Thursday, August 9, 2012

Secrets: Hoppin' John and Skillet Cornbread

The morning after the awkward dinner finds a tense Maggie trying to convince Glenn not to reveal the existence of the captive Walkers to the Group. She makes her case and sweetens her request with a gift of peaches and jerky. In addition to keeping the secret of the Walkers in the barn, Glenn is also burdened with the knowledge of Lori's pregnancy. 

Andrea brings Daryl a book to keep him occupied during his recovery. She offers her apology and though she does not expect forgiveness, Daryl freely gives it. He too believes that protecting the Group always comes first.

Rick decides that the entire Group must be trained in the use of handguns. Shane takes charge of planning the training class and Carl approaches him with his request to join. Shane learns that the boy has stolen a handgun from the weapons cache in the RV. He immediately tells Lori and Rick. Though upset, the couple decide that Carl should have the training necessary to handle a weapon safely.

Shane conducts the gun class and Andrea becomes his star pupil. While the class is in progress, Glenn makes another pharmacy run on Lori's behalf. She asked him to find her medications that would end her pregnancy. 

Lori also discovers that Hershel expects them to leave after Sophia is found. Upon learning of her pregnancy, Rick tries to convince Lori that he can keep her, as well as the Group, safe.

With an unplanned pregnancy, a missing child, and a burgeoning mutiny, the Group needs all the luck it can get.

Hoppin' John and Skillet Cornbread is a Southern dish traditionally made and served on New Year's Day and is thought to bring good luck. Hopefully your Group is faring better than the Atlanta survivors and does not need to even believe in luck. Regardless, it is still a delicious and healthy addition to your Group's menu. It is an especially frugal recipe since Dale had fried SPAM for the Group's lunch. Hoppin' John makes good use of the leftover SPAM so there would be no waste. The leftover Hoppin' John is called Skippin' Jenny.

And when the dead rise; don't trust Patricia with your chickens.

Hoppin' John

1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped (or 2 tsp garlic powder)
2 cans Black Eyed Peas (drained)
1 can SPAM, cubed (or 1 Tbsp Bacon Salt for vegetarian Survivors)
2-4 cups of water
2-4 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes
2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp dried Thyme

Cayenne Pepper (dash)
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat or medium coals. Add onion, celery, pepper and garlic. Cook stirring often for 7-8 minutes until onion is translucent. Add black eyed peas and 2 cups of water and bouillon cubes.

Stir in bay leaves, thyme and cayenne pepper to taste. Bring to a low boil and cover.Cook for 20 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Add cubed SPAM or Bacon Salt. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Taste and add Kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Add cayenne pepper to taste, if desired.

Serve with Skillet Cornbread.

Skillet Cornbread

3/4 cup cornmeal
3 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder

2 Tbsp. butter-flavored shortening, melted

1 egg, beaten
1 cup soy or almond milk
1 Tbsp. vinegar

Preheat oven to 500°. Or have medium to hot coals ready on your campfire. Grease a cast iron skillet with 2 Tbsp. melted shortening.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and soy or almond milk. Let sit a few minutes to allow the vinegar to thicken the milk. Blend in egg.

In another bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in wet ingredients and mix only until moistened.

Pour batter into greased skillet. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes or until top of cornbread springs back when lightly touched and the color is golden brown. Alternately, place skillet over campfire and cover tightly with foil or a tight-fitting lid. Allow to bake over coals. Cornbread will not rise as much and will likely be finished in 8 minutes or so, since the heat is direct. Check often.

Invert onto a plate and slice into wedges. Serve hot with Hoppin' John.

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