June 24, 2010

Southern Cuisine: Hoppin' John, Killed Salad and Sweet Potato Biscuits

Preserving Our Cultural Heritage: Hoppin' John with Killed Salad and Sweet Potato Biscuits 

These recipes are part of an effort to preserve classic old recipes but with a no-oil, plant-based update.  Many classic dishes from our cultures are full of meat and fat and only push us further down the road toward heart attacks, strokes and obesity.  These recipes help us continue to enjoy the tastes of our past without sacrificing our health in the process.

Hoppin' John with Killed Salad, Sweet Potato Biscuits and Jefferson Davis Pie

These are classic Southern recipes that come straight out of the American Civil War 150 years ago.  Here's a quick rundown for those who don't live in the South.

Hoppin' John is the Southern version of beans and rice.
Killed Salad is salad and onions with a hot vinegar dressing.

I know I said I would start with Mom's nut roll, but Mom will have to wait.  This meal was wonderful!

Hoppin' John
3 C cooked brown rice
3 C cooked beans
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 C minced fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

This recipe couldn't be easier.  The traditional recipe for Hoppin' John is even simpler.  Beans, rice, salt, pepper, onion and garlic.  This dish cried out for fresh herbs, so I added some cilantro.  Hoppin' John is excellent with Louisiana Hot Sauce too.  This dish can be served hot or cold.  Serves 4-6.

Killed Salad
1 head of lettuce, chopped
2 sweet onions, sliced
1/3 C tofu bacon bits (see below)
1/2 C cider vinegar

This salad has a salad dressing that is hot.  This is something I haven't run across before and it was excellent!  If you really love Vidalia onions, this recipe originally calls for 6 onions rather than 2!  Pan fry the tofu bacon bits mixture in a nonstick pan until crispy.  Then, add the vinegar and heat for 30 seconds or so until it boils.  Remove from heat and immediately pour over salad.  Serves 4.

Tofu Bacon Bits
1/3 C extra firm tofu, diced
2 T soy sauce
3 shakes of Liquid Smoke
1/4 t black pepper

Here's another cooking lesson.  What is bacon at its essence?  Salty, smoky protein with black pepper thrown in.  That's exactly what we have here.  Mix it all together and let marinate for at least an hour.  Then pour it into a nonstick pan and fry until crispy, about 10-15 minutes.

Sweet Potato Biscuits
3/4 C sweet potato, cooked and mashed
3/4 C non-dairy milk
2.5 C whole wheat flour
4 t baking powder
1 T sugar
1 t salt

This recipe needed very little translation except to eliminate a small amount of butter.  These biscuits are a bit dense but very tasty and authentic to tradition.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Blend sweet potatoes and milk together.  In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Mix wet and dry ingredients together thoroughly to make a soft dough.  If the dough is too sticky, add flour one tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together and is workable.  Roll dough to 1/2" thick and cut biscuits out with a water glass or biscuit cutter.  Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.  Makes about 12 biscuits.

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