LUNCH is sultry, soft-veggie stew with a secret crab, savory-mysterious black-eyed pea fritters freshly bloomed from a foamy bath of hot organic coconut oil & baby cocodrops (as named by the boys), surprisingly sweet with a tropical back-note. Crazy. Delicious. Yay. Yay.
More me-made love stolen from VSK. Check out this newsreel where he talks about the new face of Soul Food. And how this food passes the cousins test down South. The recipes below are excerpted gift-bits from the book.
And, thank you for the love, friends. I so appreciate your comments & emails. I'm working on getting to each of you directly, but please know I'm thinking of your words 'till then. xoxo
Black-Eyed Pea Fritters with Hot Pepper Sauce (gluten free)
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Soundtrack: “I.T.T., Pt. 2” by Fela Kuti from The Best Best of Fela Kuti
Art: “Three Wise Men Greeting Entry into Lagos” by Kehinde Wiley
Books: How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (Howard University Press, 1981)
by Walter Rodney and Graceland (Picador, 2005) by Chris Abani.
While bean fritters are thought to have their origin in Nigeria, one can find them throughout West Africa. Inspired by the Black-Eyed Pea Fritters served at the Gambian-Cameroonian restaurant Bennachin in New Orleans, I whipped up this dish.
1 cup dried black-eyed peas sorted, soaked overnight, drained, and
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup raw peanuts
1 teaspoon minced thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 tablespoon cornmeal
5 cups coconut oil
Remove the skins from the beans by adding them to a large bowl, filling the bowl with water, agitating the beans, and fishing out the skins that float to the top with a fine mesh strainer. Rinse beans well.
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the beans, onion, peanuts, thyme, cayenne, vinegar, water, and salt and pulse until completely smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 200°F.
Remove the batter from the refrigerator, add the bell pepper and cornmeal to the batter, and beat with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.
In a medium saucepan over high heat, warm the oil until hot but not smoking, about 5 minutes.
Lower the oil to medium high, and in batches of 5, spoon the batter into the oil, 1 tablespoon at a time. Fry, stirring around, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. If necessary, adjust the temperature to ensure that the fritters do not cook to quickly.
Transfer the fritters to a paper towel-lined plate and allow them to drain. Transfer the drained fritters to a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm.
Serve hot with Hot Pepper Sauce
[uo: I've no doubt Bryant's Hot Pepper Sauce is off the hook, AND, once those cocodrop biscuits came out of the oven, a small army of football-flag-wearing males walked into the kitchen & demanded their eats. Soooo. That would be my 30-second version of B's recipe, so I'm sure it's altogether different. But so good, still: one roma tomato, chooped fine. I green bell, chopped fine. Lotsa cumin (1 T) lotsa cayenne (1 t) ketchup! (4 T) hot vinegar (4 T), salt (1 t), & white pepper (1/2 t).]
African in origin, black-eyed peas are one of the most salient staples of African American cooking. They tend to cook quickly, but if they are old, it may take longer to prepare them. While canned black-eyed peas are available, I always make mine from scratch. In Southern lore black-eyed peas are thought to bring good luck when eaten in copious amounts on New Years Day. So my family slow-cooks them in a crock-pot every December 31st.
Sweet Cornmeal-Coconut Butter Drop Biscuits
Yield: about 24 biscuits
Soundtrack: “Turn Left” by Little Dragon from Little Dragon
[uo: I combined the two wheat flours & used 1 1/2 cups of gf pastry flour. My recipe below. You could also sub the Gluten Free Pantry's Pie Crust mix. In a pinch, I use that as my pastry flour]
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup medium grind cornmeal
2 tablespoons raw organic sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons chilled coconut butter
3/4 cup original unflavored rice milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a large bowl sift together the flours, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Rub the coconut butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles sand with pebbles.
Combine the rice milk, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar and mix well. Then, make a well in the center of the flour pebbles, add the rice milk, and stir just until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Drop walnut-sized balls of dough from a spoon onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.
UO Gluten Free Pastry Flour Mix
Brown Rice Flour 1 1/2 cups
Potato Starch 3 cups
Tapioca Starch 1 3/4 cup
Fine White Rice Flour 2 3/4 cups
Xanthum Gum 5 teaspoons