Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pink-eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Berbere

The following is a re-enactment of what may, or may not have occurred.

Late at night, lurking in the dark shadows of the pantry, there it was, screaming to come out. Again and again it taunted me, repeatedly chanting, “Use me! USE ME!” I tried to run away and forget the whole frightening thing, but there I stood, frozen with fear. The spell of the Berbere seasoning had been cast and it kept pulling me back.

October’s Recipe Redux theme, “Spooky Spices” challenges members to use a seasoning that we have been afraid to use. I was able to face my fears and use the berbere seasoning in this Pink-eyed Pea with Coconut Milk and Berbere recipe and I am so glad I did.

Berbere is a seasoning used often in Ethiopian cuisine. It is quite an unusual blend of spices including cayenne, garlic, ginger, fenugreek, cardamom, cumin, allspice, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon and coriander. I was originally afraid it might be too spicy and overpowering but it was not. Instead the seasoning transformed this dish into something out-of-this-world good.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe published in the latest issue of Food & Wine. I swapped the black-eyed peas for pink-eyed peas that I had left over and stored in the freezer after making the 4 Bean Salad in a Cumin Oil and Lime Dressing. I also subbed coconut oil for the butter in the original recipe. And to tame the heat a bit, I used a jalapeno rather than a habanero. If you don’t already have berbere seasoning lurking in the back of your pantry, check out Penzeys Spices.
until next time...

Pink-eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Berbere

  • 2 cups frozen pink-eyed peas (or black-eyed peas)- ours from DeMange Farm, St. Jabob, IL) 
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 large onion, minced (from our Local Chef CSA box)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced finely
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 tsp. berbere seasoning (ours from Penzeys Spices)
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped (proudly grown in my garden!)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Cooking Directions
  1. Place frozen peas in a bowl, allow to thaw.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large wok or skillet, heat coconut oil. Add onion, ginger, garlic and cook over medium heat until softened and starting to brown, about 7 minutes. 
  3. Add jalapeno and berbere seasoning, and cook, while stirring, about 2 more minutes. 
  4. Add tomatoes, allow to cook a few more minutes, then add the coconut milk and broth. Allow mixture to come to a boil, then lower to simmer and cook until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add thawed peas to sauce, and cook until heated through, about 5 more minutes.
  6. Top with fresh cilantro and serve.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Puff Pastry Pizza with Arugula Pesto

If you have tasted burrata, you know what I’m talking about when I say it is heaven on a plate. I fell in love with burrata when mistakenly purchasing it instead of a fresh mozzarella ball.

Burrata is mozzarella’s sexy sister. The exterior is typical mozz, but with a soft, silky, luscious cream interior that gently oozes out when cutting into it. Think molten lava cake in cheese form.
We enjoyed this Puff Pastry Pizza with Arugula Pesto as a meal with a side salad, but it would also make a terrific appetizer if cut into squares. Burrata and puff pastry are a bit more decadent and indulgent than I typically use when making meals, but the tomatoes and arugula pesto tilt the meter back to the nutritious side. 

To make a healthier version of this pizza, pita bread (especially whole wheat) could be subbed for the puff pastry, and regular mozzarella could replace the burrata. But then there would be no burrata. And life without burrata is…well, boring.
until next time...

Puff Pastry Pizza with Arugula Pesto (adapted recipe from Rachel Ray Magazine)

  • 3 cups arugula
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan (we used Cave Aged Tomme Cheese, Marcoot Jersey Creamery, Greenville, IL)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (ours from Local Chef Heirloom garden at Benne Farm, Weldon Spring, MO)
  • 1 ball burrata, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. To make pesto: in a food processor, combine arugula, Parmesan, oil, vinegar and garlic until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Meanwhile, place puff pastry sheet on parchment lined baking sheet. Pierce with fork. Top with tomatoes and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until puffed and crisp on edges. Top with burrata and pesto to serve.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

4 Bean Salad in a Cumin Oil and Lime Dressing

Well here is an ugly duckling turned swan for ya: purple hull peas. Have you heard of them? Maybe instead you know them as pink-eyed peas, or cowpeas? I had never come across purple hull peas before receiving a bag-full of ‘em in the last couple of Local Chef CSA boxes. 

Straight from nature, the pods are quite lanky and scraggly and not very becoming.  

But once taken from the pod, lovely pink-eyed peas emerge.

Taking the time to pop the peas out of the pods, might be considered a chore for some, but I find it to be almost therapeutic. If you aren’t a pea-popping geek like me, and would rather buy them already shelled, look for them in the frozen section of the grocery market. Another sub: black-eyed-peas would work well too!

I enjoyed the 4 Bean Salad in a Cumin Oil & Lime Dressing with a rustic rice pilaf. For the meat lovers in the house we added a portion of leftover beef brisket on the side.

until next time...
4 Bean Salad in a Cumin Oil and Lime Dressing
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup chopped onion 
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed to 1 inch pieces (we used green & wax beans)
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup purple hull peas (or black eyed peas)
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and black pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in small skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic, cook about 2 minutes until onions are translucent. Add cumin and cook one minute longer, stirring.
2. Meanwhile blanch green beans for 1 minute in boiling water. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop cooking.
3. In a medium sized bowl combine edamame, black beans, purple hull peas (or black-eyed), celery, lime juice. Add cooled green beans and cumin-onion-garlic mixture. Toss together with salt, pepper and cilantro.
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