Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Black Eyed Peas for the New Year

There are a lot of traditions we follow, especially in the South.  The first person to cross the threshold should be a man.  The first thing you say in the New Year sets the precedence of the rest of the year.  You shouldn't sweep or dust on New Year's Day because you may sweep out the good luck. Eating collards greens on January 1 will bring us money through the year.  And then there's the eating of black-eyed peas will bring you luck throughout the year.

Where do these traditions come from and why are they so ingrained in our lives?  Well I did a little research and found two theories for the black-eyed peas.  One said that American slaves waited up on December 31, 1862 until the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect.  At the stroke of midnight, they ate what they had a celebration: black-eyed peas collard greens and fat back.  Another theory says that when Sherman invaded the South, he and his troops avoided the black-eyed pea fields so this was taken as a sign of luck. 

Either way the tradition is here and I believe here to stay.  So let me contribute to another you can prepare your lucky charms.

Black-Eyed Chick Salad
This is a cute little twist on an established recipe.

3 cups of black-eyed peas
1 cup of chickpeas
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp of sea salt
1 and 1/2 tsp of sweetener (use either raw sugar or agave)
1 cup olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed or diced
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup of pimentos, diced
1/2 cup of celery, chopped
1/2 cup of green onions, chopped
1/2 cup of yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup of green bell pepper, finely chopped

If you want the salad raw, you can sprout the peas first.  Check here for how to sprout chickpeas and black-eyed peas.  Otherwise you can use the canned peas or cook them from the dry state.  In the end you should have a three-to-one ratio of black-eyed peas to chickpeas.

First you want to dissolve the salt into the vinegar.  If using raw sugar, then you want to add the sugar to the vinegar as well.  If using agave nectar, then no need. To this add the olive oil, garlic, basil and black pepper.  Whisk until everything is mixed together well.

Next, mix the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl.  Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl.  Gently stir until all the ingredients are coated with the liquid.  Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled somewhere around 2-3 hours.  Serve chilled.

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