ‘wet’, the other ‘dry’. This is the wet variety (that just means it’s not dry like cake- it should come out very moist, almost like a bread pudding.) Some people only put the crumbs on the bottom of the pie shell, others put the molasses mixture on the bottom. I put most of the crumbs on the bottom, and scatter the reserve over the top.

unbaked 9″ pie pastry
3/4 c flour
1/2 c br sugar
1/2 t cinnamon (generous)
dash salt
2 T butter
1/2 c molasses (I use dark)
3/4 c very hot water
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/2 t baking soda

Cut the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl mix molasses, soda & hot water- beat in the egg yolk quickly so it doesn’t scramble and get hard. Put most of the crumbs in the bottom of the pie shell so it is roughly even- it doesn’t have to look perfect- no one’s going to see it because you’re going to pour the molasses mixture all over it anyway.  Sprinkle w remaining crumbs over all & bake in 375 oven for about 40-45 min

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My Hoppin John  (a special New Year’s dish)

* sort, soak overnight, and drain one dry # of black eyed peas (drown them in water)
* a  ham hock or meaty ham bone (sometimes I substitute smoked turkey)
– or today, I used an Andouille sausage in place of all of the above
* 2 medium onions, divided
* 3 large cloves garlic, halved
* a bay leaf
* 1 cup rice
* 1 can (10 to 14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with chile peppers, juices reserved
* 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
* 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
* 3 stalks celery, chopped
* 1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper, minced
* 2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
* 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 4 green onions, sliced

Preparation:
In a large Dutch oven or kettle, combine the drained black-eyed peas, ham bone or ham hocks, and 6 cups water. Cut 1 of the onions in half and add it to the pot along with the garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a boil NO SALT added, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until the beans are tender but not mushy (probably a couple of hours). Remove the ham bone or hocks- or turkey-, cut off the meat; dice and set aside. Drain the peas and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaf, onion pieces, and garlic.  If salt is introduced as the beans cook, they will become tough & unpleasant.  Season them after they have completed cooking.

*Five Bean Rule:   give the pot a good stir, pick out 5 random beans and pinch them.  If they all squish and yield between your fingers, they are perfect.

Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice, cover, and simmer until the rice is almost tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Chop the remaining onion then add to everything else. Cook until the rice is tender. Stir in the sliced green onions and the reserved diced ham.

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Moravian Love Feast Buns
(recipe from the Moravian Music Journal– this is from about 30 years ago).  This communal act of  worship has been described as an Agape Feast, where collective resolve is strengthened among the community,  and goodwill is affirmed.  The two key food components are Lovefeast coffee, which is like a mild sweet cafe au lait; and a soft, sweet raised bun, which goes perfectly with coffee or cocoa- or in many locations on many occasions,  orange juice, tea or Kool-aid.
oven 350 degrees

1 c mashed potatoes
1 c sugar
½ t salt
½ c warm water
1 T grated orange rind
1 t. grated lemon rind
½ t nutmeg
5-6 c flour
½ c scalded milk
½ c butter
3 pkg dry yeast
2 eggs, beaten
1 T orange juice
1 t. lemon juice
½ t. mace

Cool potatoes to lukewarm. Scald milk, adding sugar, butter, and salt.
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Into sugar mixture stir the lukewarm milk, potatoes, yeast, eggs, lemon/orange rinds & juices, nutmeg/mace.

Stir in 2 ½ c flour until smooth
Add enough additional flour to make soft dough and knead till satiny. Let rise till double, punch down cover & rest for 5-10 min.

Shape into approx. 2” balls, and place on greased pans, not touching; let rise till doubled.
Bake 15-20 min. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar when fresh from oven