Monday, January 01, 2007

Black Eyed Peas for New Year's Day

This is my attempt to get a post in before midnight on New Year's Day. Didn't do very well, did I? That's okay, I forgive me. I must remember, the Fly Lady says I'm never behind, I just have to jump in where I am! Why, yes! I am naturally annoyingly optimistic, why do you ask?

Current works in progress include:
the annual purge
puppy puppets for Liz & Finn
linkage and proper props for Leslie & Seth
2006 taxes (Be afraid, nauseous is also an acceptable autonomic response.)
updating websites (shudder!)
various and sundry pipe dreams
Food! Glorious Holiday Food! (Not really. My holiday baking consisted of opening three boxes and preparing the contents according to package directions so we were even less adventurous then usual this year but a few traditional favorites did make it onto the table and I'll be sharing one of those with you today.

But first...

I just stepped outside to take some chicken bones out to the trash (much to the chagrin of Lucy & Hairy) and on my way back I noticed the constellation Orion, directly over the house. Orion has always been one of my favorites, especially after I discovered a similar constellation of melanin clusters on my left shoulder. The resemblence is uncanny I tell ya! Directly above Orion the waxing gibbous moon emits enough light to nearly drown it out, but not quite. From where I stood it was a jewel in the crown on Orion's invisible head.

Earlier today I made the requisite black eyed peas for New Year's Day. This is a relatively new custom to my family but I understand it's quite wide spread among the African American community. My good friend who introduced me to the tradition put it to me this way, if you make black eyed peas on New Year's Day, you'll have good luck the whole year through. The first time I made them was New Year's Day 2001. Within a month I got the job that turned into this one. So this is the seventh New Year's Day that I've made this.

Like all my recipes, this is a work in progress, but this is how I made them today and they were very well received. Of course, PJ took one bite of his "no thank you helping" and pronounced them "half good, half bad," but this was a definite improvement over the last couple of years. It should be pointed out that he ate them just fine when he was a baby before he decided that gaurded suspicion was the safest course when encountering any alleged food item not immediately identifiable as having animal, vegetable or fruit origins.

Black Eyed Peas

1 lb dry Black Eyed Peas

2 t butter
one whole onion
1-2 T fresh chopped garlic

1 t savory
1/2 t cumin
1 t ground coriander seed
salt and ground pepper to taste

Rinse beans in cold water and sort. Place beans in 2 quart pan with enough water to cover them plus another inch or so. (You will be adding water again later.) Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Allow to boil for 2-5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and allow beans to soak for at least an hour.

When you return the beans will have soaked up much of the water. Add more water till the beans are covered by about an inch. Bring to a boil again, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Allow beans to simmer 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chop whole onion as fine as you prefer. Saute onion and garlic in butter. Add sauted mixture to beans along with the remaining ingredients and continue cooking till desired consistency is reached.

These beans are traditionally served fairly hot with cayenne pepper or chili powder but this is a fairly tepid recipe because I have to satisfy a wide range of palates from my Mom, who loathes peppers in any form, to my husband who will be having his with a bottle of Louisiana Hot Sauce close at hand and Ebo who prefers his with Sriracha! For myself, I like to add a little salt and maybe a few drops of hot sauce or a little salsa if they're thick enough.

Other variations on this recipe include adding a bay leaf, thyme and lemon in various forms. When Mom's not here I replace the black pepper with cayenne. I've also been known to start throwing in vegetables such as any kind of greens, corn, tomatos, carrots, etc. Were big on garlic around here so that always goes in along with the pepper and the savory. Here's your hot tip for the day, Savory is The Bean Herb. You'd be hard pressed to find a legume that doesn't respond well to savory and I always add it whenever I'm cooking beans.

I offer this recipe to you with love, from my family to yours, I hope you enjoy it!

Happy New Year!


Blogger Christina Shaver said...

Beth!! Happy New Year to you too! I didn't realize Liz was posting again!!! (Where the H have I been?) Anyway, thanks for linking. Hope the puppets are going well.

1/10/2007 9:28 PM  

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