Uncommonly Good

Black Rice and Black Eyed Peas

This year my New Year’s Black Eyed Peas were a little different than in year’s past. Well, the peas and the cornbread were the same, but the rice was different. It was black rice.

I heard about black rice on Dr. Oz sometime last year and after shopping around town I found two packages marked down for clearance at one grocery store. I bought them both.

Black Eyed Peas and Black Rice

I prepare black rice in my rice cooker the same as white or brown rice. It pretty much tastes like the other rices, but it seems like there is more to it. It’s very nutritional and I’m looking for a consistent supplier. I hope I can buy it locally, but if not I’ll spring for shipping and get it online.

I seasoned the black-eyed peas with a hearty ham bone with lots of meat on it. It was leftover from Thanksgiving and I froze it so I would have it for my lucky black-eyed peas (check out the dime). It was a much larger bone than I needed for the small batch of dried peas I had. Instead of cooking it in the peas, I boiled it separately in a large stock pot with the usual seasonings.

When I was ready to cook the peas I used the ham stock instead of water. I seasoned as I usually do and added a good size chunk of ham. I watched the peas and kept the heat low. Black eyed peas cook much faster than other beans and it I usually cook them to mush before I realize it.

I also used ham stock to for the rice instead of water. It really added to the flavor and they were great to go with the black-eyed peas and another pot of beans I cooked up on New Year’s Day.

I used the rest of the ham stock and ham to cook a pot of  cannellini beans. This is a white bean, similar to Great Northern or Navy beans. Cannellini beans—also used in Minestrone, one of my favorite soups—seem to have more flavor and texture than other white beans. I buy them in bulk from The Earth and try to always have a tin or jar of them on hand.



January 4, 2012 Posted by | Beans | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Grilled Cheddar and Ham

Today’s selection is ham, sharp cheddar cheese, and dill pickle on homemade bread smeared with Johnny Walker’s Mustard #7.   I think you get the picture.

Coming soon: Gouda, Jarlsberg, Gruyère, Pepper Jack…  grilled chicken and pineapple, turkey and cranberry, steak and red peppers…


Grilled Cheddar and Ham

April 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Balsamic Ham and Salami Panino

According to Wikipedia: A panino is a sandwich made from a small loaf of bread, typically a ciabatta (an Italian white bread). The bread is cut horizontally and filled with salami, ham, meat, cheese or other food and sometimes served hot. A grilled panino is buttered on the outside and grilled in a press.

Even though I used French bread, I’m calling this a Balsamic Ham and Salami Panino.

  • Turn the heat to medium high and put the bread face-down on the grill to warm while you slice red peppers and part of a purple onion.
  • When the grill is hot, saute the veggies in extra virgin olive oil. When the veggies are tender, move them to the side and throw on the salami and ham.
  • As the meat warms I sprinkle it all with Janz and toss it together with tongs to mix the flavors. Add a splatter of Balsamic Vinegar just before you put the sandwich together.

To build the sandwich:

  1. Start with slices of Provolone on both halves of the warm bread
  2. Put strips of pepper and onion on top of the cheese
  3. Add layers of salami and ham
  4. Splatter the grill with a little more olive oil if needed and put the sandwich together on hot grill
  5. Press with a sandwich press* if you have one. If you don’t have a press, use the bottom of another iron skillet.
  6. When bottom of sandwich is brown, turn and press the other side. You’ll know it’s done when the cheese starts to drip down and sizzle on the grill.
  7. Serve with additional Balsamic Vinegar for dipping.


*My “sandwich press” is actually a bacon press. I bought it new a few years ago. I think it just cost $3-4 at the time.

June 7, 2008 Posted by | Sandwich | , , , | Leave a comment


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