Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Happy New Year, 2010: Chili Today, and Give (Blackeyed) Peas a Chance!

January 1st, 2010 · No Comments

Photo by Jan Norris

Welcome, 2010! Another year above ground – and another chance for good things to happen.

Here in South Florida, the ruby red shoe dropped last night at midnight in Key West, with Sushi, bedazzling in green, aboard. Maybe a couple seconds off, but there are few people there in any condition at that hour to count 10 numbers backwards. The appropriate mayhem ensued. (I’d post a link to a video of it on YouTube – but I don’t expect one to appear till maybe tomorrow when everyone has their head back on straight – or gay – whichever.)

Superb tomato bisque en croute

As for me and mine…Cheffie had to work late for a party, but brought home one of the best tomato bisques en croute I’ve ever had (thanks, Chef Paul: I want that recipe), to go with a lovely fillet cut from a tenderloin I’d aged in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Chili today, peas tonight

Carly Steinhoff with '09 winning chili

Today I’m headed to the home of friends Adam and Carly Steinhoff, whose friendly family chili cookoff has become an annual party. Not sure if I’m judging; if so, I won’t enter. Otherwise, I’ve got a decent chili that ought to at least pass for acceptable by their standards. I’ll bring my own cornbread because they eat that cakey Yankee junk that’s made with sugar. No self-respecting Southerner….oh, don’t get me started!

Tonight, it’s the traditional black-eyed peas with greens and cornbread. Or I might go over to my buddy Scott’s house where I can get a black-eyed pea salad – also known as Southern caviar — and other very good vittles to sup with a congenial crowd of guys.

Black-eyed pea salad more palatable luck for some

That salad is the only way to eat these traditionally “lucky for New Year’s” jewels that taste too earthy for some in the traditional pea-soup preparation, with a ham hock and onions. (Pity the fools.)  Here’s a recipe for that salad that comes from the terrific vegetarian site, Vegalicious. It’s got a little kick from jalapenos, which it should have, and the addition of avocados – they’re fresh from Florida right now and I have a giant one off a friend’s tree that just ripe!

Although peas are traditional for New Year’s, this salad would be great all year long, so put it in your files for summertime to pack with cold fried chicken picnics, or serve it with a ham and sweet potato dinner. Good luck!

Black-eyed pea salad

  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas, or 1 (14 oz.) can, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped (I prefer red, orange or yellow bell peppers as they are sweeter)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 or 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • dash Tabasco
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

If using dried black eyed peas, soak them for at least 2 to 3 hours then boil in salted water for 45 minutes or until soft.

Toss together black-eyed peas, bell pepper, onion, jalapeno pepper, and garlic in large bowl. Toss avocado with lemon juice in separate bowl. Add avocado to black-eyed pea mixture.

Whisk together oil, vinegar, Tabasco, cayenne, and sugar in the bowl used for the avocado. Toss black-eyed pea mixture with dressing.

Serve at room temperature. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Tags: Holiday cooking · Recipes: What's Cooking! · Uncategorized

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