Black-Eyed Peas and Bulking Up

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January 4, 2011 by buttermilkbaker

So our New Year’s Day celebration meal is always different, but it absolutely must, and I mean must, include two things: black-eyed peas and cabbage.

I’m aware this isn’t everyone’s tradition. At least now I am. I didn’t learn this sobering fact until I left my beloved home in Texas to go to school in New England three short years ago, and was faced with weird looks and wincing faces when I began waxing poetic about this particular culinary convention. It appears this is yet another product of Southern cuisine (along with chicken biscuits and banana pudding): every January 1st we gorge on black-eyed peas for luck, and cabbage for ca$h.

Yup, we sure do. And it’s gosh darn tasty, too.

We ate them on NYD, naturally, but we were still chowing down on them today…you know, just to really hit it home. (I ate more than usual this year since I’m graduating. Can never be too safe.)

Admittedly, our reserve is dwindling, but Buttermilk Mom’s fabulous cabbage and sausage-infused peas keep getting better and better as the flavors meld more and more. In case you’ve never seen such things, here you go:

From the top: french baguette (sadly, not homemade), peas + sausage, sweet potato + Yukon gold mashies, and cabbage. Doesn’t that look purdy?

Here comes the theme for today: amping up the nutrients and size of meals to make them healthier and more satisfying. For example:

See a difference?

This is how I typically approach a meal when eating at home. Leftovers + baby spinach and mixed greens + whatever else I can find in my fridge. Luckily for me, that included this baby:

Local and delicious. It was perrrfect with the tomatoes + craisins, and its tanginess cut nicely through the creamy, savory flavors in the black-eyed peas. I always like adding a heaping handful (or 2 or 3) of greens (usually spinach) to the hot component of my meal to break up the heaviness/richness of the dish, and to make it last longer. More bites = more filling as far as I’m concerned, and if I can get a big boost of vitamins K and A, antioxidants, and even fight cancer (it’s true!) while I’m at it, all the better!

But what about the mashies? Just 1 large sweet potato + 4-5 small Yukon goldies, boiled separately and mashed together. Would you believe there are only 2 tablespoons of butter in there and about 1/2 cup of 2% milk? Add salt and pepper to taste, and voila! Delicious and nutritious mashed potatoes.

I didn’t have one of these tonight, but I just had to show you B-Mom’s cornbread muffins.

Apparently we like orange food in this family?

She made half regular, half jalapeno-cheddar.

Still warm. Ooey, gooey, a little sweet and chocked full of crisp corn kernels. HEAVEN.

And then for dessert…

Apple crisp. This was homemade. The real deal, a la Joy the Baker. (Recipe with step-by-step photos to come!)

Another before and after.

Bulked up with fresh blueberries, raspberries, and fat-free Cool Whip. Rather than ice cream or real whipped cream, these toppings added extra flavor, volume, and nutrients to my dessert to make it extra satisfying.

The crisp was also made with half whole wheat flour, half turbinado sugar, and about 1/3 less butter than the original recipe calls for. Oh, and less sugar to boot. Don’t worry, don’t worry, I’ll post it soon I promise!

Now I’m off to watch Drop Dead Gorgeous with B-Mom. I love Kirstie Alley, I can’t help it. See you tomorrow!

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