Friday, January 1, 2010

Anybody for a BLAND dish?

I am a firm believer in tradition. Traditions are good stuff - they keep us in balance and provide stability in our lives. One of my favorite New Year's traditions is eating black-eyed peas as part of a meal - or by themselves. These are an awesome food that are supposed to bring good luck for the upcoming year.

Personally, I don't believe in luck...unless you follow the equation: luck = preparation meeting opportunity. All the same, I always have black eyed peas every year on New Year's day. This year I didn't use the canned variety, or fresh ones, for that matter. I cooked up some that were dried, but I noticed something about the recipe - it would be great if you want really bland food. Let me explain further...

The package directions go something like this...

Quick Soak Method:
For every one lb. beans, soak in 1 to 1-1/2 quarts water. In a large pot, heat beans and water to boiling. Boil for 2 minutes, then let stand for 1 to 4 hours.

Maybe I am missing something, but this recipe seems to be lacking in flavor! There is no mention of salt, butter, bacon, ham, onion, jalapeƱos or any other seasoning. This recipe as written, would result in something that would be suitable for the creatures that commonly are fed these - cows. In fact, the common name for these wonderful little beans is cowpeas.

My grandfather was shocked when he moved from Arkansas to New Mexico and he found out people were eating cow fodder for human food! Since it was during the depression, I am sure he thought times must REALLY be tough here in the Southwest, so that had to be why people were resorting to eating cowpeas. Like most of us that have eaten them, he quickly fell in love with them.

There is also one other item that bothers me - soak for HOW LONG? Maybe a couple of days or so? I soaked mine for around 2 hours, which seems to work well.

Now, on to the seasoning. Take the recipe above, soak for 2 hours, then add 1/4 cup of ham, bacon or butter to the boiling mixture, along with 1/4 of an onion, diced. Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of sea salt and you have a really tasty dish. You could also add a clove of garlic or a tablespoon of butter to further enhance the flavor and make them even better.

This will give you a great dish for your New Year's table, or for almost any other meal you want to have them with.

That's it for now - Have a Happy New Year and God Bless You and Yours!

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