Posted by: Hil | September 30, 2009

Black-eyed Peas and Birthdays


I could have sworn that I posted the recipe for black-eyed pea cakes on my blog before now, but I couldn’t seem to find it.  In any case, these are a big favorite of mine.  They have a texture that I normally associate with deep fried foods:  crispy and brown on the outside, warm and melty on the inside.  Comfort food of the highest order.  You only need three ingredients:  cooked black-eyed peas (canned is fine), finely diced bell pepper, and flour.   


To make the cakes, mash the black eyed peas with a fork or with your hands, then add enough flour so that the cakes stick together.  Season with salt and pepper and mix in the bell pepper.  You can also add minced herbs, bacon, or whatever else you have on hand.  Form the mixture into patties and dredge the patties in a bit more flour.  Cook them in a pan with a mixture of oil and butter until the outsides are brown and crisp and the inside is warmed through.  Serve immediately.

Blueberry Mom was here over the weekend for her birthday, and she requested that the festivities include fish, vegetables, good cocktails, rich (preferably chocolate) desserts, yoga and walking on the beach.  We managed to fit in all of those things by the end of the trip.

We had a fun dinner out the first day she was here.  Blueberry Mom stayed true to her desire for seafood and ordered a halibut cevice with mango and chilies followed by seared tuna with fresh vegetables.  I had bites of both and was very impressed.


I opted for roasted corn soup (to die for) followed by duck confit with a vinegary frisee salad.  Duck confit is more or less duck leg poached slowly in its own fat.  I think of it as the French version of carnitas, although I suspect that the French would object to such a characterization.  Every now and then, I get the most terrible craving for duck.  I never want to eat very much of it at a time, but it’s incredibly easy (and yummy) to use in leftovers, so its worth it to order.


My favorite way to use up the leftovers is shredded and crisped over toast or spinach and topped with a fried egg…a perfect brunch dish.  It’s also excellent in a salad with orange wedges.


For dessert, we shared a warm sticky toffee cake with marscapone creme.  This thing is amazing and rich and we both dived right into it before either of us remembered to take a picture.  The key is to get bites that have as much of the gooey toffee outside as possible, with a bit of the cream to cut the sweetness.  Yum.


As requested, Blueberry Mom’s birthday began with yoga, followed by espresso and scones.


For her birthday dinner, we ate in.  We made grilled swordfish rubbed with garlic, lemon zest, time and rosemary, sauteed rainbow chard, and grilled pineapple.  None of us were feeling particularly hungry that evening, so we opted to allow the pineapple to serve as dessert.  I highly recommend pineapple prepared in this way!  We topped it with honey mixed with chili paste, which made for an amazing sweet-spicy combination.


I couldn’t very well let Blueberry Mom go home without any chocolate, so I made molten chocolate lava cakes the next day.  They stuck to the containers a bit, but you can’t go too wrong with gooey chocolate and whipped cream.


In other news, I persuaded the Lemonator to come to a yoga class with me, and he is now hooked.  He told me for ages that he was too inflexible to do yoga, but after trying it, he discovered that that wasn’t true.  I am happy to have a yoga buddy, and he is happy to have discovered the fun melty-relaxed feeling that you get at the end of a yoga class.  Sounds like a win-win to me.



  1. That birthday dinner looks fantastic!

  2. I”ve never had black eyed peas….don’t even know how to use them! your dinner looks so great!!!

  3. Thanks for the black eyed pea “burger” recipe! I can’t wait to try it out.

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