Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Crockpot black-eyed pea soup for New Year's Day

For the past three New Year's Eves, I've had a pot of black-eyed peas soaking overnight.  Sometime on New Year's Day, between watching the Mummers Parade and football, I'll start making this soup. (It's a crockpot recipe - of course - so it's not like I'm slaving away in the kitchen.)

Eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day is supposed to usher in good luck for the year ahead.  That's almost a bonus when it comes to this soup, which is one of my favorites.  It's filling and has a nice earthy taste.  I can't wait to make it this year.

Crockpot Black-Eyed Pea Soup
from Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, by Stephanie O'Dea (one of my can't-possibly-imagine-how-I-lived-without-it cookbooks)

1 pound dried black eyed peas

1 pound spicy sausage (Stephanie used Aidells chicken habanero and green chile; I use Morningstar's vegetarian sausage)

6 cups chicken broth

1 yellow onion, diced

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery (I leave this out because I don't like celery)

4 cloves garlic, diced

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Tabasco sauce (to add at the end to taste)  (I skip this step)

Soak your beans overnight. Drain and pick out the undesirables (broken, discolored beans) in the morning.

Use a 5 to 6 quart crockpot. This will serve about 8 people. Dice the veggies, and dump them into your crockpot with the pre-soaked beans. Add sliced sausage. Pour in broth, and stir in Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for about 6. Before serving, use a stick blender to smash up about 1 cup of beans. If you don't have a stick blender, scoop out 1 cup of beans, blend them in a traditional blender, and add back to the soup. Don't blend too much---just enough to get the broth thicker and creamy-looking.

Ladle into bowls, and add Tabasco sauce to taste.

Wish everyone at the table a Happy New Year before taking the first bite.  (OK, that's not in the recipe ... but it's what we always do.) 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pumpkin chocolate-chip muffins

I hadn't gone grocery shopping over the weekend and was in need of something muffin-like for the kids' breakfast on Monday morning.

I was paging through cookbooks and three-ring binders when I discovered a pumpkin muffin recipe that I had printed out somewhere circa the turn of the century when I was a member of several food listservs (Eat Low Fat, KitMailbox, and Fatfree, just to name a few). There were some pretty tasty recipes shared among the participants of those listservs. (Perhaps you were among us?)

Even 11 years later I still remembered how good these Publick House Pumpkin Muffins were, so I made them (with the addition of chocolate chips). 

1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup light vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg (I didn't have any nutmeg, so I omitted)
1/2 teaspoon salt (whoops! totally forgot this)
3/4 cup Raisins (omitted)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts; *opt'l (omitted)

(I added approximately 3/4 cups of chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 400F. Generously grease a 12 cup muffin tin (even nonstick tins including the flat spaces between the muffins). Mix sugar, oil, eggs and pumpkin. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Quickly stir together both mixtures. (Don't overmix.)

Fold in raisins and walnuts. (This is where I added the chocolate chips.) Fill prepared muffin cups two-thirds full and bake 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. If you prefer large, crusty muffin tops, fill the cups to the top. As they bake, the tops will run together. To test for doneness, use a sharp knife or broom straw. When the knife or straw comes out clean, muffins are done. Remove from oven and let them cool a few moments in the pan before removing. Serve warm with butter or honey butter.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ethiopian cabbage and potatoes

Over the summer my husband and I received most of our produce from the local CSA we joined. It was an interesting experience, but the jury is still out on whether we'll join again next year or buy weekly from the Farmer's Market.

One of the vegetables we received in abundant supply was cabbage. Oh, the cabbage. Now, I like cabbage, I do, but 3-4 meals worth per week for 3-4 weeks - well, that was a LOT of cabbage.

Luckily, my favorite recipe website (besides this one of course) came through with this recipe for me. And it is awesome. Positively my favorite way to eat cabbage now.

However, I must warn you, this does not fall in the category of Quick & Easy. Not at all. The dish itself is not difficult to make but it is time consuming. It's worth it though because the taste is unparalleled in the world of cabbage recipes.

If you have a Cuisinart, you'll definitely want to use it.

Here's what you'll need:

1/4 cup olive oil
4 carrots, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
5 potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
(note: it is important to cut the potatoes small; if they are too big they'll take too long to cook)

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Cook the carrots and onion in the hot oil about 5 minutes.

Stir in the salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, and cabbage and cook another 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the potatoes; cover. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes are soft, 20 to 30 minutes. (I usually add a little bit of water to the pan to help the potatoes cook faster.)

This makes an excellent side dish or, as was often the case here, a delicious meal all by itself.