Got some exciting news…I’m engaged! My sweet darlin surprised me Christmas night at my parents’ home in Texas. I couldn’t have been happier to say “Yes, yes, yes!” The next day we said goodbye-for-now to my family and whirled off to Austin for a short engagement-moon. Now we’re back home, and the new year couldn’t feel brighter.
At the start of each year, I usually have a ridiculously long list of resolutions. But this year, I can’t help but bask in gratefulness and get pumped about what 2014 has in store (besides “Smart Snacks in School”). I’m planning a wedding with Hoyd, starting a pop-up dinner series, firing up a guide to the best eats in New York City, booking more photography opps, and cooking up new recipes for you. Pretty darn awesome!
So to kick-off a new year on the blog, I’m sharing a fun variation on a Southern classic: Balsamic Black-Eyed Pea Salad. It’s custom in the South to start off the new year with a bowl of lucky black-eyed peas. Well, after carb-loading on fun stuff over Christmas, I settled on a light but hearty, bean salad to hit the dinner plate.
I wouldn’t mess with tradition, but I’m actually not a big fan of black-eyed peas. Their flavor tastes like soapy water to me, but you’d never know after taking a bite of this dish. I made a savory sauce out of balsamic, roasted garlic, and jalapeño; lightly sautéed the beans; soaked the spicy onion in lemon juice; and balanced out the acidity with some sweet carrot. The mix is great by itself, but I think it’s even better on a bed of fresh greens.
In addition to being plum tasty, it’s chock-full of nutrients. The fresh vegetables (carrots, onion, celery, and lettuce) create a formidable vitamin cocktail, while the black-eyed peas offer up fiber and potassium. The sweet lil‘ allium garlic also gives a unique mix of flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutrients. Sprinkle on some ground flaxseed for a boost of Omega-3 fats, and the new year is looking healthier already.