I’m in South Carolina perfecting my Paula Deen accent along with my Southern cooking skills. I know, I know. You’re asking yourself how can an allergic foodie with celiac disease even get near Southern food? Let’s see, there’s wheat in them there fried green tomatoes, flour in both ‘em biscuits and gravy, dairy and corn in that heapin’ pile of grits, and the pecan pie has a smorgasbord of allergens that’ll send a Yankee gal like me skedaddle ling to the powder room.
Is it me, or does my Southern accent sound less like Paula Deen and more like Jed Clampett from The Beverly Hillbillies?
My accent may stink, but my Southern cooking has improved—thanks in part to good friends and fellow Coloradoans, Judy and Ky, who paid George and me a Hilton Head visit last week. Judy and Ky are the kind of friends an allergic foodie really appreciates; they totally get my dining-out limitations and are more than willing to put on an apron and pick up a wheat-free spatula.
And they’re not afraid to try new foods! Like Wahoo. No, I’m not talking about a chocolate beverage. Wahoo is a firm and mild saltwater fish from the South Carolina waters. You may have tasted it at Wahoo’s Fish Tacos. It looks like this:
And boy is it tasty! Especially after marinating in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil and oregano for about twenty minutes, then grilling over hot coals. Add some baby grilled romaine, chopped local tomatoes from Low Country Produce, and a bottle of St. Francis Merlot, and you’ll think your dining at one of them fancy restaurants down at Harbour Town.
Now, George and I have been coming to Hilton Head since he had hair and I had a waistline, but we’d never really appreciated the local fish until Judy and Ky’s visit. Years past, I’d saunter up to the seafood counter at Harris Teeter or Fresh Market and stand there perplexed, not knowing what was local and what was flown into the island from another island. Of course, coming from Colorado, one appreciates all good seafood, but it’s nice to support the local fishermen and to eat sea-to-table fish.
Hands down, George and Ky did the best “fishing.” While Judy and I trailed the local shops for designer shoes and Spartina handbags, the guys met one of the friendly locals–there are three of them on the island–who, when asked for the best seafood market, pointed in the direction of Coligny Plaza and the Piggly Wiggly’s Fish and Tails Seafood Market. Based on the Wahoo and the South Carolina Shrimp those two came back with, the local was tail on . . .er, I mean spot on.
Of course, no Southern meal is complete without black-eyed peas, which are actually not a pea but a legume. True confession: my mother always served them for New Year’s Eve because they are supposed to bring luck; I found them boring and flavorless and not at all lucky. But after Judy and I spotted them at the Sea Pines Farmers’ Market, I figured I’d give them another try. After all, I’m not allergic to them.
After soaking the peas in water the night before, I tossed them into a crockpot before we all left to bike on the beach. When we came home, the kitchen smelled heavenly. They tasted even better. Paula Deen would be proud.
Here’s my recipe for black-eyed peas fit for an allergic foodie. Please let me know what y’all think.
Crockpot Black-eyed Peas
1 16-ounce package dried black-eyed peas
1 medium Vidalia onion, or other sweet onion (real Vidalia onions come from Vidalia, Georgia)
1 organic red bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)
3 ounces of organic Andouille sausage (I used Applegate)
3 ounces diced ham (I used Hormel)
2 cups gluten-free chicken stock (I used Pacific Natural Foods)
Salt and pepper to taste
After soaking peas for 8 hours, drain and place in 5-quart crockpot along with above ingredients. Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 5-6 hours. Be sure to check peas for doneness; you don’t want them slightly firm, not mushy.
A Yankee-Coloradoan Dishes Out Some Lowcountry cuisine first appeared in Adventures of an Allergic Foodie.