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Monday, December 30, 2013

Blackeyed Peas = Happy New Year!

Traditions are an important part of holiday meals, and one Southern mainstay may be worth including in your own celebration.  On New Year's day (or thereabouts) it's the eating of the beans, more specifically blackeyed peas, that is a must-eat if you would like good fortune to shower you with coinage.

For an appetizer you could try a blackeyed pea salsa, and/or for a side dish you might want to go classic with Hoppin' John.  I went to my got-to-try-this-recipe-someday file and found a "burger" recipe, staring blackeyed peas, from the Chubby Vegetarian.  It almost looks to easy to be good, but don't let that fool you like it almost fooled me.  It's better than good.

Now I love my store-bought veggie burgers a lot, but I really enjoy (successfully) making recipes from scratch too.  You can see from the photo, these babies look like the real deal.  Note that whether you use Melissa's Steamed, Shelled, Ready-to-Eat BEP's like I did, or Melissa's Blackeyed Peas in a tub, or dried blackeyed peas, or canned blackeyed peas, the key is to mash them until they're the consistency of refried beans.  When combined with the oats this will result in the right texture for binding and cooking.

One recipe makes 4 quarter pounders, or you can divvy it up for more portion controlled patties, or even smaller for sliders.  Whichever way you go, select a suitably delicious bun and your favorite condiments - I went with a little Dijon, bbq sauce, mixed greens, red onion, Roma tomato, and Vegenaise (it makes everything even more delicious).  This way to a good burger, and good fortune:

Good Fortune Blackeyed Pea Burgers (a la
1 pkg. Melissa's Ready-to-Eat BEPs or 1 1/2 cups cooked BEPs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (the 3-5 minute kind)
2 Tbsp. shallots, minced
3/4 cup portobello mushrooms, cooked and diced (optional)
1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. beet juice
2 Tbsp. lite soy sauce
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil for the pan
garnishes of your choice

In a medium sized bowl mash the peas until they're the consistency of refried beans.  Add in the dry oats and combine.  Add the shallots, mushrooms (optional), vegetable oil, beet juice, lite soy sauce, and liquid smoke, and stir together until you get a firm consistency.  Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper to taste.

With damp hands form the mixture into the size patties you desire.  Set them aside for at least 15 minutes prior to cooking.

Add a tablespoon of oil to a saute pan on medium-high heat.  When the oil begins to sizzle, add a "burger" to the pan and cook 3-4 minutes per side.  Repeat.  Then garnish like a fool and enjoy!

Get your New Year's party started with this amazing flashmob performance by The Black Eyed Peas:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Spumoni Shortbread Cookies

FBLA 2013 Cookie Exchange Recipes

Non-Cookie Items

If Santa has a list that he checks twice to see if you've been a naughty or nice food blogger then he probably won't be stopping at my casa this year.  The nice bloggers actually post on a regular basis, while the naughty bloggers wait until the local food blogger group (FBLA) that is nice enough to let them be a member has an amazing annual cookie exchange (check) with related recipe round-up that everyone participates in (un-check).

So I'll try and remedy this by providing my recipe, and I use the term loosely, for the really cool looking and tasty Spumoni Shortbread cookies that I brought to the party:

1.  Make shortbread cookie dough or cheat like me and buy a package of Betty Crocker shortbread cookie mix.  Just add butter, or Earth Balance sticks like I did to make the cookies vegan.

2.  Divide the dough in 3 parts and flavor/color each one like so:
     A.  Maraschino cherries, juice, and red coloring (add almond extract if you have it - I didn't).
     B.  Pistachio nuts, green coloring, and the aforementioned almond extract.
     C.  Unprocessed cocoa powder and espresso syrup (or the like).

3.  Place one part at a time on a sheet of parchment paper and form into a narrow rectangle about 1/2" thick. Stack the other 2 parts on top.  Wrap and refrigerate several hours - over night is easiest.

4.  Unwrap dough, cut into 1/4" slices, place on a parchment lined baking sheet an inch or so apart, and bake according to package directions.

5.  Remove from oven, let cool on racks, and then spread melted dark chocolate (Valrohna that your friend Judy gave you if you're lucky, or another good quality chocolate) on the chocolate section and let the chocolate set about 30 minutes.

These cookies are nice to look at and nice to eat.  Santa, should I leave a few out for you?

Real, delicious recipes from the nice FBLA bloggers: