January 2, 2014

Recipe for the New Year: Skillet Black-Eyed Peas with Chard and Carrots

Cast iron makes everything better!

New Year greetings!  Here's to happier guts and marvelous motility in 2014!

The past weeks have been challenging for me, with constipation issues returning, and a rise in reflux (no pun intended).  I actually woke up last week to foul stomach juices in my mouth -- scary and demoralizing and just plain icky.  Why now?  I'm ruling in "stress," since I have a few very stressful personal situations coming up.   And diet:  all that dairy and processed foods and sugar and sodium from meals out and decadent meals in.  Already I feel restored after a week of my "minimal" cooking.  (Constipation is better, reflux is so-so but getting there, and overall weight and bloat is much better.)

For the first day of the new year, I ate well and had no issues.  Lunch was at Le Pain Quotidien where I got a tofu scramble.  (You know I am a sucker for tofu scramble in general, so this was a must-order.)  I asked to hold the soy cheese (but I would have had it with Daiya) and the mushrooms, which left me with scallions and tomatoes -- a deliciously minimal dish, fluffy and soft tofu with no silly yellow spices to simulate "eggs" nor any harsh flavorings to "distract" from the simplicity.   Here is one blogger's review of her tofu scramble, which includes a photo.   And, here's a post by blogger Lemons-Life-Love, who offers her own tofu scramble recipe.  

(Side rant:  Why must EVERYTHING in restaurants be smothered in "flavor?"  The bane of my cranky gut.  Bland is not bland when the ingredients are high quality.  I call it enjoying"the flavor of the food."  Le Pain understands.  :-)  )

For dinner, I made this concoction using a box of frozen black-eyed peas and fresh greenmarket carrots and rainbow chard.  It was a success, to be repeated beyond January 1! 

RECIPE:  SKILLET BLACK-EYED PEAS, CHARD AND CARROTS Use greenmarket ingredients when possible!

1 T olive oil (or less oil, if possible)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch chard, sliced (I used rainbow chard, but any color/combination will do)
2 large carrots, diced into large chunks
2 C. black eyed peas (I used a small box of frozen ones, but canned or even better, fresh, would work)

1. Saute garlic over low heat until just browning.
2. Meanwhile, boil frozen block of black eyed peas in water 15-18 minutes until done.  If using canned or freshly made "fresh beans,"omit this step.   Drain.
3. Add chard; cover and steam-saute until wilted.  Stir frequently to prevent sticking.
4. Add carrots and a bit of water; cover and steam-saute until carrots begin to soften. 
5. Add black eyed peas.  Add water (enough to just cover bottom of pan -- to moisten but not drown everything).  Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes until heated and flavors blend.  The longer the better...!
6. Serve over a grain or pasta.  

Close up of everything coming together.

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