Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Cooking Club Rules

A few years ago I was in a cooking funk. I was getting tired of cooking, just not sure what to cook and well I wasn't the only one. My in-laws, who were childless, as all of the kids were grown and married, would often just go out to eat. My sister-in-laws were going through the same funks as me. So we began a cooking club.

Each month, the four of us would submit a recipe. We then would have a new thing to cook every week. The best part was the reviews we would send each other. We would e-mail and tell of our successes, our disasters, what changes we made. It was a lot of fun and it kept us all cooking. After two years of the cooking club I even made a cook book for everyone, complete with pictures and clips from our reviews.

Last year we took the year off the cooking club as my sister-in-law was pregnant and extremely sick. But well, it's back! It's back with new motivation and a point system. Each of us are awarded 1 pt for submitting their recipe by the 10th of the month, 1 point if you make 3/4 recipes within the month, 2 pts if you make all 4, and 1 point for submitting your review by the 10th of the following month. Whoever wins, well the rest will send $10 towards a gift certificate so the winner can go out to eat.

So I thought I would let you join in the fun. Every weekend I will post one of the four recipes. Feel free to make it. If you do, leave a comment or e-mail me your review or your experience and at the end of the month I would love to highlight anyone else's experiences (a little free publicity is always fun).

So with no further adieu-here is Melidee's (my mother-in-laws recipe for this month)


Serves 6-8
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 2 hours, 40 minutes--includes 2 hours baking time

4 ounces bacon, (4 slices) chopped coarse
2 onions, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
6 cups water
1 lb dried black-eyed peas, picked over and rinsed, (2 cups)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
8 ounces ham steak, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 TBSP minced fresh parsley

1. Place oven rack at lower-middle position and heat to 300 degrees. Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Stir in the onions and 1 tsp salt and continue to cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the water, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the black-eyed peas, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to the oven. Bake, stirring every 30 minutes, until the peas are tender, 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

3. Remove the lid and stir in the ham. Continue to bake, uncovered, until the liquid has thickened, about 30 minutes.

4. Discard the bay leaves. Let the peas sit for 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and season with salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste. Serve over 2 cups of cooked white rice.

5. Enjoy! And bring yourself the best of luck for 2010!


  1. I always see this recipe on the back of my black eye pea cans. Keep saying I am gonna try it but never have....

    Looks so yummy!

  2. Hmmmm.....Rich and Kristin will just have to pick out those black-eyed peas. I think it sounds good. Hmmmmm....definitely considering.

  3. Very, very cute blog background!

    And this is a really fun idea too - exchanging recipes and exchanging reviews too. I will keep watching and hear about the yummy things you make!

  4. I'm hoping to make it tomorrow. I've only made my one, so I got to get on it!

  5. I love black eyed peas and any time you add garlic, onions and bacon to something, it can only make it better. I love that you made a cookbook out of your families recipes. My husband's most cherished possession is a cookbook his grandmother made for all her grandkids.

  6. I love cooking. I totally want to make a recipe. I got a slow cooker and deep fryer for xmas. I can't wait to make carnitas in the slow cooker.

  7. What a fun idea, I love it! I can't wait to see and read about everything that is made. I would love to join, but the whole meat thing deters me a bit :) But I am excited to see what new recipes you will be making!

  8. I love this idea! And you guys have made it simple and low stress- very clever! Heard about you at 504 Main- following!

  9. Love the cooking club idea! Stopping by from 504 Main and then saw you were a SITS girl too! Have a great weekend!
    Heather @