As we count down the final moments of 2013, let's focus on starting 2014 with luck and prosperity. There are numerous interesting and fun New Year's traditions, but we are going to focus on one I like to do every year, involving an ingredient I rarely use throughout the year: black eyed peas.
There are numerous references to where and when this tradition started, however according to some accounts, it dates back to the Civil War. The traditional meal includes black eyed peas, collard greens and ham. The peas symbolize prosperity since they swell and get plump when cooking; the greens represent money; and pork represents positive movement since pigs root forward.
We are not going to go the traditional route with this dish. For us the peas still represent prosperity, and the parsley brings the green. As for the positive motion? Well, I believe only you can create that!
New Year's Black Eyed Peas & Beet Salad
1 cup dried black-eyed peas (you can substitute canned beans if necessary)
7 cups coarsely chopped peeled beets (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon agave
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios or pecans, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Optional: 1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese
Rinse the black eyed peas then place them in a small saucepan. Cover the peas with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until peas are tender when pierced with a fork, approximately 20 minutes. Drain.
Combine vinegar agave, mustard, olive oil, and salt and whisk together. Set aside.
Steam the beets for 25 minutes or until done. Arrange the beets on a serving dish, and top with peas, nuts and parsley. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad. Serve.
This festive and delicious dish should be eaten on New Year's Day, so enjoy and may good fortune find you!