We eat well around here. REALLY well: after private school tuition, food and eating out are our next highest expenditures. (And yes, that's ahead of mortgage, utitilities and gas...and my husband drives 180 miles a day and I drive 60...minimum.)
Recipes (OTHER THAN BAKING) are put there as guidelines. In general, I read over a recipe, then lay it out and only look at the ingredients. Amounts depend on...stuff. What's handy. What's available. What we like. What we don't like. Whether I was willing to drive 30 miles for something or six. Life's about variables.
So what the HELL is with recipes that cause for odd amounts of stuff? As in, I don't read Cooking Light because life's too short to live light. I never had to worry about hydrogenated, because I never gave up butter. Pshaw.
But this past week, as we sat passing time in a medical environment, my son-in-law bought magazines. And because we like what we like, he bought food magazines and one of them was Cooking Light. And there is a recipe in there for Black-Eyed Pea Stew.
It calls for black-eyed peas (you think?), smoked sausage and mustard greens. Well, don't THAT just crank a Center Star tractor? So I came in Friday and made this dish. Only, like I said, I don't check ingredients because, puh-leeze, some of this stuff is just common sense. Right?
WHY IN THE HELL would you print a recipe that calls for two cups of black-eyed peas, when there are THREE CUPS in a bag? What...you SAVE one cup of dried black-eyed peas? For what? No one ever needs one cup of black-eyed peas...that's like, here: have a BITE of pizza. No thanks, I think I'll have the whole pie, isn't that the point?
And if I hadn't already dumped the entire bag of peas in there and realized I was short on liquid I wouldn't even have NOTICED that the recipe calls for...eight ounces of smoked sausage. Eight ounces. Those babies come in 16 ounce packs. I know, because when I dug the wrapper out of the trash, that's what it said. So there I sit. I've got the wrong amount of sausage and the wrong amount of black-eyed peas and WHAT? NOW I go back and read that shit? I don't think so. Except that when I did, it pointed out that it wanted 10 ounces of mustard greens. And there are 16 in a bag. Well. Just kiss my ass all to hell and back.
Having made these points, I want you to know I AM available for cooking/recipe editing. If only to point out that...THERE'S A POUND IN THAT BOX. Don't get cute. (And while I'm at it? Freshly ground pepper is wasted in a cooked dish. Buy that restaurant pepper. Trust me.)
So here's what came of the recipe and it was lovely. Hot cornbread made, need I say, with bacon grease. Corn relish made, because the corn didn't come out of Ray Smith's field that morning, with supermarket corn I cut off the cob and toasted in a black skillet. And, to give credit where credit is due, beer. Just like the magazine suggested.
But I'm still just bumfuzzled. Why wouldn't you create the recipe, using what's in the package? Why complicate things that just really don't call for complication? Use the whole bag of peas, all of the polska keilbasa and the entire batch of greens...this is what cold weather was made for.
1 bag dried black-eyed peas
1 tablespoon peanut oil (olive worked just fine, thank you)
3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion (they sell chopped onion in bags. It's white. It works.)
8 oz turkey keilbasa, halved & sliced (do I even have to GO here?)
4 cups organic vegetable broth (I used plain chicken plus water when things got dry)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 28-oz can no-salt diced tomatoes (You know better, right?)
1 10-oz bag prewashed mustard greens
Cook the onions in the oil, add the sausage. Add the broth, stir and add peas, salt and peppers. Bay leaves. Cover and cook 45 minutes. Uncover and cook 15 minutes. Stir in vinegar, tomatoes and greens. Simmer 10 minutes.