Cooking up a pot of black-eyed peas is one of our New Year's traditions. The peas represent the promise of money to be had in the coming year, especially if accompanied by some greens. There's actually still produce hanging out in the snow-capped Crispy garden, some hardy kale plants, which are extremely tender now after many freezings and thawings, so we have still been enjoying our greens, mostly roasted and stir-fried with garlic.
I always have bags and jars of dried beans around the kitchen, but I will confess to hoarding and viewing them more often than putting them to use. Those strumpet cans of already-cooked beans have a more alluring siren song at the dinner-making hour, its' true. However, when I have the leisure of planning meals rather than flinging food at my busy, hungry teenagers, I do like to soak my own and cook up those frugal meals, so my aim is to use more of these food budget-extenders in 2010.
On New Year's Eve I made sure to soak some dried black-eyed peas in water overnight and then changed the water and simmered them until they were tender the next day. Some were accompanied with some sauteed kale (bring on those 2010 riches!) and some were left over for another concoction, which turned out to be a tremendously good pasta salad. I got inspiration from this recipe, but wanted to use ingredients which were more readily in my pantry during the winter, so I substituted frozen peppers and tomatoes from our garden, switched around some of the seasonings and came up with a version which even my eldest teen daughter, a notorious avoider of legumes, pronounced delicious.
A Zippy Black-Eyed Pea and Pasta Salad
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (I used chopped peppers from the freezer)
1 cup diced tomatoes (also came from my freezer stash)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. hot sauce
1 fat clove garlic, peeled and minced (or run through garlic press)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups cooked pasta (I used Pasta d'Oro corn elbows, $1.50 per lb. bag at the Ballston Spa Job Lot)
2 cups cooked black-eyed peas
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in frying pan. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add peppers and tomatoes and cook until soft.
Mix 1/4 cup olive oil, lime juice, parsley, hot sauce, and garlic until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Mix pasta, black-eyed peas and cheese together in serving bowl. Mix in sauteed vegetables. Pour on dressing and toss lightly.
Makes 6 main dish servings. Accompany with breath mints.
I am passing along a bowl of this vibrant tasting and vibrant colored salad over to the 19th Helping of My Legume Love Affair, a monthly food blogger celebration of the glory of legumes. Simple Indian Food is hosting the January round of this beany bonanza, started by Susan, the Well-Seasoned Cook. Aside from learning about various kinds of legumes and tasty ways to prepare them, My Legume Love Affair offers prizes to participants, which this month includes a calendar and a sampler of N.K. Hurst Co. dried beans.
Off to soak some more beans...