Texas Caviar. A Good Luck New Years Treat!


Black eyed peas have been long considered a good luck food for the New Year, and lord knows 2021 in going to need it!

Texas Caviar is a great scoop and eat dish on tortillas, bread rusks, pita or a spoon!

In the 1800's Black-eyed peas were considered animal feed. 

The superstition says that black-eyed peas were all the enslaved people in the South had to celebrate with on the first day of January 1863.  That was the day when the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. From then on, black-eyed peas were always eaten on the first day of January as a sign of good luck and good fortune 

This is a simple yet addictive dish.You can eat it scooped onto chips at your desk at work as an alternative to hummus, but you can also...Present it on a party table...Make a sexy hors d'oeuvre with it...Top grilled fish or pork chops with it...Toss with with hot or cold pasta, rice, cous cous or quinoa for a healthy meal or side dish.

Simple, delish, healthy, lasts forever...sounds like a partner for life!

You can use canned beans or cook them from dry. I am not adverse to using good quality canned beans because they are always perfect. Too often beens cooked from dry are either too broken down, or worse, too hard. Hard beans suck and have no place in a good kitchen. They are indigestible and are not nutritious. 
So here is my quick and easy version of this classic dish. You can cut back on the heat if you like, just keep it a secret from me.

2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained, or two cups dry, cooked
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and neatly diced
1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and neatly diced
1 small red onion, neatly diced
stalks celery, neatly diced
1 medium fresh tomato, neatly diced

1 small bunch scallions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup mild hot sauce like Texas Pete, Frank's or Crystal
1 heaping tablespoon CAGE Seasoning 
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup EVOO 

Mix vegetables together in a bowl.
Pour over dressing ingredients.
Now add the blackeyed peas and allow to sit at room temp for 20 -30 minutes before refrigerating,
Store covered in the fridge.
Lasts for a week

How to cook blackeyed peas from dry.

I'm going to give you my quick soak method, where you can make dried beans perfectly without overnight soaking.
 Makes about 1 quart.

1 1/2 cups blackeyed peas, dry, pickled over for stones and broken pieces.
6 cups plus as needed water
2 bay leaves 
2 tsp salt (Pay attention! This is for use later, never cook beans in salted water!!!)

Put the peas in a colander and rinse well. 
Put in a heavy pot and cover with water by two inches.
Bring to a rolling boil. Allow to boil for 45 minutes then turn off heat.  Let the beans soak for 15 minutes then drain. 
Put the beans back in the pot with the 6 cups of water and bay leaves.
Bring to a boil then turn down the heat to low so that your water is just perking a gentle boil. 
Cook for 15-20 minute slowly and then taste a pea.
Is it still chalky? Keep cooking and come back in 10 minutes.
They will soon be pefect, not chalky, not mushy.
Now here is the secret. When they are done DO NOT STRAIN.
Add the salt to the cooking liquid and store the beans in that liquid.
Beans need to be packed in liquid or they will dry out all over again.
Strain them when you are ready to make bean salad but store them in their cooking liquid.

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