Discovery of the day: Bringin' the flava

Or trying to, anyway.

One thing I'm discovering I don't appreciate about many of the veggie-friendly recipes I find online is that they taste... flat. Take, for example, the Hoppin' John -- black-eye peas and rice -- that I made last night. I'm not familiar with the original recipe so I just made the recipe for the vegetarian version as written. Seemed simple enough: simmer black-eye peas and rice in water w/oregano, thyme, and bay, then add a bunch of sauteed onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic, and the like.

It was... underwhelming. Not sure if I under-salted (probably), or whether it was because I left out all of the spicy stuff (cayenne, jalapeƱos) in deference to my son's tastes, but it was pretty bland.

I looked up a classic version and found it calls for simmering beans and rice with a ham bone or ham hocks. That alone tells me I probably way under-salted! I don't mind using ham as a seasoning, so if I can find a (small) ham bone I might do that next time. Or maybe just fry up a couple slices of bacon and saute the vegs in that, then crumble the bacon in at the last minute. And add a little cayenne.

The larger issue is that I've run into this type of result before. What I don't know is A) whether I'm finding just-plain-blah recipes (most of the ones I've gotten are posted by just plain folks to vegetarian-type sites) or whether I am just so used to massive amounts of salt and concentrated meat flavors that I can't appreciate "the clean simplicity of the food itself." Read: Bor-ring!

As with most things, the truth probably lies in between. But you bet your bippy I'm getting me some smoked pork flava into that recipe next time, one way or another.

No comments: