The weather is finally getting warm, the sun is out, and everything is starting to bloom just in time for the latest Yankee Challenge. Because of the warm, wet, Springs in the south we get some tasty vegetables early. It’s always exciting to see what fresh produce is available at the first farmer’s market. In honor of the spring market, this month’s challenge is to cook a classic southern “Vegetable Plate” with a side of cast iron corn bread.
For this challenge you’re going to be cooking 5 classic southern vegetables: fried okra, collard greens, fried green tomatoes, black eyed peas and mac & cheese. Mac & Cheese is a vegetable, and in the South it is always served as such, so this is as authentic as it gets. You’re going to get out your cast iron skillet and cook up a fresh pan of cornbread, as a side.
Here are the rules: 1) All frying has to be done in a cast iron skillet; 2) cornbread has to be made from scratch and cast iron cooked as well (try using buttermilk); 3) you can cook whichever “greens” you can find mustard,collard, or turnip and must cook them with either a ham hock or salt pork; 4) you have to cook the black eyed peas from dry beans, nothing from a can; 5) finally the mac & cheese must be made from scratch, nothing out of a box, and no artificial cheese (no velveeta). Tips: If you can find whole fresh okra you’ll be happy you did, and green tomatoes should be easier to find in the early market. Don’t over cook the greens, and be sure to season well. Try adding bacon and plenty of salt to your black eyed peas while they cook down. You’ll want to cook your corn bread first since you’re going to need that skillet.
There is a Calphalon prize for the best home attempt of the Yankee Challenge, be sure to take pictures and tell us about your experience on our Facebook fan page . Make sure you head over and check out “The Yankee” , and tell Caitlin how she is doing. Leave a comment here with your secrets to vegetable success or let us know your favorite recipes. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @HungrySouthernr .
Stay Hungry Y’all !