Hoppin’ John and Jalapeno Corn Muffins

It’s supposedly good luck to eat hoppin’ john on New Year’s day (in fact, the legend goes for the best luck, you should try to eat at least 365 black-eyed peas for good luck in the new year).  I had never heard of this tradition until last year, and this is the second year in a row that we’ve observed the practice. Hoppin’ john goes well with corn muffins, so I also tried out a jalapeno corn muffin recipe.

I used the hoppin’ john recipe from our latest Cooking Light magazine, with a few modifications:

olive oil
1/2 a yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup sliced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
a pinch of salt, to taste
3/4 tsp paprika (smoked is best)
1/2 tsp thyme (fresh or dried)
ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
2 cups dried black-eyed peas
3/4-1 cup diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup brown rice

Rinse the black-eyed peas, cover with 6 cups of water in a pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for one hour (if you ever need to know how much water and time you need to cook dried grains and beans, this is a helpful chart).

Rinse the brown rice and cover with 2 cups of water in a pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer about 30 minutes (you don’t want the rice to be completely done, as you’ll be adding it to the hoppin’ john to finish cooking).

Heat a large pot over medium high heat, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot, and add onion, bell pepper, and celery. Cook about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes and cooked black-eyed peas, along with the salt, paprika, thyme, black pepper, and ground red pepper and stir well. Drain any extra water off the cooking rice and add the rice to the black-eyed peas mixture and stir well.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the rice is done (up to 10 more minutes or so). Be sure to keep stirring to avoid burning the bottom of the pan, and feel free to add more liquid (water or more diced tomatoes) if needed.

Hoppin' John copyright Sarah Bhimani

I found the recipe for the jalapeno cornbread muffins here.  Overall, the recipe is a good one.  The muffins are best fresh with Earth Balance butter and honey. The ones we saved in the refrigerator got a tiny bit slimy, as gluten-free baked goods tend to do, but when we microwaved them, they still tasted great.  If you don’t like too much spice, omit the second jalapeno and don’t put any jalapeno slices on top.

Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

Happy New Year!


Kohlrabi Potato Soup

Now that I (Sarah, that is) have a bit more free time, I hope to add a bit more regularly to this blog and to spend a little more time practicing photography.  Here’s a great dish that Rabi recently made.  Now that our garden has wrapped up for the year, we are left with hardy and root vegetables, such as kohlrabi and potatoes.  Rabi found a recipe for Kohlrabi Potato Soup, and this is a great, tasty way to use kohlrabi, especially if you are sick of eating it raw or in stir-frys.  The original recipe can be found here, and the only difference that Rabi made was that he used our red potatoes from the garden and didn’t peel them.  Our version of the soup turned out much lighter in color, but we’re not sure why. I strongly suggest that you definitely make use of the toppings – they are a nice balance to the rooty soup.

Kohlrabi Potato Soup

Dal Soup

Yum! This is one of our staples. Lentils are cheap. We buy a big bag of rice from Costco (this is Basmati, which tastes better than jasmine, from our local food co-op), diced tomatoes from Costco, and coconut milk by the case from the co-op to save some costs. The recipe comes from our friend Kelsey’s book, Vegetarian Cooking by Fiona Biggs.


2 T butter (I use canola oil, because Earth Balance is pricey!)
2 or more garlic cloves, crushed or sliced
1 onion (we use less, and I used flakes this time, because we were out of onion. Good results!)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 lbs 4 oz (2 14 oz cans works) canned, chopped toms & juice
1 cup lentils (green is the way to go, because red get mushy)
2 tsp lemon juice
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock (or whatever stock or bouillon is lying around)
1 1/4 cups coconut milk (1 14 oz can)
salt and pepper to taste
serve with naan, white or brown rice


Melt butter (or heat oil), add garlic and onion and saute 2-3 minutes. Add turmeric, garam masala, chili powder, and cumin. Stir in tomatoes, lentils, lemon juice, stock, and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, ~30 minutes until lentils are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Ministrone with Jaw Dropping Chard

Photo by Amanda Opitz.

This recipe is a keeper. My friend Chris also recommended this recipe, which can be found at the food network. Next time I make this, I’ll add the chard later so that it does not wilt as much in the soup.

Photo by Amanda Opitz.

As you can see, I like to add the chard stalks with the tougher veggies so they are cooked long enough.

Photo by Amanda Opitz.

Vegetable Soup in Red Wine Sauce

This recipe was found on Big Oven. I used a parsnip instead of a turnip, which turned out to not be very tasty. We’re working on a big bottle of Carlo Rossi Burgundy and this seemed like a good idea. I also didn’t use the shallots in the recipe. They suggested adding the flour to brown the vegetables, which turned out to be a bad idea. The flour burned to the bottom of the pan. Next time, I’ll add this with the red wine or after more liquid is added.

Slow Cooked Venison Potato Stew

This is a great recipe! I found it from Slow and Simple . I used a good amount of venison (over 2 pounds, thanks to my brother) and plenty of potatoes to fill up the crock. I used a cup and a half of red wine (bought a large bottle of Carlo Rossi Burgundy for cooking). Instead of using beef broth, I used a cube of beef bouillon. I added a healthy amount of Worcestershire Sauce. I pre-mixed the flour (Carol’s Sorghum Blend from 1,000 Gluten Free Recipes) with the spices before adding to the mix. Since we were in a rush, I started the recipe on high and then turned it to low and then warm as we waited for our company to arrive. I added a good amount of mushrooms about 30 minutes to an hour before the stew was done cooking.

Beef Stew

For this dinner I used a recipe from For the Love of Cooking and combined it with one from the Food Network.  I mostly sourced the first link for the idea. This was a fairly easy meal to prepare. I did not cook the soup for nearly as long as called for in the instructions and it still came out great. My flare to the meal was adding a quart of tomatoes and putting brown rice below the stew when serving in a bowl (the rice was Sarah’s idea). I tried to thicken the soup with potato starch instead of corn starch, but the potato starch behaved strangely when adding it to hot liquid. Luckily this was in a separate bowl and so I just discarded the experiment. All in all, it was a tasty meal, especially served with a delicious salad!