|We still haven’t learned to take the picture before we start to eat–and were too impatient to keep eating to take a close-up! Chick pea salad, pita and sheep’s cheese.|
Mrs. Homestead here:
This week’s Bean Fest installment comes from a cookbook we’ve been trying out over the last week called Vegetarian Dishes from Across the Middle East, by Arto der Haroutunian. These recipes really fit well with our kitchen just now, considering its emphasis on classic summer vegetables (like eggplants, cucumbers and tomatoes) and bulk bin foods like beans and grains.
This black-eyed pea appetizer (meze) is of Syrian-Lebanese origin and is easy to prepare. All you have to do is boil up the beans* and then make a dressing for them. Erik said it reminded him a little of a tabouleh, except it had beans instead of grains.
*Black-eyed peas (aka cow peas) are beans. Sometimes they are called black-eyed beans, in fact. What’s the difference between beans and peas? Both are members of the legume family, but pea plants have tendrils, while bean plants do not. That’s the easiest distinction to make, though I’m sure it gets more complicated the more you know.
1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 small onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tsp ground cumin
1/3 cup olive oil
Cook the beans:
Drain the soaking water off the beans and put them in a saucepan. Cover with a couple of inches of fresh water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until the the beans are tender (but not mushy), adding water as necessary. As you do this, try not to be envious of people with pressure cookers.
Prep the dressing:
The book says “crush the garlic and salt together” so I used our mortar and pestle to grind the salt into the garlic clove. (I imagine you might be able to do the same in a bowl with the bottom of a sturdy glass. Otherwise, I’d either mince or press the garlic and add the salt to the salad separately.)
Then, after the garlic and salt are crushed, mix the lemon juice into the garlic-salt paste. (Again, this could be added separately).
Drain the beans well, maybe rinse them too, as black-eyed peas seem prone to generate some scum when cooking. Toss them with the chopped onion and parsley. Now add the salt-garlic-lemon juice and the cumin. Mix everything thoroughly. Pour the oil over the top. Garnish with paprika, if desired, and lemon wedges.
Serve hot or cold or room temperature, along with pita bread. A great picnic food, or just to keep in the fridge for a quick lunch or healthy snack.
Tune in next week for another episode of Bean Fest!