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Just as the days of 2011 are disappearing, so are cans of Black-Eyed Peas at your local grocery store. As New Year’s Day is less than 72 hours, this is the perfect time to start making your favorite Black-Eyed Pea recipe!
Now, if you didn’t grow up in The South, Texas, or happen to be from somewhere foreign, like Bulgaria, you may wonder why everyone born south of the Mason-Dixon Line makes sure to a least get a bite of this funny little legume on the 1st of each year.
The story that I was told of the origin of this tradition dates back to the Civil War, when Union troops invaded the South and destroyed everything in their path; including all stored food, crops, and livestock. At that time, the Yankees considered “field peas” suitable only for animal feed, and did not steal or destroy this humble food. Thus, our noble Southern brethren were only left with “Hoppin’ John“ to subside on – and we eat this dish on New Year’s Day as a reminder of their “luck” to not starve to death! (Author’s note: I did grow up in The South, and this is the version of History that I was taught by my Great Aunt, who was as Southern as they come.)
Now, I don’t really like the traditional “Black-Eyed Pea” recipe; so I thought I would introduce a few variants for you to enjoy!
Black-Eyed Pea Casserole
1 can Plain Black-Eyed Peas (do not drain the juice)
1 can Jalapeno Black-Eyed Peas (do not drain the juice)
1 medium onion (chopped)
2-3 slices bacon chopped up
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 1/2c. cooked white rice
Salt & Pepper to taste
Pepper Jack Cheese (or whatever kind of Cheese you like)
Cook bacon and save the drippings, set bacon aside. Cook onion in the drippings until translucent. Mix everything together (except the cheese) and bake at 350 for 30 or so minutes, (I usually throw in leftover Christmas ham, and it really adds to the flavor of this casserole!). For last 5-10 minutes of baking, add the cheese on top to melt.
If Black-eyed peas aren’t really to your taste, other “lucky” foods include cabbage, collard greens, & ham or corned beef! Enjoy, and good luck in 2012!
This weekend is the 5th Annual Edible Austin Eat Drink Local Week, Austin’s premier local food event celebrating local food and foodmakers in Central Texas! This culinary festival raises money for Urban Roots and Sustainable Food Center. This exciting week kicks off this Saturday December 5 at 10am at the Downtown SFC Farmers’ Market with proclamation by the Mayor of the City of Austin, a 24-carrot salute and other special activities. Saturday’s events also include an Urban Farm Bicycle Tour followed by a Pig Roast and Harvest Dinner at Springdale Farm.
Sunday follows with the Coffee and Chocolate Festival. Sample coffee and coffee drinks from Central Texas’s favorite coffee roasters along with chocolate delights from our local chocolatiers at Texas Coffee Traders from 11am–3pm.
Events continue throughout the week at quintessential Austin locations like the Alamo Drafthouse, The Carrillion, and the Domain. Tuesday and Friday are the designated “Dining Out” nights with participating restaurants creating special dishes for the festival. This list includes some of my favorite Austin eateries! ASTI Trattoria, FINO, Home Slice Pizza, Jack Allen’s Kitchen, Olivia, TRACE, Uchi, Uchiko, & Wink are just a few of the HUGE LIST of places to find local fare.
To make things even more exciting, Edible Austin brings you an Online Chef Auction! Through December 10, you can bid to have your favorite Chef create you a superb meal (for up to eight guests) at your home or another location. Three of my favorite Austin chefs - David Bull, Zach Northcutt, and Bryce Gillmore – are all up for bids. (Please feel free to invite me to dinner if you win!)