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Category: black-eyed peas

Good Cooking Weather!

Good Cooking Weather!

Right now I’m in Heaven. It’s been cool and cloudy and foggy for two days and now we’re getting a snowstorm. The air yesterday had that quality that made everything smell good and really enhanced the smell of food. This weather makes me want to cook!

We have been using a lot of bread lately so I am going to start making it again. I don’t like to make it when we’re not eating much because it takes me a few batches to get it to come out really well. It always tastes good, but sometimes it’s too crumbly and not so good for sandwiches.

I also plan to make whole wheat tortillas, and start a pot of beans for burritos, bean dip, beans and rice, and whatever else sounds good with bean in the next few days.

I am making chicken soup from homemade stock and leftover chicken bits from a whole chicken I cooked a while back, and lots of parsley. We are going to have chard w/bacon and black-eyed peas with the soup tonight.

I am making veggie burger patties from black-eyed peas that I will freeze and then we can just pop them in the deep fryer, and I am going to start some sprouts. The sprouts will go well on the veggie burgers. We put humus on them too. Sometimes I make it, but our grocery store carries some that we like a lot.

That should take care of my cooking for a while and save me some time.

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New Year’s Black Eyed Peas and Greens

New Year’s Black Eyed Peas and Greens

Black eyed peas are traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day to ensure good luck throughout the year. This was a tradition in my family, but I didn’t like black eyed peas so I would eat just one. Greens and pork are also traditional New Year’s food eaten for good luck. They were not a part of my family’s tradition, but it’s never too late to start. Bacon, ham, and sausage are the only types of pork that I cook.

I thought about cooking some other type of pork for New Year’s, but bacon was such a natural choice with greens, and kept the meal pretty light, which is exactly what I was going for. The plan was to eat this shortly after midnight, so for dinner we had fried chicken tenders with no sides. I was going for easy finger foods that wouldn’t be too filling, but would keep us from going hungry all night waiting for our special meal.

1 pound bacon
1 bunch red chard (or any greens)
3 or 4 large cloves garlic
Black eyed peas

I cooked the black eyed peas from scratch. To do this soak for at least eight hours, drain, rinse, and simmer for a couple of hours until soft. For this dish I did not season my black eyed peas. You could use canned.

Cook the bacon and save the grease. I use a broiler pan and cook mine in the oven at about 400 degrees. You can cook the bacon in the skillet you plan to use for the greens.

Pour the bacon grease in an iron skillet and heat on med-high. Slice garlic and add to grease. Rinse and cut up greens. I just lay them down and chop all the way across in one to two inch sections. Some stem is OK. Put the greens in the skillet. Cut up the bacon into bite sized pieces. I hold the whole bunch of bacon in my hand and cut it up with kitchen scissors. Add bacon to the greens and toss to coat the greens in the grease and garlic. Cover and reduce heat or turn off and let the greens wilt to your desired consistence. I like mine a little on the crisp side. Remove to a large bowl and toss with drained black eyed peas.

Tips and substitutions:

This dish can be served immediately or reheated in the skillet. If you want to reheat it, I recommend putting the black eyed peas in at the last minute so they don’t overwhelm the other flavors. They can be added just before reheating or added cold after the rest is heated. I did not want to cook this late at night during our celebration, so I cooked it ahead of time.

I used all the grease from the bacon. You don’t have to do that if it freaks you out. You can use less grease or you can substitute with butter or olive oil. If you substitute the grease it will drastically change the flavor, though. You might try using a little bacon grease and mostly some other kind of oil to help maintain the flavor.

I used “hardwood smoked” bacon this time and it was very delicious. The flavor was in the grease and influenced the flavor of the entire dish. I did not realize I had picked up flavored bacon until I smelled it cooking and looked at the box again. It was the brand I normally buy, and I hadn’t noticed (I was in a hurry at the store). The ingredients for the flavoring are pretty questionable, but it is so yummy that I am going to have to search for some with natural flavorings.

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Black-eye Pea Patties

Black-eye Pea Patties

These are so versatile. They are similar to an African dish called akara, also known as accra, akara, akla, binch akara, bean balls, kosai, koose, kose, koosé, or kwasi.

I usually serve these in one of two ways – as veggie burgers with hummus and sprouts or with fried eggs and topped with maple syrup. The Worcestershire sauce is optional, but definitely a plus if you are making veggie burgers.

Black-eyed peas (dry)
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Worcestershire sauce
Flour (spelt if you have it)
Baking powder
Salt
Coconut oil or bacon grease

Soak the dried peas for 8 hours, overnight, or longer. If you soak them for a long time, drain and rinse them occasionally. If you sprout them, it’s even better for you! Most recipes for akara say you should rub the peas together between your hands and remove the husks. I have worked hard at this and never got them all off. The last time I made this I decided not to bother. I couldn’t tell the difference. It’s up to you.

Put the soaked, uncooked peas in the food processor with just a little water and process into a pancake batter consistency. Add the rest of your ingredients and process until thoroughly blended. Heat a good amount of oil or grease in a skillet on medium high. Use about ½ cup of batter for each patty. I use a soup ladle to pour the batter in the pan. Brown and flip. You will probably need to add more oil after flipping. They really soak it up. Brown the other side, and they’re done!

Be careful when you flip the patties. The last time I made these, when I flipped one of the hot batter and grease squirted out of the pan on me! You will be using enough oil or grease for some popping and splattering, so you might want to wear protective gear. A full radiation suit would be overkill.

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