Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Single Serving of Good Luck

I've always considered myself a lucky person and there's not a day that goes by that I'm not reminded about how fortunate I am.  But I really lucked out when I met my husband 28 years ago.  He's definitely one of a kind.  So here were are on New Year's Eve and he's watching the Boston U and Notre Dame ice hockey game and I place a bag of black-eyed peas in front of him and ask him to count out 365 (well 366 because it's a leap year) for our New Year's day dinner.  He didn't complain, especially since I was interrupting his ice hockey game, but more importantly he doesn't think I am nuts for asking him to do this.  So we both sat there in front of the TV counting out black-eyed peas to bring us good fortune and good luck during the new year.  Very fortunate indeed...

Now, I'm sure you are aware of this folklore or superstition from the south that eating black-eyed peas on New Year's day will bring you good luck for the coming year.  And it's usually in the form of a dish called Hoppin' John; but I wanted to make something that was a little fresher and lighter.  So as the story goes...you should eat one black-eyed pea for each day of the year.  The peas represent coins, the collards represent green money, and the cornbread represents gold, (which I decided not to make because I want to eat healthy).  Also, for additional good luck you are supposed to place a coin under the pot while cooking the black-eyed peas and a coin under each dinner plate while eating.  Well, I forgot this part and so hopefully, counting out the peas has us covered for the entire year.

I was not born and raised in the south.  I grew up in Maryland which is considered a boarder state, but I did grow up eating black-eyed peas and collard greens.  However, I never quite understood why everyone cooks the crap out the peas, as well as the collards.  Most recipes call for cooking the peas for 1-1/2 hours and for braising the collards for that amount of time as well.  I do not find eating mushy beans/peas or army green collards very appealing and so this is a really quick and healthy dish that can be made in 30 minutes.

Unfortunately, New Year's day has come and gone, but you can still get all the health benefits from eating black-eyed peas, farro and collards anytime, and that is what's really important!

Black-Eyed Pea and Farro Salad:
(Single Serving of Good Luck)

1/2 cup black-eyed peas (or 363 for the remainder of the year...:-), soaked for four hours, rinsed and cooked until tender, about 18-20 minutes, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup pearl farro, cooked for 20 minutes until tender, rinsed and drained
1/2 organic red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
2 green onions, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Chipotle-Maple Vinaigrette (below)

Chipotle-Maple Vinaigrette 

1 tbsp Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tbsp filtered water
1/2 tsp Dijon or spicy brown mustard
1/4-1/2 tsp ground chipotle powder (more or less to taste--I like it spicy)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp pure maple syrup
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the organic collard greens, I sliced them into thin ribbons, rinsed them and steamed them for about 1 minute until bright green.  I then tossed them with a little lemon juice and sea salt and black pepper.   Just delish and so healthy!!!

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