Last Sunday, July 20, Sher of What Did You Eat? passed away from a sudden heart attack. When I heard the news, I initially thought that I probably didn't know her. There are so very many food blogs after all. But her name was unusual and I wracked my brain trying to remember.
Then it came to me.
Last month when I hosted Weekend Herb Blogging #135, Sher had sent me a lovely compliment along with the link to her entry. Just a line or two about how she liked my blog. And yet, the gesture caused me to remember her name, if not necessarily the compliment or her blog's name, just because she seemed like a nice person. I regret that I hadn't discovered her blog sooner.
Her close blogging buddy and friend, Glenna of A Fridge Full of Food wrote a lovely tribute to Sher and is compiling links of recipe tributes from other food bloggers. Follow those links if you'd like to read more about Sher.
Lia of Swirling Notions is organizing a fundraiser for WomenHeart, a non-profit that seeks to educate and advocate for women with heart disease. The tribute to Sher fundraiser continues through the end of August. Clos du Bois has promised to match funds up to $10,000.
Though I only "met" her once, I wanted to honor Sher in some way. At first, I figured I would make her recipe for Southwestern corn chowder simply because that was the recipe Sher submitted to Weekend Herb Blogging when I was host. She even called me marvelous! I had completely forgotten about that until I looked up her recipe again to link to this post. I silently chuckled thinking I just said she was nice, and she really was!
But rather than defaulting to the corn chowder recipe, instead I was drawn to her recipe for Southern baked beans. Specifically because it included Sriracha chili sauce. I'd been meaning to make baked beans for a while, and Sher's inclusion of a Vietnamese ingredient clinched it for me. I made a few adjustments, adding in maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and soy sauce, and substituting black-eyed peas since that's what I had on hand. I'm sure she wouldn't mind, after all, they're still Southern. :) I loved the fusion of Vietnamese chili sauce to an American dish. Any time I make this again, I'll be sure to include it and think of Sher. I hope you do too.
Southern Baked Beans
Adapted from Sher of What Did You Eat?
2 cups black-eyed peas, dried, then boiled for 1 hour until softened
2 hot dogs, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 tblsp dijon mustard
1 tblsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tblsp brown sugar
1 tblsp maple syrup
1 tblsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp Sriracha chili sauce, or more according to your spicy tolerance
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bay leaf, or 1 whole bay leaf
Measure 2 cups dried black-eyed peas. You can soak the beans overnight so they soften faster. I almost never think ahead so it just takes longer to boil them. Fill a pot with water until the beans are covered by at least several inches. Set the pot to boil and turn the heat down to medium-low to simmer for at least an hour until the beans are softened.
Meanwhile, dice 1 large onion. Cut 2 hot dogs into 1/2-inch slices. Mince 3 cloves of garlic. Saute the onion, hot dogs, and garlic on high until softened and slightly golden. Turn off heat and set aside until the beans are ready.
When the beans are soft but not mushy, add the hot dogs, onion, and garlic. Add 1 15-oz can of diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 barbecue sauce, 2 tblsp dijon mustard, 1 tblsp Worchestershire sauce, 1 tblsp brown sugar, 1 tblsp maple syrup, 1 tblsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp Sriracha chili sauce, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp bay leaf, or 1 whole bay leaf.
Mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust if necessary. Just keep in mind that the flavors will become even more concentrated after cooking. Cover the pot and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Or let the beans simmer on medium-low on the stove top for an hour. Check every 15 minutes and give the pot a stir.
Eat plain or as a side dish.
1 year ago today, deep-fried squash blossoms.