I grew up in Texas and we have a tradition of eating black eyed peas on New Year's Eve to bring us luck in the coming year. I am using beautiful, 'super lucky 2017' peas from Rancho Gordo for my recipe but you can use canned or frozen too. People either like 'cow peas' as they are also known, or they don't. I love this recipe from my childhood and I think you will too. If not, at least swallow one whole, like my sister, so you will still have good luck!
1/2 lb dry black eyed peas (preferably Rancho Gordo, soaked overnight and cooked with 3 cloves smashed garlic until soft, about an hour)
2 (15-oz.) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed OR 3 c frozen OR Melissa's steamed peas in the produce aisle, seems they are mainstream now!
1 c cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped or half a small one
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Serve with tortilla chips or in lettuce cups.
Ma Mére’s Breakfast Cheese Casserole
Well, she was really my Godmother and a dear friend but I called her Ma Mére. She ran a restaurant in Dallas in the 1970's called 'The Little Mushroom'. This easy breakfast casserole is from her first cookbook of the same name. You put it together the night before and then pop it in the oven the next morning. It is warm, billowy, cheesy and tastes mildly of garlic and wine, really different and delicious. You could add a layer of thinly sliced ham or just lay out some bacon on a foil lined sheet pan and bake it at the same time. It will all come out together. Slice up some fresh fruit and you're done. I thought it would be the perfect dish for your busy Christmas morning. Happy holidays everyone!
6 slices of bread, crusts cut off
6 T unsalted butter, softened (if you use salted butter, just omit the salt later)
1 medium garlic clove, chopped finely
1/2 c half and half
2 c Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 c dry white wine (I am using sauvignon blanc)
1/2 c chicken stock (or veggie stock if you want)
1/4 t dry mustard
1/4 t salt
3 sprigs fresh thyme, picked (optional)
Mash the butter and garlic together with a fork until blended and spread on one side of the bread. Place the bread face down in a 9" x 13" casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the bread. Beat the eggs with the half and half, add the wine, stock, salt and dry mustard. Pour over the bread. Sprinkle with the thyme if using. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until puffed and lightly browned. Serves 6.
Red Bartlett Pear ‘Popover’ Pancake
The holidays are busy enough without having to think about every meal for your family and friends being a production. This delightful breakfast pancake is incredibly easy and yummy too. Taking only minutes to sauté the pears on top of the stove, it goes into the oven afterwards to bake and puff the pancake. It is an eggy, billowy thing of beauty that needs only a dusting of powdered sugar to become a breakfast masterpiece!
Red Bartlett Pear 'Popover' Pancake
2 red Bartlett pears, cored and sliced thinly (any type of pear works well, also apples!)
3 T lemon juice
3 T sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger
pinch each cloves + nutmeg
6 T butter
3 eggs, room temp
1/4 t salt
1/2 c flour
1/2 c milk
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, picked (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put the pear slices in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice. Mix the spices and the sugar together and sprinkle over the pears, toss to coat. Melt butter and set aside 2T. Add the pears to the rest of the butter (4T) in a 12" skillet and cook, stirring often for 3-4 minutes until the pears are soft but still retain their shape. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, salt, flour and milk and the 2T (reserved) butter. Beat until smooth. Spread the pears evenly over the bottom of the skillet and pour the batter on top. Bake for about 20 minutes until puffy and golden brown. Invert on to a warm platter, with the pears on top, sprinkle with powdered sugar and a few leaves of fresh thyme. Serve while hot.
I think this could be a great dessert too, why not! Served warm with a bit of good vanilla ice cream it would be delicious.
Chiles en Nogada
Mexico has a colorful and delicious national dish called Chiles en Nogada. The colors of red, white and green mimic the Mexican flag and symbolizes faith, hope and charity. I think it could be the perfect dish for this holiday season! Easier than it looks and so beautifully presented, your friends and family will be delighted and their taste buds, joyous!
'Tis the season!
Chiles en Nogada
6-8 poblano chiles,* roasted, seeded and deveined (easier than you think!)
1 lb ground pork
2-3 T olive oil
1 T butter
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 c crushed tomatoes
1/2 apple, diced (fuji or johnagold)
3 T dried fruits chopped coarsely (I used raisins, dried cranberries, and dried apricots; dried mangoes or dried peaches would be yummy, too, whatever is on hand)
1/4 c sliced, toasted almonds, crumbled
1/2 t cinnamon
pinch of cloves
salt and pepper
One large pomegranate, seeded **
Heat 1 T olive oil in a frying pan and add the pork. Cook until browned and crumbly. Remove from heat, drain off any fat and set aside. In the same pan put in 2 T olive oil and the butter and saute the onions and garlic until soft, seasoning with 1/2 t salt and 1/4 t pepper. Add the cooked pork, tomatoes, apple, dried fruits, almonds, cinnamon and cloves. Cook for 10 minutes to blend flavors. Taste for seasonings and set aside to cool. If the mixture seems too thick add a couple of tablespoons of water. Prepare the chiles (see below) and stuff with the filling. Just before serving, place the chiles on a sheet pan, cover with foil and heat at 250 degrees for 30 minutes. The sauce can be at room temperature or heat in microwave for 15-30 seconds until barely warm (traditionally it is served at room temp). Top a chile with the walnut sauce and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. YUM!
1 c shelled walnuts (supplied by my friend Nanette, I shelled mine but please buy, easier!)
3/4 c half & half
1/4 c sliced, toasted almonds (Trader Joe's has some already toasted lightly)
1/2 c mild goat cheese
2 T dry sherry
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1 t sugar
Puree all ingredients in a blender. Add more half and half if the sauce is too thick. Set aside.
*To roast the chiles: Open flame method: Place chiles directly over the gas flame or on a medium hot charcoal or gas grill. Roast, turning occasionally, until blistered and blackened on all sides but not soft, about 5 minutes. The broiler method: Lay chiles on a baking sheet set about 4 inches below a preheated broiler. Roast, turning occasionally until blistered and blackened on all sides but not soft, about 10 minutes. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to steam for about 10 minutes. Peel the charred skin off the chiles and rinse them if necessary. Make a long slit in the side of each chile and carefully remove the seeds and veins. Now they are ready to stuff!
**Pomegranates are easy to seed, just split open by inserting a knife in the top and twisting. Put the whole thing in a bowl of water and separate the seeds underwater then pour off the water through a strainer. I love this method, it keeps you and your counter from all those red splatters!
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"