Monday, January 2, 2012

Celebrating the New Year

I've always heard that a traditional New Year's meal should consist of black eyed peas. I think they are supposed to bring luck, so this year I thought I'd give it a shot. I especially wanted to make this dish while black eyed peas are readily available because my wonderful mom in law gave me a most fabulous cookbook. It's called "The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook" by Maggie Green. It's perfect because it goes month by month and focuses on seasonal dishes that are traditional to the state of Kentucky. I've always wanted to cook through a cookbook, and I think this will be the one I do it with. So tonight was the first recipe, and being January 2nd, I thought it was a good time to start with this new year's tradition.

The recipe is a vegetarian dish, and it's main ingredients are black-eyed peas and kale. It was spicy and peppery-- an altogether wonderful dish for a really cold night. I made the salad on the following page to go with it as well. It had arugula and oranges... very tasty too. The arugula is quite peppery, but the citrus tames it. It also has a nice Dijon vinaigrette to go on top. I really enjoyed both dishes, and so did my husband, but we like the heartiness that these types of vegetables provide. I would highly recommend this dish especially because it tastes great, and you can easily make a few meals of it.

Spicy Stewed Black-Eyed Peas and Kale
12 servings

2 Tb. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 ribs celery (didn't use - Scott doesn't like celery)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
6 ounces diced ham (didn't use -- wanted a true veggie meal)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. dried thyme
1 bay leaf (I used 2 because mine were small)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
2 12 oz bags frozen black-eyed peas (I used two cans)
3 cups chopped fresh kale
6 cups chicken broth

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the ham (or not), garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt and cayenne pepper.
Cook and stir for 1 minute.
Add the peas, kale and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat the low, and simmer, partially covered, until the beans and kale are tender.

Winter Citrus Salad with Arugula
3 servings

3 cups arugula
2 oranges, peeled and sliced into rounds
2 oz Parmesan shreds

2 Tb. red wine vinegar
1 t. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. fresh pepper
-1 added 1 Tb. sugar and 1 Tb. honey
(It was a little tart for my taste, but you may like it as it is.)

Arrange arugula onto 3 individual plates. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Drizzle a tbsp. of dressing onto each salad, lay the oranges, and drizzle another tbsp. Sprinkle a little Parmesan on each salad, and give one last drizzle.

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