I spent a wonderful and productive New Year's Eve painting my condo and eating cookies. See the bottom of the post for paint smuge, and to the left for plate o' cookies. Wonderful! I hope everyone had a fun, memorable and safe New Year. And for those of you who may have celebrated a little outside your normal parameters, I hope your hangovers were light.
This was a difficult year for many people. All the more reason to be hopeful for 2010, and to take every measure to ensure luck, prosperity and good health for the coming days.
Growing up in the South, every New Year's day was sure to bring a meal that included greens (for money) and black-eyed peas (for luck). As I grew older and started learning about other regions and cultures I realized many folks have certain foods that are traditionally eaten on the first day of the year to ensure good fortune.
Holland - They eat doughnuts, which symbolize coming full-circle
Spain - Grapes are eaten for each strike of the midnight clock, so 12 grapes
Germany - They dine on split pea soup with bits of pork
Norway and Sweden - a rice pudding is made with a hidden almond. The recipient of the almond is ensured good luck
For me it was roasted red chard with beets for New Year's eve (Ok, I know that's kind of lame...I went all "crazy" with the red food!), and for New Years day my kale soup and a black-eyed pea salad.
Black-eyed peas used to be a rare culinary treat north of the Mason-Dixon line, but more and more I find black-eyed peas listed on the menus of restaurants that feature American cuisine.
If you decided to give one of these yummy black-eyed peas a try, I suggest buying the dried variety and soaking them overnight. This method makes for much quicker cooking time, and I think the dried taste so much better than the canned.
My Black-Eyed Pea Salad
2 cups dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight, picked over and drained
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup salsa (just use your favorite brand)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, chopped
1/4 cup scallions, chopped (use green and white bits, if you like)
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. Earth Balance, divided into 6-8 dollops
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, or a little more, if you like...I do
1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
So, you've soaked the black-eyed peas. Heat a medium pan over medium heat and add the tablespoon of olive oil, then the chopped onion. After the onion becomes a bit opaque, pour in the beans and add water that goes about 1" over the peas. Bring to a simmer, and skim off any foam that forms. Then turn fire down to low, cover your peas, and let cook until tender. This takes about 45-60 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 400 F. While the peas are cooking you can mix salsa, bell pepper, jalapenos and scallions in a glass or non-metallic serving container. On a baking sheet, spread frozen corn evenly, sprinkle with chili powder, then dab with Earth Balance. Place corn in the oven and roast for about 40 minutes, stirring half-way through. I like the corn a little "toasty," so I turn the broiler on at the end, just for crunch.
Drain your peas and add to the other chopped veggies. After the roasted corn has cooled, add that in too. Lastly, add the vinegar, oil and salt and pepper to taste. Lastly, garnish with chopped cilantro, if you like.
Black-Eyed Pea and Potato Tacos
12 crisp or soft taco shells
4 yukon potatoes, med. sized yellow, cubed (sweet potatoes are good too!)
2 1/2 cups black eye peas, soaked, sorted, cooked and drained
½ onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper chopped
1 clove garlic minced.
1 Tbsp. chili powder, salt and Cheyenne to taste
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Garnish: chopped tomatoes, avocado
shredded lettuce, black olives
sliced radishes, cilantro
your favorite salsa or taco sauce
Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss potatoes with a little olive oil, then scatter on a baking sheet and put in oven. In a skillet heat olive oil, add garlic, and soften, but don’t let it brown. To this, add onion and cook until golden. Add black eyed peas, then add spices. When brown, add enough water to keep them from burning. Cover, turn heat to low. When potatoes are soft, add them to peas, stir, cover, keep heat low for 10 minutes.
Toast the shells, or, if you’re using soft you can zap them in the microwave, but I like to toast them over a flame. Fill each shell with potato-pea mix, then garnish. This may sound odd, but I actually like to drizzle a little Catalina dressing over my taco. Mouth is watering!
Blogging is just one of the new adventures I embarked on in 2009. Through writing and reading blogs I've found a place to share my passions and truth. It's all VERY exciting and I look forward to continuing and developing my posts for 2010.
My wish for all my like-minded friends, followers and potential followers, is for us all to maintain the enthusiasm, hope and optimism found in the early days of the new year. "Momentum," is my word for 2010; movement, energy, motivation...all things we need to get us to a higher level, which provides a better view.
If everyone who is excited about food and drink would make tiny shifts, making vegetables a more prominent part of their life...well, big things would happen. BIG big things. I'm so crazy about the innovative restaurants, chefs and creators of new vegan products. I'm committed to share more of my favorite products that help make life easier. I'm a huge fan of the fine products that are being made available to those of us committed to a vegetable based diet.
Again, the best to you and all you love! xo, SA