Monday, December 31, 2007

It's New Year's Eve!

Well, here it is, folks, the last blog post for 2007. It's been a rocking, wild rollercoaster of a year for me, emotionally and especially physically, and I wanted to take a minute and thank everyone who reads this blog, for making me feel like my 164 inane ramblings and bad photography (haha) are something special. I wish you all the best in the New Year.

So, what better recipe to share on such a day as this than one with Black-Eyed Peas? No, I'm not talking about the band, though I'm sure that they can probably pull off a dish or two themselves in their RV kitchen (or whatever they tour in). Originating in Africa, Black-eyed peas are creamy-white with a black "eye" and have an oval shape. They are ubiquitous in the Southeastern United States where they've become a traditional New Year's good luck dish served with rice and greens as well as the key ingredient in Hoppin' John and Texas Caviar. Since I figured there would be a lot of traditional recipes floating around today for those two dishes, I'm proceeding to pass off a couple slightly un-traditional dishes to you. Enjoy them, have a wonderful night, and remember, IF YOU DRINK, DON'T DRIVE!

Herby Cheese n’ Bean Dip
Serves 4
4 garlic cloves
15 oz canned black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
200 gm cream cheese
1 rosemary sprig
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the garlic cloves on a square of foil, add 2 tsp water and make a little parcel.
  3. Roast for about 15 minutes towards the top of the oven, or until the cloves are soft.
  4. Cool, then squeeze out the softened pulp into a food processor.
  5. Tip the peas into the processor and add the cheese and rosemary.
  6. Blend until smooth.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 259.0
Total Fat: 18.0 g
Cholesterol: 55.0 mg
Sodium: 152.0 mg
Total Carbs: 19.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.1 g
Protein: 6.5 g

Aside from the good luck symbol of the black-eyed peas in these moist (and low-fat, to get you started on those resolutions) brownies, the addition of the almonds is also considered good fortune by the Chinese and Ancient Roman civilizations. The trick is to puree the beans very well, bits of skin hanging around in the batter are not pleasant!

Starry Eyed Brownies
Makes one 8" square pan, 9 brownies
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup black eyed peas, pureed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
6 tablespoons evaporated skim milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup cocoa
pinch salt
1/2 cup slivered almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, grease an 8" square pan.
  2. Cream butter, black-eyed pea puree and sugars.
  3. Add eggs and beat well. Beat in milk and vanilla.
  4. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt, stir into the creamed mixture.
  5. Stir in the almonds.
  6. Spread brownies in prepared pan.
  7. Bake 25 minutes and cool completely before cutting.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 220.9
Total Fat: 10.3 g
Cholesterol: 61.2 mg
Sodium: 69.2 mg
Total Carbs: 30.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.5 g
Protein: 5.8 g