“Cornbread, Kale & Peas” Happy New Year from Uptown Soul Food

First and foremost, welcome to 2013!! We would like to wish all of our readers a warm and prosperous new year! We decided to cook up a creative rendition of a New Years dish that is thought to bring both wealth and luck to all–black eyed peas. Normally black eyed peas are served with collard greens (or mustard greens) but we decided to cook the traditional favorite with sauteed kale. We paired the dish with Turntable Kitchen‘s Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread. 

Before meal preparation began, I decided to do a little research to find out more about the New Years tradition. According to the Library of Congress, eating black-eyed peas for good luck is believed to date back to the Civil War. Brought to the West Indies by Africans in 1674, black eyed peas became a staple in the slave diet. They would eventually come to symbolize coins while greens represented paper money in the New Years tradition. It was also thought that eating cornbread represented gold. With the soulful sounds of Gary Clark, Jr. playing in the background, my first plan of action was to “veganize” the cornbread recipe…

The first task at hand was to replace traditional buttermilk with a plant-based version. To make vegan buttermilk, I added 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar to a measuring cup and filled the rest of the cup with almond milk. The recipe, which can be found at Vegan Food Addict, also works with 1 tbsp of lemon juice, lime juice or white vinegar and a plant-based milk.

Vegan Butter Milk

Vegan Buttermilk

In addition to the buttermilk, the recipe called for cornmeal, flour, almond meal*, kosher salt, runny honey, a large egg, unsalted butter and baking soda. For our purposes, we used agave nectar in place of honey, ‘Ener-G Egg Replacer’ and Earth Balance Vegan butter sticks. I was very excited to prepare this dish because it was my first time using my brand new iron skillet. Aside from the few ingredient adjustments, we followed the directions perfectly and the buttermilk skillet cornbread complemented the kale & black-eyed peas very well!

Turntable Kitchen's Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread

Turntable Kitchen’s Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread

As for the kale & and black eyed peas, we prepared it very similarly to our Red Pepper Collard Greens with Pinto Beans recipe. If you are unfamiliar with the recipe, feel free to view it here. Although using kale is not a traditional norm, we thought it would be a great way to enrich the flavor of the dish and increase it’s health appeal. As with our collards, the peas (cooked in vegetable broth and seasoned with liquid smoke) were a great replacement for popular meats that are often used in soul food recipes. I was a bit concerned that without the use of collard greens, my buttermilk skillet cornbread would miss out on a good ‘potlikker’ dipping. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, Zell Miller (The Lieutenant Governor of Georgia in 1982) defines potlikker as the liquid left in the pot after cooking greens. Fortunately, the juice left in the pot (along with seasoned vegetable broth) went well with the cornbread as well.

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Sauteed Kale w/ Black Eyed Peas & Cornbread

Sauteed Kale w/ Black Eyed Peas & Cornbread

We encourage you all to add a plant-based twist to a traditional recipe and share the results with us. We look forward to hearing about your dishes. Again, Happy New Year!!

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