Photo Copyright Sandra A. Gutierrez, 2015; All Rights Reserved.
As I look back on these past twelve months, my heart fills with gratitude. It is hard not to be thankful for a year that saw the birth of two very well-received cookbooks, countless trips where I met so many of you, and many sold-out cooking classes filled with amazing students. A year in which my first online class launched and that brought forth myriad interviews on television, radio, and print. For all of this I thank you from the bottom of my heart: for coming along on this adventure with me, for welcoming me into your kitchens, and for letting me pull up a virtual chair to your tables.
Looking forward to a new year with a blank slate waiting to be written on is always exciting. I’m not one for making many resolutions. Rather, I prefer to make lists of goals. The idea of making promises with so much of an unknown is not something I feel comfortable doing any more. Rather, I prefer to plan, to set targets, and to visualize objectives. It seems a bit more humble and enables me to remain honest.
Among my intentions is one to become more engaged with you through social media. For this reason, I’d like to invite you to join me on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. You’ll find all of the thumbnails for these under my photo on the Home page of this site; simply click on those to follow me, to meet my friends, colleagues, and people I admire.
Also, I look forward to reading your comments on this blog, so please feel free to leave yours below my posts. I’d like to find out what kinds of recipes you’d like me to share with you, which ingredients you’re looking forward to cooking with in 2016, and what new Latin flavors intrigue you the most. Would you like to learn to make a homemade version of Peruvian rotisserie chicken, or are you more interested in discovering how to bake Chilean desserts? Are you one who longs for quick and easy meals with Latin flair for weekday meals, or do you pine for slow cooked recipes for leisurely weekends? Let’s talk about it. Together, we can continue to discover Latin American food, one dish at a time.
So as we say goodbye to the old year and welcome the New Year, I leave you with a simple yet modern take on ceviche. This one is made with purple hull peas (members of the vigna unguiculata family), which like any member of the black-eyed peas (or cowpeas) are considered lucky to eat at the start of each year. You may substitute any kind of southern pea or bean in this recipe.
I also invite you to check out my friend, celebrity chef and author Virginia Willis’ website for two great recipes for Hoppin’ John, traditionally enjoyed on New Year's Day in the South.
I wish you all a beautiful 2016 filled with joy, peace, and wonderful recipes.
1 pound fresh/frozen purple-eyed or black-eyed peas
¾ cup lime juice
½ cup minced white onion
½ cup minced Italian parsley
2-3 teaspoons ají amarillo paste* (to taste)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the peas in a large pot; cover them with cold water and set the pot over medium-high heat. Bring the water to a rolling boil and skim off the foam that rises to the surface. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer the peas for 40-45 minutes or until they are fork tender (longer for beans, about 1 to 1 ½ hours). In a large bowl, combine the peas, lime juice, onion, parsley, ají amarillo paste, salt, and pepper; stir to combine well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight. Serve in bowls.
*Note: Ají amarillo (capsicum baccatum) is a Peruvian yellow pepper known also as ají limón; its flavor is very fruity and it has a medium heat level. You can find the paste in many Latin grocery stores and online. In lieu of this paste, substitute with a few splashes of your favorite hot sauce (add a little at a time so as not too make it too spicy-hot).