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Candy and Blackeye Peas

Contributed by: Cajun Clark

Yep, betcha that title got your attention. You're probably asking yourself how can da ol' mon put candy and blackeye (pronounced blackeyed) peas in the same Fortnight? The answer's easy enough, just keep reading.

First for the Candy. After all, it's still the Holiday Season in many parts of the world. If it's not that's not a problem, because most folks like sweets. Enough said, here ya go:

Divinity Fudge

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

PLACE sugar, syrup and water in a pan over slow fire, stir only until sugar is dissolved, then cook until a little tried in cold water forms a soft ball.

BEAT egg whites until stiff, CONTINUE beating and POUR 1/2 the syrup slowly over the beaten egg whites, CONTINUE beating while cooking the rest of the syrup, until it forms a hard ball when tried in a cup of cold water and cracks when hit against the side of the cup. ADD this syrup gradually to the syrup an egg mixture, add vanilla and continue beating until candy is thick enough to drop from a spoon. Nut meats may be added just before candy is ready to spoon.

Note: Divinity, Fudge and English Toffee are the three candies that disappeared, nearly within a matter of minutes, any time Caj's Mother made them; which was usually for the holidays. Years later, when Caj's youngest brother, later his twin nephews, wanted divinity, they learned how easy it was to make, and did so. Oops, gotta go, it's not a good idea to drool on ones' computer keyboard.

Sees Fudge (G.V.)

  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 8 ounces marshmallow crème
  • 24 ounces chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups chopped nuts

BOIL 4 1/2 cups sugar and large can of evaporated milk; COUNT 6 minutes from rolling boil. POUR over dry ingredients; MIX well. POUR in buttered pan and REFRIGERATE.

Pralines (KWKH)

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 pound pecans

BOIL to soft ball stage STIRRING constantly. BEAT 'til thickened. DROP from spoon onto buttered platter.

Pecan Pralines

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/3 cups pecans, chopped

COOK in 3 quart double boiler as it forms up in cooking. COMBINE sugar, soda, buttermilk and salt. COOK briskly, stirring frequently, scraping bottom and sides, for 5 minutes. ADD 2 tablespoons butter and 2 1/3 cups chopped pecans. STIRRING continuously, not forgetting bottom, for 5 minutes or 'till forms soft ball in cold water.

REMOVE from heat. LET cool a little, then BEAT 'till thickened and creamy. THEN immediately drop by teaspoonful on wax paper. FOR finishing touch, dot with 2/3 cup pecan halves.

Okay, now that you're drooling on your keyboard, it's time for the rest of the story. In The South, the Southern United States, there's a tradition that's been around a long, long time. New Year's Day, if you want to have a prosperous year, calls for a meal of blackeye peas, greens (or cabbage) and cornbread. Yep, you got it, it's mandatory. Been a requirement for as long as a couple of Southern Ladies in their 70s remember. Now, for your information, the blackeye peas are for "coins" and the greens are for "bills." The cornbread is just to sop up all those mouth-watering juices. With this being "true" a short dissertation on those three dishes is in order, and this is where the problems begin. Because you're faced with decisions, decisions, decisions.

For example, you can find canned, frozen and dried blackeye peas. The first two make things easy, but the true Southern cook will only use the dry ones that you find in the clear package with cooking directions on the back.

Assuming you're using this variety, that you've soaked them overnight, drained off the water, added new water, you now need to decide what else to add when you cook them. Which is the problem. Some folks use hog jowls, others salt pork, while still others bacon or tasso. The decision is yours but the one point all agree on is you have to have plenty of meat in your beans. Finally, some folks add onions, chopped or dehydrated. Then there's green chilies, bell peppers, and it goes on and on. Spices are no exception: salt, pepper, garlic...

Blackeye peas out of the way you've reached your next decision. What kind of Greens! Turnip? Mustard? Collard? Cabbage? If you already stressed out you can use canned or frozen greens. Cabbage and greens all come fresh, even at the general store, but when you decide to go this way just remember you'll have to wash, wash again, then chop. Just remember this one fact of cookin' greens, they really cook down; so keep filling your pot or get out the giant one you always leave in the cupboard. Once again though you're faced with what seasonings to use and what meat to put in the pot for flavor. Good luck folks, there is no right answer.

Finally, you need to make a pan of cornbread.

Cajun Clark's Selected Freebies
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Cajun Clark's monster 659-page eCookbook is no longer available. His second cookbook in the series, with nearly 500 recipes is Sweet & Sassy! http://www.cajunclarkssweetandsassy.com You can grab a copy of Cajun Clark's Selected Freebies at http://www.1001Recipes2Send.com/Free/
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