Down-home Southern Food

by on January 16, 2006
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Every now and then I get back to my Southern roots and prepare a meal of simple vegetables. This is the kind of meal I grew up eating regularly. Back then, my siblings and I were always dismayed when my mother prepared a “meal of vegetables,” but I now appreciate all the fresh produce my mother prepared and served.
Well, my produce last night wasn’t so fresh, and I’m afraid there aren’t any real recipes for this. I used frozen turnip greens (with turnips) and frozen lima beans because they’re fast and they’re probably more nutrient-rich than what’s available fresh right now. Vegetables are flash-frozen right after harvest, preserving their nutrients; fresh produce that has to travel long distances often loses a lot of its nutritional value.

My basic technique for both the limas and the greens is this: sauté some combination of onion, peppers (red or green), and celery in some water until tender. Add the limas or greens and enough water to barely cover. Add seasonings and cook until tender, about half an hour. I added marjoram and basil to the limas and red pepper flakes to the greens, but you can add your favorite seasonings. If you like a “hammy” flavor, you can add liquid smoke or hickory salt near the end of the cooking time. Just before serving the turnip greens, I add a splash of vinegar; last night it was red wine vinegar with garlic, but I change it up every time.

The corn couldn’t be simpler. I opened a can of salt-free corn and added chopped green pepper, pepper, and red pepper flakes. (I don’t usually like canned corn, but this salt-free corn was sweet and very crunchy. It’s the closest to fresh-tasting that I’ve ever had. If you think that canned corn tastes too mushy, give salt-free a try.) I just heated until it was hot throughout and served.

I served the vegetable plate with hot sauce on the side. My husband and I polished off everything!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bett May 2, 2012 at 5:35 pm

I am truly NOT meaning to be snarky . . . but I have to ask . . . why would you eat canned vegetables? This is something I never understand. With many tomato products there is little choice, but with other veggies I really don’t get it. You’re either getting BPA/other toxic plastic exudates in the liner, or metals from the can. Frozen corn is so much nicer, if you can’t get fresh. And while it’s in plastic, it isn’t sitting in a liquid that’s soaking up the exudates. (This even covers tetra-paks, it’s all still lined in plastic.)

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2 Susan Voisin May 2, 2012 at 5:51 pm

This post was written in 2006, long before anyone knew anything about BPA in cans. If you follow me on Facebook, where I just mentioned this post, you may have seen that I said that I would skip the corn now.

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3 Jackie May 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Looks great! I grew up with a huge garden and most of my summer was spent eating only vegetables. My favorite times were the first batches of green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes. I’d go and pick tomatoes and eat them like they were apples. I would eat so many I’d end up with blisters in my mouth.

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4 Sharon May 2, 2012 at 8:45 pm

O.K. I never liked lima beans, but am willing to give these a try. For the corn, I’d just use frozen corn. Looks like my kind of dinner — quick, easy, attractive and sounds yummy. Thanks for sharing.

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5 Nia May 3, 2012 at 4:26 am

May I ask what’s going on with organic or local corn? (Dare I?)

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6 Susan Voisin May 3, 2012 at 7:34 am

I think that frozen or fresh organic corn is great because it’s not genetically modified; canned organic corn may still be packed in cans lined with BPA. Of course, local organic is even better!

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