Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!! a.k.a Eat Your Black-Eyed Peas

Hey Everyone & Welcome to 2014! 
I wish each and every one of you a fabulous new year, and may you make the very best of 2014!

With the start of the new year comes the Black-Eyed Peas, Greens, and some form of pork for your enjoyment and eating pleasure.

Maybe it's because I'm Southern,
 or maybe it's because I'm Superstitious, 
Maybe it's a combination of both
but every New Year's Day (NYD) I make it a point to devour a good ole heaping helping of Black-Eyed Peas (BEPs).

Why?? you ask
Great question!

I've never quite understood the meaning behind the BEP on NYD...
Nor have I particularly enjoyed the BEPs... 
they're nasty, smelly, little things, aren't they?
(I knew you'd agree)

 This New Year's I decided to do a little history research behind the whole meaning and tradition of BEPs for NYD. After all, I am a grad student, and that's what we do - Research.

According to some, Black Eyed Peas represent prosperity & luck in the coming new year. 
Some might even argue that you should eat 365 peas to ensure a full years worth of  good luck and prosperity, while others might suggest saving one pea to share with a friend of loved one. Some even say that if you eat less than 365 peas you will have that many days of bad luck in the year, and if you eat more than 365 you'll have bad luck the entire year. I know, I know, it's really complicated. Just eat them (however many) and you'll be good. 

Eating BEPs on NYD hasn't steered me wrong up to this point, so I'll continue to do it. Along with a couple of other things to ensure I get the very best out of my year.

So back to the BEP... they're gross, they make your house smell, they're flavorless, and all around boring. Definitely not my go to bean, or pea, or legume. Whatever.

This year, I decided to jazz things up a bit!!

I decided to make the eating of BEP a little more FUN and a lot more tolerable, I mean, enjoyable.

I introduce to you - Texas Caviar

Never hear of it? Me either, until my extensive research efforts...

Texas Caviar is a fun little side dish that can be served as a dip with chips, crackers, or bread...  It can be served as a cold Black-Eyed Pea Salad, if you will.  
Or, if you're like me, it can be served with some cornbread so that you can tolerate eating 365 BEPs.

So I turned to the wonderful, and always trustworthy Pioneer Woman, and found a lovely little recipe and added my own twist. 
It makes everything better, doesn't it?

Plus, let's face it, we all want to ensure the very best for ourselves in the upcoming year, right?!
So then we MUST EAT the Black-Eyed Peas. 

Here's what you'll need

Ingredients: Black-Eyed Peas (canned peas work perfectly fine too - and you won't have to cook them), Green Onion, Cilantro, Celery, Red Onion, Red Bell Pepper, Jalapeno (pretend the green pepper is a Jalapeno), Olive Oil, White Wine Vinegar, Ground Mustard, Celery Seed, Sugar, Salt, & Pepper. Not Pictured - Shredded Cheese

So I found some pre-washed, pre-soaked Black Eyed Peas that I doctored up in the crock-pot to cook. I added some Salt Pork, Celery, and Onion and cooked them on high for about 4 hours and then let them cool over night. Refrigerate after they're cooled. 

You'll need to begin this process by making the dressing. 

Add some olive oil to a shallow bowl. 

Then add the vinegar.

Next, add sugar, ground mustard, celery seed, salt, and a good amount of ground black pepper.

Give a good whisk!

Do a little taste test to make sure it meets all your dressing need, then set it aside as you prepare the rest of the veggies.

Chop up your celery.

Dice up your red bell pepper.

Chop up some green onions.

 Next, peel your cucumber and slice in half.

Then remove the seeds.

Now, chop up the red onion.

Then, carefully, remove the seeds and dice up the jalapeno. Wash your hands well and avoid touching your face. I learned this the hard way.. Just use gloves. Trust me.

 Pour your Black-Eyed Peas in a large bowl.

Then, throw all your pretty chopped up veggies into that large bowl with your black-eyed peas.

 Add about half a cup of shredded cheese, more if you're feeling a little frisky.

 Pour in that delicious dressing from earlier.

Give the entire thing a good, but gentle mixing! 

Isn't it colorful, and gorgeous?!

Now, if you're truly Southern, add a nice big ole piece of Sweet Cornbread. Yum!

 Texas Caviar (adapted from The Pioneer Woman's Black-Eyed Pea Salsa)

For the Dressing
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup White Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Celery Seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste

For the Caviar
  • 3 stalks Chopped Celery
  • 3 stalks Sliced Green Onions
  • 1 chopped Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 chopped Red Onion
  • 1 whole Cucumber, Peeled, Seeded, And Chopped
  • 1 whole Jalapeno (optional), Seeded And Chopped
  • 1/2 cup (or More If Desired) Chopped Cilantro
  • 24 oz cooked Black-eyed Peas (or 2 cans of drained Black-Eyed Peas)
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Cheese
  • Garlic Salt to taste

  • Mix together dressing ingredients. Whisk well and set aside.
  • Combine all vegetables (except cilantro and shredded cheese) with black eyed peas.
  • Pour dressing over the top and gently stir together.
  • Add shredded cheese and cilantro and stir gently.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Serve with warm cornbread.
  • Enjoy!

This post is linked with love to the wonderful Weekend PotLuck , at The Country Cook.