Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Day-Black-Eyed Peas and Gluten Free Jalapeno Corn Bread

Simply Delicious!
RINGING IN 2012 with Black-Eyed Peas is known to bring you an abundance of Good Luck for the new year.  Whether you believe this or not, it is definitely a great meal on a cold winter's evening. An article I read a few years ago from the Boston University paper from the school of Theology stated; "Eat poor on New Year's and eat fat the rest of the year."  From good luck to prosperity! Hmm?  It sounds promising.

Tapping into some Southern roots with this dish is a sure way to satisfy all your taste buds.  I have no Southern roots myself, but I suppose, if you're born anywhere near the South, you may just have some memories of a delicious dish with Black-Eye Peas.  I do remember my Nana (surrogate mother, Mima), who had African/Cuban roots herself, and she made a delicious pot of black-eyed peas during the holidays with a Caribbean flair.  I wish I would have taken the time to write down her recipe, but the memories of her delicious dish, are fond memories and my taste buds still remember the delicious flavors from her black-eyed peas dish. 

I looked up several recipes for Black-Eyed Peas, and the most popular one that I found is named "Hoppin' John.  I'm not sure of the history behind this name, but I'm sure you can find something on the Internet that may describe the origins behind it.  I found this link to be interesting and glad to read that it was originated in West Africa where my Nana's ancestors were from. It makes me feel connected to her, and all the good times we had together when she was alive.  Life is Good with such great memories!'_John

This is not an authentic recipe as I adapted several variations to suit my style of cooking.  Enjoy!

Five ingredients and 5 simple steps
A pot of Black-Eyed Peas; Delicious!

Hoppin' John and Sadie -Black-Eyed Peas with Rice and Corn Bread Recipes

Note: all ingredients are best when organic

Bean Recipe

1 pound black-eyed peas (dry)
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, whole with paper removed
2 bay leaves
2 ham hocks with meat (ask your butcher for smoked ham hock)
8 cups of water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350*F

  1. Rinse beans several times and discard water (about 4-5 times).  No need to soak beans overnight.
  2. In a Ceramic Bean Pot or a Dutch oven; heat olive oil and saute onions until translucent; add garlic, bay leaves, ham hocks, beans and water.  Bring to a boil.
  3. Cover pot with a lid or foil, and place in oven for 3 hours. Remove from oven and set aside to slightly cool.
  4. When beans are slightly cooled; in a colander, drain beans.  Reserve bean/ham stock.
  5. Remove the ham hock and shred the meat.  Add meat to drained beans; keep warm and set aside.
While beans are in the oven: you can prepare the rice and corn bread

Brown Rice Recipe

1 1/2 cups of organic brown rice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
5 vine riped tomatoes (organic), chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt (add more to taste; I cook with low salt)
1 tablespoon Cajun Creole Seasoning (if you prefer less spicy, add 1 teaspoon, and be sure you buy salt free, organic spices)
1 teaspoon Hungarian Paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

  1. Wash rice thoroughly, until water is clear.  Cook rice in rice-cooker, if you own one.  *Cooking rice on stove top: Add 3 cups of water in a pot; add rice, and bring to a boil.  Cover pot, and reduce heat to simmer.  Cook about 10 -15 minutes, until rice is tender. 
  2. In skillet, on medium heat; add olive oil, red bell pepper and saute until onion and bell pepper are tender.  Add chopped tomatoes and remaining spice ingredients.  Cook on low heat until tomatoes are tender. Do not overcook as you want to keep some of the tomato juices for the rice and beans. 
  3. Taste for seasoning; at this point, you can add more spices or salt to satisfy your taste buds.
  4. Carefully add cooked rice to tomato sauce; spoon in 1/2 cup of the reserved bean/ham stock, and carefully stir rice into tomato sauce.  Gently add the beans and toss until rice and beans are completely married.
Serve with Jalapeno Corn Bread
Jalapeno Corn Bread

Sadie's Gluten Free-Corn Bread Recipe

1 cup organic corn meal (Bob's Red Mill is my preference)
1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour (Thomas Keller's "Cup4Cup" brand is my preference)
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder (be sure to buy sodium free, gluten free and aluminum free baking powder for all your baking needs)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 egg
1/4 cup jalapenos, chopped

Preheat oven to 400*F
  1. Combine all dry ingredients, and sift (you can sift ingredients with a wire whisk).
  2. Whisk milk, olive oil and egg.  Add chopped jalapenos and stir.
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until blended (do not over stir).
  4. Spray medium size Cast Iron pan with oil or a Pyrex pie pan; add corn bread mixture and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown

Happy New Year's and all the Best to Everyone in 2012! 

Eat organic, eat local sustainable foods; support your community!

Buon Appetito!