Thursday, December 31, 2009

Peace in the new year


A message for the New Year.  This inscription is part of a monument marking the former site of the Vatican Pavilion from the 1964 Worlds Fair in Flushing Meadow Park

This has been an especially hectic and personal holiday season for both Amanda and me. We are really looking forward to getting back to our tri-weekly posts after the New Year (and decade!) begins. Please accept the following which is a post I wrote last year for another blog. The black eye pea salsa recipe is one of my favorites and is very holiday appropriate.
Sometimes my daughter's compulsion to play with her food results in a couscous message I can get behind.

Best wishes to everyone for the new year!

From the blog: 

Originally Published: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2008


I am thinking about black-eyed peas, a traditional Southern dish served on New years day to represent good luck. On the cusp of a new era we can use all the luck available, so I hail the tiny pea as a perfect party food for the season.

Cheap and easy to cook, they come dried, frozen or canned. I have tried all three varieties with happy results. My black eyed pea salsa served as a dip with pita chips was a big hit at an election night party I attended with friends. Lots of red onions, minced jalapeno and garlic and a good glug of sharp red wine vinegar bring this dish together. Let it sit for a while so the flavors develop. I threw in a large handful of garden mint, the last of the summer crop harvested before the frost sets in. Cilantro, parsley and chervil are all good substitutes.

With any left over peas I made a simple soup, tossing them into chicken stock and adding chopped kale and cooked macaroni, seasoned to taste. Adding a large spoonful of parmesan cheese doesn’t hurt. This makes a perfect hardy lunch as the weather cools.

Black-eyed peas are particularly cute with their cream colored skin and little button of black. They have a deep rich nutty flavor that can stand up to aggressive seasoning. They are inexpensive and plentiful, so enjoy this humble bearer of good fortune.

Black-eyed pea salsa

1.5 cups dried Black-eyed peas, picked over (or 2 cups canned peas rinsed and drained or 2 cups defrosted frozen peas)
2 quarts water
1 T red wine vinegar
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1 garlic clove finely minced
zest of a lime (optional)
.5 cup red onion, small dice
1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced
.5 cup fresh chopped herbs (parsley, mint, cilantro, chervil, chives or any combination of these)

Rinse dried peas and add to sauce pan with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer tightly covered for about 40 minutes or until peas are very tender.
Drain and set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine the vinegar, salt, sugar and garlic wisking to blend. Add in the cooked peas, the onion, jalapeno and herbs. Toss to combine and taste for seasoning. Add the lime zest if you prefer a more zingy bright flavor. Let salsa sit for an hour to allow the flavor to develop. Salas will keep in the fridge for up to four days. Serve with pita chips.

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