Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Texas Caviar

Happy New Year!

If you are not from the South, you may not know about the New Year's tradition of eating black-eyed peas.  As a matter of fact, you may not even know what black-eyed peas are.  I can hear Annette gasp as she reads that one!

I could go into some kind of explanation about WHY we eat black-eyed peas on New Year's, but in all honesty it would be information I got by way of "Google," because quite frankly I never have been worried about "why."  I just know we do it for good luck, and it is taken seriously!  When I "Googled" the subject, there were plenty of explanations, so Google to your heart's desire.

On to the food ~ black-eyed peas are a pretty fun subject to Annette and I.  We remember picking them as children/teens at various gardens.  For whatever reason, you apparently cannot plant a "few" pea plants - you must plant a million or so - rows and rows and rows...  So then of course you have to invite your friends over, because you have too many peas.  It was the friendly/neighborly thing to do.  I guess our parents had lots of friends. :)
They are of course ready to pick in the heat of the summer, so picking them was so much fun - NOT!  Now shelling them - that was FUN!  I would say that Annette and I feel we were "professional" pea shellers.  Daddy taught us how to do it efficiently, and it is a sweet memory of family time - everyone sitting in the living room, shelling bushel after bushel of peas.  I can still see Daddy smile and laugh as Annette tried to compete for who could shell more.

It is well-known in our family that Annette LOVES black-eyed peas.  Black-eyed peas and cornbread have always been a favorite for her.  You can see her previous post about how to cook them here:
Black-Eyed Peas!!

I, on the other hand, eat peas on New Year's, because that is what I am "supposed" to do.  So, I am sharing a recipe for a different way to enjoy them, called Texas Caviar.  If you can make something that goes with a chip, I am there!

Texas Caviar

2 cans of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
OR 1 bag of frozen black-eyed peas, cooked according to package, cooled and drained1 small can yellow corn, drained and rinsed 
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup purple/red onion, diced
1/8 cup chopped cilantro 
6-10 pickled jalapeno slices, chopped
1 garlic pod, finely minced
4 to 8 oz. Italian dressing
salt and pepper to taste

Cook and/or drain your black-eyed peas and set aside.
Chop your veggies:

CAUTION:  when chopping jalapenos, remember to avoid contact with eyes by taking every precaution possible (not that I have had a bad experience with this).  I use my handy-dandy chopper that I love oh, so much.

 TIP:  I like to use my kitchen shears to snip cilantro.  Seems easier than chopping.

Toss all ingredients until well mixed and chill for several hours or overnight.
Look how pretty :)

Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips, or even as a salad.

May your New Year be prosperous, and filled with health, love, peace, and joy!