Jan 1, 2011

Howdy 2011!

(Image from Brooke Griffin's Healthy Taco Soup)
Boy are we glad to see 2011!! Not that 2010 was bad, but I'm very over it. I'm ready to move on to resolutions I can break, changes I can make and opportunities yet to unfold. :)

One thing I will make sure to keep the same, the Southern tradition of eating Black eyed peas on January 1st. My Granny always made a big pot of black eyed peas that we always enjoyed shortly after the ball dropped in NYC every year. She would always remember to drop a quarter in the bottom of every one of our bowls to encourage a prosperous new year. While I was preparing my families serving of 2011 luck, it got me thinking. Where did this tradition come from? Was it something my Granny's family passed down for years, or is there more to it?

Lets start with what is a black-eyed pea? Wikipedia states "The black-eyed pea, also called black-eyed bean, ChawaLie, Lobia, Mulatto-Gelato in various languages in India, is a subspecies of the cowpea, grown around the world for its medium-sized edible bean. The bean mutates easily, giving rise to a number of varieties. The common commercial one is called the California Blackeye; it is pale-colored with a prominent black spot."

Why are they lucky? The tradition came to America when the first Sphardi Jews settled in Georgia in the 1730s. The beans are tolerant to drought and do well in hotter temperatures. This made them a prominent protein during the American Civil War. The story is told that the Union soldiers believed field peas/beans to be animal feed thereby leaving the pea/bean crops when stripping the other fruitful crops from the South. The meal is typically cooked in bacon or with ham bones, diced onions and served with hot chili sauce, collard greens or cabbage and cornbread. The peas symbolize prosperity because they swell when cooked. The greens symbolize money and the pork stands for positive motion because pigs will root in a forward motion when foraging.

A little history for us all...now what to make this year? I went between 3 recipes before finally settling on a modified classic in our household.

Recipe #1: Texas Caviar
2 cans of black-eyed peas (use ones with jalapeƱos)
1 can white hominy
1 can rotel
1/2 bottle of zesty Italian dressing (small bottle)
1 avocado chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
Directions: Mix it all up and let sit in fridge a bit before serving. Best served with big scoop Fritos

Recipe #2: Black Eyed Pea Hummus with Olive Oil (recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen)
(Makes about 3 cups hummus, adapted from Black-Eyed Pea Hummus at Lentil Breakdown.)
2 cans (15 oz. can) black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
(or use 3 cups cooked black-eyed peas)
2 tsp. garlic puree or minced garlic
6 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice (or slightly less if you're not that into lemon)
1/2 - 1 tsp. salt
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3-6 T tahini (sesame seed paste), to taste
water to thin hummus as needed (I used 2 T water)
2-3 T olive oil, for drizzling on hummus
powdered Sumac, for sprinkling on hummus (or use a smaller amount of paprika or just skip this
whole wheat pita bread for serving

Directions: Dump the canned black-eyed peas into a colander placed in the sink, then rinse with cold water until no more foam appears. Let black-eyed peas drain for a minute or two, then put them into the food processor with the garlic, lemon juice, salt and olive oil and process until black-eyed peas are pureed, about 1 minute. Add the ground cumin and 3 T of tahini and process until it's combined. Taste to see if you want more tahini, and keep adding in small amounts until it seems right to you. (I used the full 6 T of tahini, but I really like the taste of tahini.) If the hummus seems too thick, add a few tablespoons of water and process. (I added 2 tablespoons of water.) Put hummus into serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with Sumac (or a smaller amount of paprika.) Serve with whole wheat pita bread. Hummus will keep in the fridge for at least a week.

But the winner was recipe #3...Taco Soup with Black Eyed Peas
2 Cans of Black Beans
2 Cans of Pinto Beans
2 Cans of Black Eyed Peas
2 Cans of Stewed Tomatoes
1 Can of Rotel Tomatoes
1 Can of Mexicorn
1 pkg of Taco seasoning
1 pkg of Ranch Dressing
1 lb of Hamberger browned and drained

Directions: Mix all together in crock pot for 3 hours on high. Serve with Sour Cream, shredded cheese and tortilla chips.

What did you eat? What traditions do you keep? What resolutions are you making?

1 comment :

BakingWithoutaBox said...

I was familiar with the tradition, but did not know the way that the beans ended up on American shores. Learn something new every day. Love the quarter superstition. Hoping you have a prosperous 2011!

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