This week's guest post comes from my dear friend Kat. We met 10 years ago at ASF--I was a grad student and production assistant and Kat worked in the wardrobe department. She was also in her last trimester of her first pregnancy at the time. I still can't believe her daughter is turning 10 in a couple of months. It seems like yesterday I was visiting them in the hospital to celebrate her birth! Kat and I became instant friends while working on a phenomenal show called A NIGHT IN TUNISIA. Kat's husband, Tom, was the lighting designer for the two shows I've been working on at ASF. She brought red velvet cake balls to our tech table, thus making her my favorite person ever during tech week.
I’ve spent my entire life stuck between two cultures. I was born in Framingham, MA but the first 5 years of my life were spent on the road as my dad was in the Coast Guard. We traveled from Massachusetts to Washington State to Baltimore to Birmingham and when I was 6 we moved to Mississippi. There is something about the south that has become part of my soul. I have spent more than ¾ of my life south of the Mason Dixon line. It makes for a very conflicted soul; while I feel most comfortable in the Northeast there is something about the south that always calls me home. It’s a heartbeat, an energy, a language that is not my native language but I understand its nuances, its rhythms. I love the south and while I may one day move away for good it will always be a part of my soul.
I’m always amused by non southerners who cook southern food; they understand the spice and perhaps the history but they don’t get the love and passion that southerners put into their food. Seriously y’all, people from the south really know how to cook and they do some wonderful food. Unfortunately, most of it can be full of fat, sodium and sugar; all things that as I am getting older I am really trying to avoid. So a few years ago I found this recipe for a great rice and bean salad. Now it was tasty but still a little hard core for my tastes; I couldn’t feel 100% virtuous about eating it so I have slowly but surely been adjusting it. Now the ingredients are not traditionally southern but the flavors are right on and you can feel good enough about it to eat it on a semi regular basis. A great vegetarian dish that both vegetarians and meat eaters can enjoy.
Kat's Hoppin' John Salad
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 can black eyed peas, rinsed
- ½ cup finely diced onion
- 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thaw and squeeze out all liquid
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- ½ tsp salt
Cook brown rice according to package directions. I have a rice cooker which gives the rice a nice chewy texture but cooking on the stove works well too. Add remaining ingredients to rice while it’s still warm and stir. This salad is just as good hot as it is cold. Serves 4.