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Cucumber, Tomato, & Herb Salad - (Makes 4 servings)



2 cucumber, peeled

2 large ripe tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons red wine or apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

15 mint leaves, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup parsley leaves

1/4 cup snipped chives



1.  Cut the cucumbers and tomatoes into 3/4 -inch cubes and toss with the remaining ingredients, adding more salt and pepper as desired.



Creamed Sweet Corn - (Makes 4 to 6 servings)



4 to 5 ears corn, shucked

2 cups heavy cream

1 red or green jalapeno pepper, stemmed & minced

4 scallions (green & white parts), minced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

Ground black pepper



1. Cut the kernels off the cobs and place in a medium skillet.  Add the cream, jalapeno, and scallions then cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.  Season with lemon juice, salt,  and pepper to taste.



Okra & Tomatoes - (Makes 4 servings)



1 tablespoon bacon fat

1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, & finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 plum tomatoes, diced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 bay leaves

1 teaspoon rosemary

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 1/3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups trimmed okra, cut into 1 1/2-inch slices



1.  In a medium skillet, heat the bacon fat over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic then sauté for 2 minutes.


2.  Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, bay leaves, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and vinegar.  Cook for 10 minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down and form something of a paste, then add the broth and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes longer over low heat.


3.  Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the okra and sauté for 5 minutes.  Stir the okra into the tomato sauce, the raise the heat to medium and simmer for another 10 minutes.


4.  Taste for seasonings and adjust as desired.



Stewed Lima Beans - (Makes 6 to 8 servings)



1 lb. dried lima beans, soaked overnight, & drained

3 oz. bacon, cut into thick slices, then into 1/2-inch rectangles

1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 to 2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, & minced

3 bay leaves

6 cups water or chicken broth, plus more as needed

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 dashes Louisiana hot sauce



1.  Heat the bacon over medium-low heat until it is somewhat browned, but still moist.  Add the onion, garlic, jalapenos, and bay leaves.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and coated with bacon fat, about 5 minutes.


2.  Add the lima beans and water or broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, over a very low heat, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 45 minutes.  Add additional water if the beans get too dry (they should be covered by 1/2 inch liquid).  When the beans are tender and creamy, remove the bay leaves and season with the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and hot sauce.



Smothered Collard Greens - (Makes 6 to 8 servings)



3 bunches (2 lbs.) collards or other leafy greens

4 strips thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces

1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar'1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Several dashes of hot sauce, more if desired

1/4 cup cider vinegar, plus more if desired

1 cup chicken broth or water



1.  Begin by stripping the stems from the leaves of the collards and tearing the leaves into 3-inch squares; wash the torn greens in plenty of cold water.  Discard stems.


2.  Heat the bacon in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until not quite crisp or colored, about 5 minutes.


3.  Add the onion and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the garlic, salt, sugar, pepper, hot sauce, and cook an additional 2 minutes.  Add he vinegar, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced by half, 4 to 5 minutes.


4.  Add the washed greens and the broth or water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 30 to 35 minutes, until the greens are very tender.  If the pot appears to be drying out, add more water, as necessary, to prevent the greens from sticking.  Season to taste with additional vinegar and hot sauce.  Be sure to serve the greens with a generous ladle of the fragrant juices.



Black-Eyed Peas - (Makes 6 to 8 servings)



1 lb. dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 oz. fatty pork (should or boneless ribs), cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 medium onion, minced

6 garlic cloves, sliced

2 oz. ( 4 strips) smoked bacon, cut into1/2-inch cubes

7 cups water

5 bay leaves



1.  Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  When the oil is very hot, add the pork cubes and cook until browned on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes.


2.  Add the salt, garlic salt, garlic powder, pepper, cayenne, onion, garlic, and bacon then cook, stirring, an additional 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion begins to soften and the entire mixture is coated with spices.


3.  Add the water and bay leaves, bring to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat, and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours, or until the pork is tender and begins to fall apart.  Drain the soaked beans and add them to the pot.  Cook for 1 to 1/2 hours more, until the beans begin to soften.


4.  At this point the mixture should still be a little loose or watery.  With the back of a spoon, mash some of the beans against the side of the pot.  This will give the beans a creamier, thicker consistency.  You can also boil them for a few minutes at full heat to evaporate some of the liquid, watching carefully to make sure they don't scorch.

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