Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year’s Day, Black-Eyed Pea Caviar and Pecan Dirty Rice

Since we were up later than usual on New Year’s Eve (NYE) we opted to sleep in on New Year’s Day (NYD). It is going to be tough to be back to our 5 am wake up schedule for the gym.

This morning we decided to have leftover miso veggie soup with okara for breakfast. While that sounds weird to some miso soup is a traditional Japanese breakfast. If you like savory food in the morning it makes a good breakfast. To increase Dan’s calories he also had the leftover Asian green beans and mushrooms over quinoa. As you can see I make great use of my intentional leftovers. While I love to cook I also like having readymade “fast” food.

My father is from the south and black eyed peas are traditionally served on NYD at our house. I wasn’t really in the mood for Hoppin’ John so I decided to make a little black-eyed pea caviar. I have seen this referred to as both Mississippi and Texas caviar. Do any of you know which name is more commonly used? Here is how I made the black eyed pea caviar:

Mississippi/Texas Caviar
serves 8 as an appetizer


1 cup dried black eyed peas, sorted, rinsed and cooked until tender
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced or grated on a microplane
1 teaspoon hot crushed peppers (wet hots)
¼ teaspoon dried dill weed
1 little pinch of stevia to round out the flavor but not enough to make it sweet
½ red or orange pepper, very finely diced
2 tablespoons red onion, very finely diced
½ cup parsley, fined minced


Cook the black eyed peas until tender and place them in a colander to drain.

Whisk together the Dijon, wine vinegar, garlic, wet hots, dill and tiny amount of stevia to round out the flavor. Combine the dressing with the still warm/hot black eyed peas. The hot peas will more effectively soak up the dressing. Now refrigerate the beans until they are cold.

Once the beans are thoroughly chilled add the veggies and refrigerate until ready to serve.

I sliced cucumber thickly and used a melon baller to hollow out the inside so they would hold more of the beans.

Nutritional stats (for 1/8th of the recipe doesn’t include the cucumbers):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 32.43
Calories From Fat (7%) - 2.14

Total Fat - 0.26g
Saturated Fat - 0.04g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 29.82mg
Potassium - 106.95mg
Total Carbohydrates - 5.85g
Fiber - 1.82g
Sugar - 1.14g
Protein - 2.01g


The beans had a nice flavor but weren’t too spicy. I was cooking with my mother in mind. We had the leftover beans on top of a green salad on Sunday and that worked well too. I may try other beans flavored similarly for on top of salad in the future.

Next I had to make something for dinner. Like always I had not planned a thing. I looked through “The Artful Vegan” for ideas and say they had a dirty rice with pecans. That dish became my inspiration. Here is what I did”

Pecan Dirty Brown Rice
Inspired by “The Artful Vegan”
Serves 4


1 cup brown basmati rice
1 3/4 cups water
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
4 whole allspice berries
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup pecans, finely chopped


This is one of those really simple recipes. Combine everything in a heavy pot with a lid and cook as though it was plain brown rice. When it is finished (time will depend on the pan you used and the heat level) allow it to stand covered for 10 minutes so the rice will finish steaming then fluff with a fork.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 275.51
Calories From Fat (35%) - 96.71

Total Fat - 11.18g
Saturated Fat - 1.12g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 6.53mg
Potassium - 164.12mg
Total Carbohydrates - 37.99g
Fiber - 3.08g
Sugar - 0.94g
Protein - 4.96g


I was surprised by how well this rice dish turned out. It is higher in calories than most of my grain dishes but it also had more oomph if you know what I mean. Even Dan who isn’t the biggest fan of rice said this was really good. I would highly recommend this recipe if you are looking for a way to add something to your boring rice.

As you know we are eating more mushrooms these days for the immune boosting effects. I thought a spicy and lemony mushroom topping would be good on the dirty rice. Here is what I did:

Spicy and Lemony Mushrooms
Serves 2


¾ pound crimini mushrooms, sliced into ¼ inch pieces
¼ teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or finely grated on a microplane
1 lemon, zested and juiced
freshly ground black pepper to taste


This is another easy recipe. Combine everything in a heavy pan with a lid. I use Le Creuset. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes and then turn off the pan allowing the mushrooms to cool slightly before serving.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 59.68
Calories From Fat (3%) - 1.8

Total Fat - 0.21g
Saturated Fat - 0.03g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 11.29mg
Potassium - 816.96mg
Total Carbohydrates - 11.14g
Fiber - 1.58g
Sugar - 3.79g
Protein - 4.62g


I am a huge fan of lemon so I loved these. If you don’t love lemon you may want to use half the amount of lemon juice. On their own (without the rice) the lemon flavor may has been too assertive but I thought it was perfect with the rice.

I sliced baby spinach and put that on the base of the plate topped the spinach with the hot rice and ‘shrooms. The spinach was added for both color on the plate and nutrition. It was a nice dish that reminded me of the south.

After dinner while I worked on my New Year’s Eve post Dan decided to start watching a movie. He picked “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. It was too violent for my taste though the mystery angle was good.

As usual we stayed up far too late. The gym reopens Monday morning at 6am which means we need to get up at 5. Can’t say I am looking forward to shifting our schedule by that much this evening. I have my fingers crossed that we can do it. ;-)

Happy Thoughts:

Saturday was the perfect day at our house after two days of running around. Here are my happy thoughts:

• I thoroughly enjoyed spending the day in running pants, a T-shirt and slippers with my hair in a pony tail and no makeup. After two days of running around a low key day was what I needed to feel recharged. Dan enjoyed relaxing too. He watched some old Twilight Zone episodes and other sci fi things and spent a lot of the day cuddling with Binky.

• We had a chance to sample all our new teas which were all fabulous. “The Kids” bought us more tea from teavana and a new tea pot among other things. They know us too well.  :-)  We both loved the Youthberry tea (which is white) with acai. That may become a new obsession. Thank you guys!

• My parents eat a taco salad no chips without complaint. Who are these people? I expected my mother to ask for chips at the very least. Who knows maybe they are growing accustomed to my food. Nah! LOL

• Both Dan and I thoroughly enjoyed the pecan dirty rice topped with mushrooms for dinner. That rice will be showing up again. It has huge flavor and the pecans do a great job of bringing the “dirty” aspect to the dish.

• I had another day without knee pain for which I am thoroughly grateful. My knee was bothering me so much this time I thought I was going to have to learn to live with knee pain. I feel a little like a dodged a bullet so I am going to be much more careful now.  Also I picked up a knee brace Sunday evening while we were at Wegman's.  I am hoping that helps.

• We are both grateful to have the gym reopening tomorrow. I have missed getting up early getting my exercise out of the way and enjoying the sunrise. It will be nice to get back to that Monday morning.

• I saw the most glorious sunset tonight on the way to Wegman’s. If I don’t forget I will share it with you in the post tomorrow.  You can see a thumbnail of it in the Twitpics on the left.

Signing out:

I need to sign out and head to bed soon or there is no way I will be up at 5am tomorrow for the gym. I hope to have time tomorrow afternoon to get caught up replying to all your comments over the last few days and reading and commenting on the blogs I follow. It is amazing how far behind I can get in 4 days. *rolls eyes*

I hope everyone had a great weekend and a wonderful start to the New Year. Talk to you again tomorrow.


  1. I love your take on black eyed peas. Very cute.

  2. Jenny,

    Thanks, the hollowed out cucumber rounds worked out better than crackers. The peas had very good flavor. I was very pleased with how they turned out.

    thanks again,

  3. i was just going to say the black eyed peas are cute too. i want that.

  4. I love to substitute cucumber for crackers - they are so refreshing and really let the dip/"caviar"/filling shine.
    You've also inspired me to eat more mushrooms...everyone is getting sick over here.

  5. thats great about your parents, come a long way this last year+. i forgot to comment on yesterdays grilled grapefruit! that must have smelled great as well as taste good:)

  6. Very, very clever, Ali! Love that "caviar"!

  7. Happy New Year! I'm anxious to try these recipes. I've never used allspice berries, do you remove them after cooking?

    Are brown crimini (button?) mushrooms the same as baby portobellas? Do you think brown mushrooms are, in general, better than white ones?

  8. bitt,

    Thanks, I thought they were cute too. ;-)


  9. foodfeud,

    I actually prefer cucumbers to crackers now though I didn't at first.

    Bummer on everyone getting sick there. When that happens here I also increase my raw garlic consumption. I blend it into tomato juice just let it sit 10 minutes before drinking so the allicin can develop.

    I hope you can avoid what is going around,

  10. Michelle,

    I am under no illusion that my parents would eat this way unless I cooked it but at least they seem to complain less and that is a start. ;-)

    Broiled grapefruit is something that women did in the 60's and 70's. Definitely an old school idea but very tasty. You should try it.


  11. JL,

    Thanks I can't take credit for the idea though. I had seen it somewhere before and tried to make something similar to what I remembered.


  12. Laura,

    Happy New Year to you too!

    The allspice berries disappeared in the rice. If you are concerned you can process them in your spice grinder or smack them with the back of knife (like smashing garlic) before adding them to the rice.

    Crimini is the Italian name for brown mushrooms and yes when they are larger they are called portabella. I prefer the taste of them as I think are are "meatier" but I don't think there is much difference in nutrition between them and the white button variety. If I find out something different about the nutrition I will write about it.

    hope you have a great Monday,

  13. I made a black-eyed pea caviar for a party once. It was ok, but nothing spectacular. I don't even think I kept that recipe though. The mushrooms look fantastic. So glad to hear your knee pain seems to be gone. I am so not ready to get back into the work grind routine.

  14. Heather,

    We liked this black eyed pea caviar it has good flavor. We ate the leftovers on salad for dinner Sunday and that worked very well. When I am making it just for us I will add more heat.

    If you like lemon and spice you will like the mushrooms. ;-)

    My knee did okay this morning at the gym. It was a little wonky so I took it easy on the cardio. Still hate the elliptical but I did it. *rolls eyes*

    I hope your Monday goes by quickly,

  15. OK, that rice will have to appear in my home very, very soon. It looks incredible! Around here, we often call the black-eyed pea dish Texas caviar. I've never heard it called Mississippi, but then I do like in Oklahoma.

  16. Brigid,

    The dirty rice exceeded our expectations. I hope you like it as much as we do. :-)

    I thought Texas caviar might be more common. Thanks for the confirmation.

    I hope you had a great holiday,

  17. Awesome! I can't wait to try it. Really the reason for this comment is to say that I meant to say I *live* in Oklahoma. I certainly don't *like* it. :)

  18. Brigid,

    I assumed that was a typo but thanks for clarifying just in case. ;-)


  19. those little cucumber bites are so cute...i may try this out as a way to start incorporating the greem monster into my diet, lol...i don't usually like cucumbers

  20. i wanted to make something with black eyed peas yesterday, I just didn't know what! your recipe sounds amazing, wish i saw it earlier! but hey, I can make it the new year week, right? ;)
    Hope you have a good start to your week!

  21. Happy New Year, Alicia!

    A friend lent me the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" book (and all the others in the series) and I was surprised that I enjoyed reading them (I didn't expect to due to all the hype around them). Was the movie you saw a Swedish one with subtitles? I had heard they were going to make an English version, but wasn't sure if they actually had or not yet...I am not sure if I want to see the movies or not--books are always so much better.

    I hope you had a good Monday!

  22. Jin,

    I use cucumber in place of crackers all the time. It works with most toppings. I hope you like it too.


  23. Lauren,

    Thanks, we both thought it was good. I hope you enjoy it.

    The gym was good this morning. It was nice to be back. The rest of Monday was just okay. It is Monday afterall. ;-) I hope your week started off well. :-)


  24. Happy New Year to you too Courtney,

    The movie we saw was in Swedish with subtitles. There was some very graphic violent scenes that were disturbing.

    I did have a good Monday but a busy one. I hope you had a good one too. :-)


  25. I made the Dirty Pecan Rice and the Spicy and Lemony Mushrooms tonight. These are two excellent dishes. I wrote a blog on it tonight with links to your blog. Thank you so much for sharing these recipes with us. These two are just lovely!

  26. Lori,

    I am so glad you liked the recipes. Thank you very much for taking the time to let me know, I really appreciate it. :-)


  27. cucumbers for crackers? love the idea!


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