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

Happy New Year!

Black eyed peas and rice is a larrupin southern tradition for New Year’s day. Hoppin’ John is popular in a lot of places, but I like to make mine with plain water.  You can buy black eyed peas fresh, frozen, or canned, but I usually cook them up from a bag of dried peas.

Black eyed peas

Just so you know, dried black eyed peas cook faster than the time suggested on the back of the bag.  If you don’t keep an eye on them you’ll end up with mushy peas. Today I put the peas in the pot, added a couple of inches of water, a chunk of already cooked ham pulled from the freezer, and turned the heat on kind of low so I could take a quick nap before my football game started. About an hour later they were tender and I was just about ready to eat.

I cut/pulled the ham into smaller chunks and added salt and pepper to taste. The rice—a combo of short grain brown and wild rice which adds color and texture—was ready and waiting, steamed yesterday to go with sweet and sour stir-fried pork.

I dipped up a bowl of peas with just enough liquid, a few chunks of ham on the side, rice on the other side, and green onions on the top of it all. The dime is for extra luck.

The dime is a family tradition and it’s supposed to go in the serving bowl. The person who dips up the dime is blessed with extra luck. But since I’m eating alone today I plopped the dime on top for picture purposes.

Like I said, larrupin!

January 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Spicy Red Snapper with Mango Salsa


That’s the only way to describe this recipe. And it’s very easy!
With a substantial green salad it’s easily a full meal.

The original recipe called for Red Snapper, but I’ve made it with Orange Roughy, Flounder, and most recently with Talapia.

It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Start Rice
  2. Make Mango Salsa
  3. Bake Fish

Here are the details.

1. Start Rice

I generally use brown rice, which takes a bit longer to prepare. I use a rice steamer and follow the directions. I start the rice first, and the meal is usually ready to serve when the rice the steamer shuts off about 45 minutes later.

2. Make Mango Salsa

Combine in medium mixing bowl:

  • 1 mango peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 C thinly sliced green onion
  • Variation: (in this version) 2 kiwi, peeled and diced
  • Optional: 1 Scotch bonnet, or hot green chili pepper, seeded and diced very fine. I usually use a Serrano Pepper or a couple of Jalapenos, but I’ve also thrown in a Habanero, just for kicks.


  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1 T vinegar
  • 1/2 t lime zest
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper

Stir together.
Just prior to serving stir in 2-3 T chopped cilantro.

3. Bake Fish
1 lb. Red Snapper, fresh or frozen (defrosted, of course)
Rinse, pat dry with paper towels.
Brush with 1 T lime juice, mixed with 1 T water.
Rub with Spicy Fish Seasoning*:

  • 1 t paprika
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t ginger
  • 1/4 t allspice
  • 1/4 t pepper

In shallow baking dish, bake uncovered in 450° oven until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Allow 4-6 minutes for each 1/2″ of thickness.

To serve brush with pan juices and serve with Mango Salsa
Garnish with lime slices and cilantro.

To pull it all together, start with a pile of rice, add fish to the side and top it all with the mango salsa. Garnish with lime slices and cilantro.
Oh. My. Gosh.

IF there are leftovers I put it all together in a plastic container. Usually the fish is gone, but there might be rice and mango salsa left over. I’ll eat the leftovers as a light snack within a day or so.

*After I realized how much I like this I made this Spicy Fish Rub in bulk and I keep it in a shaker bottle with my herbs and spices. It’s always handy to sprinkle on fish to use in this recipe.

June 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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