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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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

 

“8 Days a Week / Kale Smoothies”

Day eight

Green Smoothies…green with kale, green with spinach, green with arugula, green for Spring,  green with goodness…8 days a week is not enough to show I care.

This all started with my good friend and co-worker Brad Hunter. I worked on a project with him that I call “all things Kale” for HGTV Home Plants website. Check out the “original Food on Fifth” kale smoothie at their site.

This project consisted of creating simple doable recipes using Kale & honey, Tru Bee Honey to be exact.  Kale salad dressing, uber healthy salads with chopped  kale…one thing led to another until lastly I made a simple kale smoothie.  That was a couple of months ago and every morning since we, over here at Food on Fifth,  have a “variation on Brad’s kale smoothie”. I toss in bananas or blueberries or plums, pineapple, mango, pears, protein powder and organic apple juice, honey, whatever we have on hand.

day one kale

day two kale

day three kale

day four kale

day five kale

day six kale

Day Seven Kale

Day eight

“Eight Days A Week” of Kale Smoothies, I love you, yes you know it’s true!

I am not sure if  it is true, but I feel lighter, definitely healthier and generally have an added sense of well-being. We have one for breakfast every day…sometimes this is what I have for lunch. Thanks Brad! No real recipe is needed but here in a little list to get you started.

Kale Smoothies, Eight Days a Week

Kale

Buy some kale…….

DSC_5144.DSC_5137DSC_5151

Put a generous handful of any kale in a blender with some apple juice…..IMG_0015

Add any of your favorite fruits, some honey if you like and protein powder. I add a few cubes of ice and blend until smooth.

Fruits I have used this week: pineapple chunks, blueberries, bananas, pears, plums, apples and oranges. Endless summer possibilities await…Drink your Greens y’all.

“Kale, Kale, Beautiful Kale, Pesto”

kale leaf

Big beautiful bunches of Kale...Red Russian with its purplish-red stems & lacy tips, Lacinato Kale very sturdy with the deepest dark green color, and our old, familiar favorite, Curly Kale rather fluffy with white stems & veins all piled high and dewy fresh at the Nashville Farmer’s Market.

Like the “it girl”, Kale, is the “it green”…the green “of the moment”…the “if you own a restaurant in this century Kale is a must for your menu” green…unless you have been living under a rock or off-the-grid completely you know this…right? Right.

To celebrate the “it-ness” of Kale, it’s bounty, beauty and health benefits I came up with this oh-so-easy recipe for “Kale, Beautiful Kale, Pesto“.

Kale Pesto on Pasta

Here is all you will need:

1 bunch of Kale, rinsed & patted dry, middle stem trimmed out, leaves broken into bite-size pieces.

2 garlic cloves, 1 cup toasted walnuts, 1 cup shredded Gruyère Cheese, good olive oil, 1 lemon, sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, plus a chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano to grate over servings.

Kales Pesto Ingredients

Here is all you need to do:

1. Place garlic cloves & walnuts in a food processor fitted with the cutting blade. Pulse until nuts & garlic are chopped, but not too finely.

ground walnuts

2. Add Kale pieces, fresh lemon juice & sea salt to processor bowl. Pulse while adding about 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil to mixture. Stop & scrape down bowl if you need to. Add Gruyère to the mix and pulse a few times to make a nice paste. Add more or less oil depending on how you like your pesto. I prefer a chunkier, less oily pesto.

lemon juice and Kale

Kale Pesto

3. Top a bowl of hot pasta with a dollop of Kale Pesto, grind some black pepper on top,  add some freshly grated Parmesan..and a glass of a crispy chilled wine. So far, so good October!

kale pesto

Get your “green” on….Eat more Kale, y’all.

Southern Redux – “Greens & Corn Bread”

 “Greens & Cornbread”

My summer garden was not what I had anticipated…too much brutal heat, too little rain. After much garden angst I decided to just stop my incessant watering and let nature run amok. And it did….basically everything except a few tomato plants and my herbs just wilted and died. Nature did its thing and I did mine by letting it do its thing. Such is the life of gardening.

I did not let my summer garden failure stop me from having hope for my late fall-winter garden of greens. I set out plants and sprinkled seeds in late September and this week I harvested my first “greens for dinner”…two kinds of chard & kale, bok choy, collards, spinach, arugula and sorrel..bravo to the winter garden!

If there is one thing we Southerners really love it is our “Greens and Cornbread”. But many of us Southerners (me for one) have childhood memories of having a dinner plate set in front of me with a serving of dark-green-almost-black totally-cooked-beyond-recognition turnip greens or collard greens which I tried to avoid eating by hiding them under some other over-cooked vegetable equally unappetizing looking. I spent lots of my childhood hiding food I did not want to eat under other food I did not want to eat.

Now I rather relish eating a helping of over cooked greens at any of my local “meat & three” restaurants along with a slice of hot cornbread….every now and then. I also relish eating greens cooked my way with hot, buttery cornbread made my way which is what I made for dinner last night.

“Sauteed Mixed Greens with Pine Nuts & Golden Raisins”

 Gather or buy about 6 large handfuls of mixed greens. Rinse in cool water and shake dry. Roughly chop greens.

 Drizzle some good olive oil in a large heavy pan and add chopped greens. Place over medium high heat. Sprinkle 1 finely diced shallot & 1 clove minced garlic over greens. In a few minutes the greens will start to steam and wilt. Gently toss greens as they cook. Add 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, a handful of golden raisins, a dash of hot pepper flakes, salt & freshly ground black pepper.

Serve hot wilted greens drizzled with a fruity vinegar such as black fig vinegar or a good balsamic and hot (Kerrygold) buttered cornbread.

“A Simple Cornbread to Enjoy with Greens”

Drizzle a bit of olive oil in an iron skillet or other oven-proof skillet and put it in the oven as you heat it to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together 10 ozs. of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Cornbread Mix, 2 eggs & 1 cup of warm water. The first time I used this cornbread mix I was skeptical, but to my surprise it was very delicious and everyone who has eaten it has no idea it is gluten-free!  The texture is very dense, the flavor not sweet, but buttery. I ignore the directions on the back of the package and just add eggs & water. One of my favorite cornbreads was a “hot water cornbread” my Mother used to make. This is similar. A great find.

Remove hot skillet from the oven and scrape the cornbread batter into the skillet. Put back into oven and bake for about 30 minutes until cornbread is cooked throughout and light golden brown. Serve cornbread slices with a slathering of softened Kerrygold butter alongside a plate of Greens.

So…for you greens and cornbread skeptics, you non-Southerners who think you do not like this traditional  Southern fare, you Southerners who have never eaten greens still a bit crunchy with just the right wilted-ness combined…I ask that you try this simple little set of recipes and let me change your mind.

Bon Appetit Y’all

“A Little Gallery of Greens”

A little bouquet of greens.
Golden Chard
Red Chard
Kale
Bok Choy
Sorrel