Remodeling a house can sometimes feel like Christmas. You pick out that special gift you want, let’s say it’s a flooring tile, and mark your calendar for the day that it’s going to be installed. The days drag by slowly as you imagine a shiny new bathroom, and the dirty old broken tile will finally be forgotten as you gaze at the new. And then suddenly – the big day is here! You wake up giddy with excitement knowing that TODAY IS THE DAY that your new floor will be installed!
Unfortunately, some of these days do not go exactly as planned, like yesterday, when halfway through an installation I checked on the progress only to realize that they were installing the wrong damn flooring. I then had to sheepishly tell the workers that, “ummm, excuse me, but it seems as though you’re installing something ugly and could you please take it up and come back another day with the flooring I actually wanted? Please and thank you.” And then I realized that Christmas had not come early for me, and I have house guests coming this week that are going to have to use a bathroom with exposed broken tile, and then I wondered exactly how inappropriate it would be to have a vodka tonic at 11am.
But instead, I’m turned to the next most comforting thing besides vodka: pancakes. Well, a version of them. Hoe cakes are a simple Southern classic, where essentially you take your favorite cornbread batter and instead of baking it in skillet, you fry it up like a pancake. And let’s be clear – this is Southern style cornbread, not that weird sugary stuff the Northerners eat. To top it off I loved this black eyed pea salsa – it’s fresh, light and adds a bit of crunch to the soft hoe cakes.
Look, the lesson here is when life doesn’t go your way, don’t turn to vodka. Turn to pancakes. They don’t have rehab for pancakes. Fact.
Hoe Cakes with Black Eyed Pea Salsa
Black Eyed Pea Salsa
1/4 cup olive oil3 tablespoons white vinegar1 tablespoon sugar1/2 teaspoon celery seed1/2 teaspoon spicy brown or Dijon mustard2 small or 1 large stalk of celery, finely chopped1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped1 can black eyed peas, drained
Salt & pepper
Whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, celery seed and mustard in a medium bowl. Add the celery, bell pepper and black eyed peas and toss to coat. Season with salt & pepper and chill for at least one hour before serving.
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cup buttermilk (you can also use 1 cup regular milk)
1/4 cup cooking oil
Mix together the dry ingredients before adding the egg and buttermilk. Stir until combined, but don’t over mix. The mixture should be the consistency of pancake batter, if it seems to thick, add a little more milk.
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Using a 1/3 cup measure, pour the batter into the skillet in batches. Cook for 1-2 minutes, and once the bubbles on the top have begun to pop, and the sides are set, flip the hoe cakes over and cook 1 minute more. Transfer to a plate, and garnish with black eyed pea salsa for serving.