Black-eye Pea and Kale Salad with Chickpea Vinaigrette

We went dessert crazy at Thanksgiving. The Holiday office party served extra sweets and more weight was gained. There was plenty of champagne on New Year’s Eve, and we woke up to the realization that the dried black-eye peas weren’t soaking. A crazy dash for the grocery store was made for collard greens, and the produce shelves were bare. If Southern tradition of eating black-eye peas and collard greens are strictly followed to bring good luck, a dismal year could happen.  Read more

Black-eye and Chickpea Pea Salad
Black-eye and Chickpea Pea Salad

The sun played with us this past weekend. When it hid behind the clouds, the temperature would drop to a slight chill. When it decided to become the center of the world, we basked in its warmth. What can one say to the sun, us being mere mortals? Alas, the survival of the fittest adapts to change. Wearing a sundress and sandals, a scarf and a jacket were stuffed into a bag. It was a lovely time that started on a Friday. Despite all the weekend activities, Sunday evening arrived slowly. With little time to cook a traditional Sunday meal, a few pantry staples of lemons, canned beans, cornmeal and milk were placed on the counter. A Black-eye pea and Chickpea salad was made with tomatoes, mint and cilantro. Salmon, brought earlier in the morning, was steamed with the juice and zest of a lime, onions, garlic, butter, olive oil, salt and pepper. Milk was turned into buttermilk by adding one tablespoon of white vinegar to one cup of room temperature milk* to make cornbread. It was a nice dinner that ended a chill weekend.

…FYI, the salad and the cornbread is a great lunch, and it makes a nice breakfast with cheddar cheese eggs, scrambled or in an omelet.

*Let “buttermilk” curdle for 15 minutes.

Read more

Roast Paprika Chicken, Garbanzo Beans and Tomatoes over Couscous

Paprika is too overqualified as a garnish. It sits in the back of most spice racks behind the thyme, basil and rosemary. Blame it on the average grocery store’s fault for offering a pretty spice with no substance. I thought sour cream was the star of the traditional Hungarian dish, Chicken Paprikash. I love how gourmet stores, food television networks and online media have expanded our culinary repertoires.

Looking for ingredients for a spicy enchilada dish at a gourmet store, I discovered a Spanish Smoked paprika. There were three versions: bittersweet, sweet or spicy. I picked the sweet version and returned home. I gently dipped a spoon into the tin can to retrieve a hint of a taste. It was powder to the paprika pandemonium delicious. The future of my menus would alter dramatically. The social order of my spices shifted. Paprika was no longer limited as a garnish. It has become one of my favorite spices. I use it minimally, because it’s a dominant flavor.

The Roast Paprika Chicken, Garbanzo Beans and Tomatoes over Couscous recipe is simple and quick. Find the source of the recipe at the end of this post. My version may be more complicated. However, it’s a quick weekday meal.

Read more