4 Ingredient Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup E.A.T. #41

Nashville January 20, 2020…..24 degrees and Cloudy.

If you follow Food on Fifth you are probably aware that we like soup. All kinds and flavors of soups have been shared over the years, soups for vegetarians, soups for meat lovers, pots of soup both large and small….winter soups and all-year long soups.

This is one of my new favorites and was created using what I had on hand with the requirement that it was quick to prep and cook, while being healthy and delicious. Four ingredients and 30 minutes later, not counting the salt and pepper, dinner was ready. It is just as “easy-as-this”.

 When in doubt, make soup.

4 Ingredient Black Bean & Sweet Potato Soup


  • 4 cups chicken stock, chicken bone broth or vegetable broth for the vegetarians
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • a large handful of baby spinach leaves
  • sea salt and coarse black pepper


  1. Bring stock or broth to a low boil over medium heat. Add the chunks of sweet potato and cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are “fork tender”. Add the black beans, salt and pepper to taste and cook for 10 minutes longer. Toss in the handful of spinach at the end and cook for another 5 minutes until spinach is wilted.
  2. Serve this healthy, simple soup hot and steamy. It is as easy-as-that!

Sea Island Red Pea and Kale Soup with Gruyere-Black Pepper Corn Cakes for New Year’s Day

There are few meals I enjoy more than a good bowl of peas or beans and cornbread. I am very Southern that way. My bowls of peas are not the same as the ones cooked by  my Mother or Grandmother.  There is no lard, nor hog jowl. They are not overly salted, nor cooked until somewhat mushy. I use a light hand when adding salt, but not when adding freshly ground black pepper. I use a broth base along with a few herbs. But, no matter what approach I take, we have black eyed peas on New Year’s Day come rain or shine. Come sleet or snow, Come hell or high water. I have not missed a New Years Day without my good luck peas for more years than I choose to count. Good meal, good luck.

Recently my good friend, Brad Hunter who is another fellow Southerner, stopped by my house with two bags of Anson Mills Sea Island Red Peas. I knew about them, but had never cooked them. He had been listening to  a radio program about these peas on NPR and thought they would be something I would like. He was so right…little treasures to cook for New Year’s Day, nothing better! Sea Island Red Peas are part of the family of field peas, along with lady peas, crowder peas and black eyed peas . Fields peas are just can be found fresh or dried depending on the time of year.  Sea Island Red Peas are much smaller than some of their family members,  but have that little black eye in every one!

I have over the years shared quite a few recipes for cooking black eyed peas. In 2013 “Black Eyed Peas, Luck and New Rules”, in 2018 “Good Vibes Black Eyed Peas….”and in January of this year “Berbere Seasoned Black-eyed Peas, Greens and Chicken Sausage Soup”. Any of these recipes could just as easily be made with this little pea.

Proscuitto chopped and cooked until crisp adds lots of flavor, but little fat. Olive oil sautéed celery and onions. Low fat chicken, or vegetable broth, for the base along with some water. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper along with the peas and some kale are all the ingredients you will need. I could not fathom eating this soup without cornbread. I used Anne Byrn’s wonderful recipe with some gruyere and lots of black pepper added and cooked in a Lodge cast-iron mini cake pan to make sublime, crisp corn cakes. A few shakes of hot sauce and and many wishes for good luck in 2020.

Sea Island Red Pea Soup with Gruyere-Black Pepper Corn Cakes


  • 14 ozs dried Sea Island Red Peas (or any other dried field pea such as the traditional Black Eyed Pea)rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped prosuitto
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 8 cups low fat chicken broth (of vegetable broth)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt + 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 2 to 3 handfuls of baby kale leaves (or any greens you like)
  • 1/2 cup veg or canola oil, divided
  • 1 3/4 cups white self rising cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • Water if needed to thin down corn cake batter
  • Hot Sauce for serving


  1. In a large stockpot cook the chopped prosciutto until most of the fat is rendered over medium-high heat. The meat should be a bit crisp.
  2. Add the olive oil to the pan and stir in the yellow onion, celery and garlic cloves. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent. Add peas and broth along with the salt, pepper and lemon juice. Bring to a low boil. Turn heat down to medium-low and cook until peas are softened, but still holding their shape. This might take an hour or more depending on your stove and whatever peas you end up using. At this point add kale to the pot and stir into the peas. Cook another 12-20 minutes on low while you make the corn cakes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle a teaspoon of the vegetable oil into each “cake” space in the Lodge pan. If you are using a regular skillet then add 1/4 cup oil to the skillet. Place pan in the oven and leave to heat until the oil is at the “sizzle” stage.
  4. While the oven and pan are heating, mix together the cornmeal, flour, cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Pour in the buttermilk and remaining vegetable oil and mix well.
  5. Check oil in pan to make sure it is really hot. Divide batter evenly between the cast iron mini cake pan openings to about half full,  or pour all the batter into a regular cast iron skillet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until corn cakes are deep brown and crisp on the outside. If you use the small cake pan then use any batter you might have left. This recipe will make about 10 mini corn cakes or one twelve inch skillet of cornbread.
  6. Serve soup with corncake and hot sauce alongside. Happy New Year and Good Luck.

http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com           http://www.foodonfifth.com


Happy New Year Edible Art Painted Cookies

Happy New Year and Cheers from Food on Fifth. Thank you for reading, cooking and staying in touch in 2019…hope to see more of you in 2020.

Who says pretty, delicious cookies have to just be for Christmas? Shouldn’t we treat ourselves in these trying historical times with something nice and sweet any time of the year? Cookies to lift our spirits as we look to the future?These simple sugar cookies with a bit of cardamom added to the dough and cut out with 2 1/2 and 3″ square cookie cutters create miniature “canvases” for edible art cookies, each one painted and splashed randomly and casually to give then an energetic, fun, hopeful look in a toast to the holiday spirit in general, not in particular…cookies to take you into a New Year with hope.

I tinted royal icing  with food colors for my palette. Some of the colors I used are powdered edible luster colors, others more matte. Powdered colors can be ordered online from cake decorating sites such as Fondant Flowers on Etsy and gel colors from Wilton. Regular grocery store food colors work as well and can be mixed together to make a great variety of colors. I mixed red and yellow gel colors from the supermarket to make the vivid orange.

Three batches of dough made, cut-out, baked, cooled completely and then dipped in plain untinted royal icing for the base…sorta like coating a canvas with gesso before you start to paint! I let these dry overnight.

You will need parchment paper and cooling racks so any extra icing can drip off. I really like the wonderful glazed surfaces!

Day two I splashed, brushed, dripped, sprinkled and drizzled the surfaces with various colors and white sanding sugar. Little edible paintings.

I let these cookies air dry totally before packing up for gifting. I am sure each little nibble will make you feel more creative and artistic and hopeful….don’t you think so? They are also delicious with that hint of cardamom.

May you have a Happy New year with Peace, Love and Cookies.

[recipetitle=”Happy New Year Edible Art Painted Cookies” makes=”3-4dozen” time=”2hrsactive”]

Ingredients for one batch of cookie dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks/1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ingredients for one batch of royal icing:

  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder mixed with 4 tablespoons water (or two egg whites)
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar + extra if needed
  • Food colors – you can use powdered, liquid or gel colors. Food colors with sparkle, luster or plain.
  • Sanding sugar, clear or colors of your choice


  1. Whisk together the flour, cardamom, baking powder and salt.
  2. Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg and vanilla extract to the butter mixture and beat until well mixed. Stop mixer and scrape down sides as needed.
  4. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in batches until well blended. Again stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl as you add flour mixture.
  5. Scrape dough out of mixer onto a sheet of plastic wrap, form into a disk and chill for 1-2 hours or overnight. If you chill overnight, remove from refrigerator and allow dough to sit for about 20 minutes before trying to roll out.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Roll dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut using square cookie cutters. Re-roll scraps of dough and cut out until all dough is used. Space cookies 1/2 inch apart on cookie sheets. They do not spread very much. Bake each batch for about 13-15 minutes until a light golden brown on the edges.
  7. Let cookies cool for a few minutes on baking sheets, then place on racks to cool completely. If you are not decorating the same day store cookies in plastic boxes with tight fitting lids until ready to “paint”.
  8.  While cookies are baking make the royal icing by whisking the confectioner’s sugar into the egg white mixture until well blended and creamy. Add more water if needed.
  9. For making edible paint colors, mix a few tablespoons of the royal icing with various food colors. I chose a palate of pink, orange, dark red and copper. You can mix up your colors in small jars or bowls until you have the colors you like. For more opaque colors leave royal icing as is. For more water color shades add more water to the mix. Cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap until ready to use. Gather a few soft brushes and skewers, cooling racks and sheets of parchment.
  10. To “paint” cookies, lay 15 to 20 cookies out on a cooling rack set over a sheet of parchment paper and start to add your colors using brushes for swaths of color, skewers for drips and drizzles. Add a sprinkling of sanding sugar and you are done!
  11. Let cookies dry completely and then store in an airtight container for up to 10 days. Pack for gifting in small bags or boxes with cookies wrapped in parchment.

Recipe inspired by an article in The New York Times on holiday cookies. Dec. 2019





Coquito…Easy Eggless Puerto Rican Eggnog

My Grandmother Kenny Mae made eggnog from “scratch”…the old fashioned way. I would watch her separate the eggs, mix the milk and spices in a pan and cook slowly standing by the stove keeping a careful eye on things. She would beat, add, stir, strain, cook and mix some more until a beautifully creamy eggnog was achieved. A tee totaler, there was no rum or bourbon added to her mix! It was served with fluffy egg whites and nutmeg. Laborious and luscious. It took a lot of time to make when time was less encumbered.  There are lots of alternatives, other than  the boxed kind in the dairy aisle, that are quick and easy and still luscious. Coquito, from Puerto Rico, is one such.

My first taste of Coquito was when my friend Miquel Otero gifted me one of his homemade bottles. It was made with coconut milk and spices and just the perfect amount of rum.  There are 100’s of recipes in books and online with as many recipe variations, but they all have two things in common..coconut milk and rum.

It literally takes minutes to gather and combine the ingredients for this recipe.  I pulled various half or almost empty bottles of rums from our mysteriously never ending collection and used what we had on hand. I do think I was a wee bit heavy handed with the rum at first. When tasting, before bottling, I felt a small cozy “buzz” from a couple of sips. Not at all a bad feeling. Coquito can also be made without alcohol. It can be added to glasses when serving if you prefer.

Decant into decorative bottles, add a tag and you are ready to sip and gift! Keep some for yourself of course. Serve plain or over ice and topped with a grating of nutmeg. Salud!


Coquito - Easy Eggless Eggnog


  • 2  cans unsweetened coconut milk (sizes vary, but around 13.66 oz)
  • 2 cans evaporated milk, unsweetened, 12 oz
  • 1 can Dulce de Leche (13.4 oz or close to)
  • 2 cups rum, Optional (It can be optional, but not at our house! Also, dark, light or combo)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (taste and adjust later if you like more cinnamon)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Nutmeg for garnish (use fresh with a grater preferred, in a pinch use grated nutmeg)

Note on making: You can’t really mess this recipe up…just mix and taste and adjust to your liking. If you want more coconut milk then add it! Do whatever suits your own taste.


  1. In a blender mix together all the ingredients except the nutmeg, until very well blended. Dip in mixture with a spoon and taste test. Adjust flavors as needed.
  2. Pour through a fine strainer/sieve.
  3. Serve over ice or without and a grating of nutmeg. You can also decant into bottles with tight fitting lids for gifting. Can be store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 weeks.

Note: Coquito is great to use if making a pound cake or a tres leches cake for the holidays.

http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling        www.foodonfifth.com







Dark Chocolate ‘Mud’ Pie with an Espresso Crust

 I think I was onto my career path early, and it might have started with making mud pies. The real mud pies with mud, not like the one you see above.   In many ways it was just a small step from one to the other. I was very precise when I made mud pies. They could not be without decoration and finesse. I would gather jar lids, old aluminum pie tins, twigs, small leaves, dandelions and little berries from the woods before beginning…my first version of “mise en place”. Filling the lids and pie tins with mud after a rain, I would smooth the tops and gently press leaves and twigs into the tops artfully. The hardest part was waiting for them to dry. Not that I could actually eat them, but I wanted to see how pretty they looked all dried and hard with little pieces of nature sticking up randomly from the tops. Sometimes I would sprinkle the tops with small gravel or powdery dirt or white fluffy dandelion heads.  It’s not really hard to figure out how I got from there to here is it?

My favorite desert is a mud-dark chocolate meringue pie. One that is not overly sugary,  one with a nice thick layer of browned meringue and one with a crust that doesn’t get soggy within a few hours. I think this pie is it, finally, an edible mud pie!

The extra, extra here is the espresso powder dusted over the crust before being filled and baked. The other extra something, something is that the filling ingredients are all mixed in a blender. How easy is that?

You can flute edges of the crusts or not. Make them fancy or plain. Whatever you like.

Bake until a few tiny cracks start to show on the surface. The center is just a big jiggly. Time for meringue, or if that is not your thing…then whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream, or maybe dandelion heads?  These pies are good for a few days if they last that long.

  This is a pie that makes a good gift for your fellow chocolate loving friends and family. I have made 4 of these in the same number of days and have given most away….most, but not all!

Eat with coffee, with milk, on a plate or out of the pan…anyway you like it..enjoy.


Dark Chocolate Mud Pie with Espresso Crust







Ingredients for two pies:

  • 1 box of refrigerator pie dough (2 to the box)
  • 2 tablespoons espresso powder
  • 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups canned evaporated milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 stick/1/2 cup butter, melted

Meringue for two pies + other toppings:

  • 6 egg whites (freeze the yolks and add to the next cake you bake)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Alternatively you can use store bought meringue powder following directions on the package. If you don’t care for meringue top with whipped cream. Un-topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is yummy as well.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove refrigerator pie dough rounds from the refrigerator and let sit for about 15 minutes to warm up a bit. This makes them easy to handle. Roll each one out on a lightly floured surface and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon espresso powder. Smear around to edges with your fingers. Fit each dough round into a regular size pie pan, not deep dish pressing into bottom and sides.  Turn edges under and flute or turn under and press down with the tines of a fork.
  3. Whisk together the 3/4 cup cocoa powder and 2 cups granulated sugar.
  4. Put 4 eggs, 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract into a blender. Add in the cocoa powder-sugar mixture and blend well. Add in 1 stick melted butter. Blend well again. Pour filling equally into each pie shell. I put both pie pans on a sheet pan as it makes it easier to move and just in case of spillage no oven to clean!
  5. Bake for 20 minutes. Quickly turn pan around and bake another 15 minutes. The pies should be puffy and just a bit jiggly or wiggly in the middle. They may even start to have some small cracks in the surface, but that’s okay. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. They will sink and set up as they cool.
  6. If you are adding a meringue top: Turn oven heat to 450 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat 6 egg whites, 2/3 cup sugar and 2 teaspoon cornstarch mixture until stiff peaks form. Spread over pies touching the crust all around and bake until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.   These pies are ready to cut and eat if you like your pie warm. I let ours cool completely before eating. You can keep chilled for a few days.

http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com         http://www.foodonfifth.com




Fresh Cranberry-Pear-Orange Relish E.A.T #40

I must confess I have a weakness for that (kinda gross) jellied cranberry sauce in the can. I am sure it has to do with childhood Holiday memories nested deep in my brain.  On the other hand, I really love this cranberry relish that is quick, easy and fresh. It is a little bit sweet, a little bit tart and very special with a baked ham or a roasted chicken or turkey, not to mention roasted vegetables.. All you need is a food processor and about 10 minutes. It will keep in the fridge for a few days in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid so it is an excellent make-ahead.

There really isn’t any need for an official recipe, but I put a quick one at the end just in case.

About 2 cups of fresh cranberries,  2 firm but ripe pears, 1 orange including the peel and a 1/2 cup raw or turbinado sugar are the 4 ingredients needed. All chopped in a processor, jarred and chilled. It really is “easy-as-this”. What a nice jar of this would be for a food-lover on your Holiday List!

Fresh Cranberry, Pear and Orange Relish


  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
  • 2  firm, but ripe pears, cored
  • 1 orange, cut into wedges, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup raw or turbinado sugar


  1. Medium chop cranberries in a food processor. Scrape into a mixing bowl.
  2. Puree pears and add to mixing bowl.
  3. Medium to finely chop orange wedges and add to mixing bowl.
  4. Add sugar and stir ingredients together. Taste and adjust sugar if needed.
  5. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid for up to 4-5 days.

Note: For gift-giving, add a ribbon or tag with the date made and ingredients in a pretty jar. How easy is that?

Teresa Blackburn.       http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com




Dreamy, Creamy Roasted Carrot-Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk


Soups are year round at our table, but particular soups start showing up around November when there are no fresh vegetables to be had at the farmer’s markets but plenty of fall and winter squash, fat carrots and papery onions. This trifecta had been languishing in my kitchen for over a week waiting for inspiration which manifested itself in this simple, but elegant and easy-to-make creamy soup.  Healthy ingredients oven roasted,  unsweetened coconut milk instead of cream, and spicy with the addition of Berbere seasoning and dried French thyme makes for one great winter soup.

Carrots, squash and onions drizzled with olive oil and generously seasoned with black pepper….

…oven roasted for 15 minutes and then pureed with other ingredients….

… becomes a lovely pot of soup. Add a few interesting, textural toppings and enjoy.

Sources…because sometimes it’s nice to share:

Dreamy, Creamy Roasted Carrot-Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk






  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium to large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped (5-6 cups)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
  • 2 cups low fat or no fat chicken broth + 2 cup water
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon Berbere seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon French or other dried thyme
  • Garnish: shredded coconut, roasted and salted pipits, pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • Suggested: serve with a baguette cut into slices, top with gruyere cheese and toasted


  1. Turn oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread carrot, squash and onion chunks out and drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast for 15 minutes until carrots are softened.
  2. Scrape roasted vegetables into a soup pot and add the 2 cups chicken broth and water. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes. Stir often. Remove from heat and let cool a few 10 minutes.
  3. Working in batches, puree ingredients in a blender or food processor and add back to the pot over medium low heat.
  4. Stir in coconut milk. Add Bebere seasoning and dried French thyme. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking adding more salt and pepper if desired.
  5. Serve hot topped with garnishes if you prefer with gruyere toast alongside.

Teresa Blackburn     http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com