Saturday, December 29, 2012

An Edible Good Luck Charm for 2013: Texas Caviar



What the heck happened to 2012?  It seems like we were just drinking a champagne toast to it and now it's over.  I kind of feel like I fell asleep and woke up and it was a year later.  Oh well, not much I can do about it now except make a conscious effort to appreciate everyday of the year to come.

Personally I like the sound of 2013.  Some people believe that 13 is an unlucky number, but I think it kind of has a nice ring to it. I'm  excited about what it has in store for me and my family. My son graduates from high school this year.  My daughter will most likely get a permanent placement for her job sometime soon, and I hope to finally finish a project that I have been working on for a long time now.  2013 is also the year that I intend to master the art of butter cream, fondant and gum paste flowers.  Watch out Cake Boss, 2013 is MY year.



Even though I predict that this is going to be a good year, I always grab a little good luck whenever I can . . . just in case.   As most of you probably know, black-eyed peas are consumed all over the south on New Year's Day in hopes of bringing good luck for the year to come, so that's what this Texas girl will be eating.

There are a couple of theories on when and how this tradition got started.  Some believe that it was a Rosh Hashanah tradition brought to the southern US in the 1700s with the Sephardi (Shepardi) Jews of the Iberian Peninsula.  Other's believe that it has its roots during the Civil War when the Union troops stripped the south of all food and crops, but left the "field peas" which they thought to only be suitable for animal fodder.  They must have thought themselves lucky to have anything to eat at all.

I like to think that both these stories have some truth to them which seems to kind of double the magic of black-eyed peas in my eyes.  In all honesty, I really couldn't tell you whether there is any basis in fact to this good luck stuff, because I have been eating them every year for my whole life. Some years have been good and some years have been not so good, but I've decided that any year I am alive is pretty darn lucky.

When I was looking through my recipe archives trying to decide on what black-eyed pea recipe I should feature, I couldn't believe that I haven't posted a recipe for Texas Caviar.  Not only is it packed with some pretty powerful mojo, it is super easy to make, full of fiber, low in fat and calories and really tastes great to boot.  How's that for a lucky dish?  So, if you are taking a covered dish to a holiday get together this is my suggestion.  Not only will your friends love it, but they will be getting a shot of good old southern tradition in the bargain.


Texas Caviar

I'm not exactly sure what the original recipe for this is, but this is how I have been making it for years.  I also like to add a chopped ripe avocado just before I serve it if I have one on hand.  Not only is this a great dip but it is also wonderful as a side dish or relish for grilled meat.

1 - 15 ounce can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
8 ounces yellow and white canned corned, drained and rinsed
1/2 medium size bell pepper (whatever color you like), chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
2 green onions, chopped
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons light olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium size bowl place the black-eyed peas, corn, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, tomatoes, garlic, onions and cilantro; set aside.

In a small cup whisk together the vinegar, oil and lime juice.  Pour over the vegetables and gently toss to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Chill or serve immediately.

Serve with tortilla chips, or as I said above, as a dip or as a relish or side dish for grilled meat or fish.

Makes approximately 2 cups

*Don't have any black-eyed peas? Use any kind of canned beans you have on hand.  One Halloween in England we made this dish with canned adzuki beans and the party goers loved it.

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