Black-Eyed Peas, Cilantro Salad

Black Eyed Pea salad
While I will probably always remain an omnivore, I’ve been trying to eat more vegetarian meals. Tonight we went with a black-eyed peas & cilantro/lime salad, roughly inspired by a Saveur recipe, that came out really nicely.

For 2 full servings
1/4 lb. dried black eyed peas
1/2 yellow onion
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
fresh cilantro (coriander)
fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 medium tomatoes
3 spring onions (scallions)
1 jalapeno, or some pickled jalapeno slices
3 limes
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

Soak your black-eyed peas overnight or for several hours during the day. Cover with water in a pot with half a yellow onion and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover, letting simmer for about 30-35 minutes or until tender. When done, remove onion, drain in a colander and cool by running cold water over the peas. When fully drained, add to salad bowl.

Remove seeds from your green and red peppers and chop to desired style (I chopped them up about 1.5 to 2 inches long, 1/3 inch wide), then add to bowl.

Take a very large handful of fresh cilantro and loosely chop, removing any excess stalk, then add to bowl. Take a handful of flat leaf parsley (discard the stalks) and more finely chop, and add to bowl.

Cut 2 medium tomatoes into eighths, and add to bowl. De-seed a hot jalapeno pepper, then chop and add. If you don’t have access to fresh jalapenos, a handful of pickled jalapenos loosely chopped will still work well.

Thinly slice 3 spring onions (scallions) starting in the white and cutting as high into the green as you can (where the green is still fresh), and add. (Optional: slice up and add some red onion)

Squeeze the juice from 3 fresh limes over everything. Add 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (that is a guess — it could have been more since I never really measure my olive oil amounts; really you should do it to your own taste).

Mix up your salad, but try to be gentle so that you don’t mush up your peas. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes so that the peas start to take on the flavor of the lime and olive oil.

Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. I found that I used more salt than I normally use in a greens-based salad, so add salt carefully as usual, but be prepared to taste and add more.

We served this with Presidente beers (a Pilsner-style beer from the Dominican Republic). While I didn’t think of it at the time, some lightly toasted pita bread would also make a nice accompaniment.

P.S. this keeps overnight in the fridge really well (possibly even better) since it all marinates together.

Blue Cashew Cuban Black Beans

Gregory Triana, co-owner of the fabulous kitchen and dinnerware supply store Blue Cashew in High Falls, NY (warning: dangerous store to wallet), sent me this wonderful vegetarian black bean recipe.

It definitely takes some time and attention but is worth it. Given my carnivore tendencies and my inability to leave a recipe alone, I have started dabbling with adding chorizo or beef to it to good effect, but so far I think the original vegetarian version below is the best.

I usually just make 1 pound of dried beans, and therefore cut the amount of garlic, but have played with keeping the cumin, green pepper and onion portions the same, also to good effect.

Thank you to Gregory for letting me share this here.

2 – 1lb. Bags of Goya Black Beans ( I like the size and texture of their beans when cooked)
2- Medium to Large Spanish Onions –red onion works as well (To be used at different times)
2- Medium to Large Green Peppers (To be used at different times)
8- Large Garlic Cloves (To be used at different times)
6 – Dried Bay Leaves (To be used at different times)
Coarse Salt ( To be used as you cook, you must taste as you go and depending on your salt level add accordingly
Pepper and (Crushed Black Pepper also for a touch later)
Spanish Olive Oil ( I suggest Goya Spanish Olive Oil or a Sicilian Olive Oil its hearty and cloudy and great for beans)
1-Teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
Ground Cumin

Preparation for Soaking The Beans
Take your beans and clean/rinse very carefully several times they sometimes contain little pebbles etc…place in the pot
Cut 1- Spanish Onion into quarters – place in the pot
Cut 1- Green Pepper remove seeds into quarters – place in the pot
1-Teaspoon of Ground Cumin – place in the pot
1-Teaspoon of Coarse Salt – place in the pot
1-Teaspoon of Black Pepper – place in the pot
1 1/2-Tablespoon of Olive Oil – place in the pot
4-Large Peeled Garlic Cloves – Take ur paring knife and cut a slit into them – place in the pot
3- Dried Bay Leaves

Mix all together — Gregory likes to use his hands but spoons work as well.
Fill the pot with water about 1 inch above the bean line, cover and soak overnight for at least 12 hours….

In the morning….
Check the water bean line and some of the water might have been absorbed so add more at least 1inch above the bean line
Bring to a high boil for about 5minutes, stir and reduce to low
Cook uncovered for about 2 1/2 hours…. Skim occasionally and stir – check the water line never let it dry out and check bean tenderness.
If you need to add water it must be warm.
After 2 1/2 hours the vegetables (onion, green pepper, cloves, etc.. should have basically dissolved to nothing)
Discard the bay leaves and remove the vegetables and place into a food mill most of them do not worry if you leave a few behind.
Add some liquid of the beans and a few beans to create a nice paste- remove from your food mill and add back to the pot….
Taste the bean tenderness most should have cracked and they should be tender not MUSH, not hard…
Continue to cook low heat…. Add your last 3-remaining bay leaves
Add some fresh cracked pepper – to taste.

Final Step…. Making the Sofrito!

A Skillet/Fry Pan will be needed
Finely dice/cube your remaining onion – set aside
Finely dice/cube your remaining green pepper remove seeds – set aside
Mince your remaining garlic cloves – set aside
Add about 1/4 cup of olive oil to the fry pan low heat until FRAGRANT do not smoke it at all
Add the garlic stir do not let it brown
Add the onion continue to stir until opaque and tender about 8-10minutes
Add the green pepper cook until tender
Add pinch of salt to taste
Add pinch of black ground pepper
Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar sometimes I use the cap of the bottle as the measurement
Add the cumin 1teaspoon
Stir – mix well making sure all flavors are combined
Remove from heat and add all contents to the beans that are still cooking at low temp.
Continue to cook ur beans for about another hour low heat – covered.

Gregory’s Notes: You’re basically done… The beans should be tender, the broth a bit thick and ur done… Set aside serve and eat or store in the fridge. Black beans should always be served with long grain white rice – but we sometimes use a kashi rice or brown but never yellow!

Kale and White Bean Soup

This is a recipe I adapted from one of the food magazines (I think Gourmet). When I could not find kale, I have used the coarse leaves of dark green cabbage. Rachel Ray has a really fast version of this kind of hearty soup where she uses a loaf of Italian bread to thicken it up. Yum.

1 lb. dried great northern, cannelli or navy beans
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 cups chicken broth
2 quarts water
1/2 cup vermouth or white wine
1 3×2 inch parmigiano-reggiano rind
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tsp freshly chopped rosemary
1 lb smoked sausage (ideally kielbasa) sliced 1/4 inch thick
8 carrots, halved and cut in 1/4 inch pieces
1 lb. kale (lacinato), with stems and center ribs discarded and coarsely chopped

» Soak beans overnight.
» Bring beans to boil and remove from heat to sit for 1 hour
» Cook onions and garlic in olive oil at the bottom of your soup pot, then add beans, chicken broth, 1 quart water, wine/vermouth, carrots, cheese rind, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and rosemary. Simmer uncovered for approx. 50 minutes.
» Brown sausage in pan and drain.
» Stir in kale, sausage, and 1 quart water. Simmer until kale is tender, approx. 10-15 minutes.
» Season to taste
» Like many soups, this recipe is even better if you make it a day or two in advance and refrigerate. Reheat and serve.