Monday, February 01, 2016

Soul Food Potluck, February 1, 2016

My cookbook discussion group focused on soul food this month, discussing 2 books on the subject. One was more of a cookbook, with lots of pretty pictures and great family stories and a focus on healthier recipes, called Soul Food Love by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams. I was not much of a fan of the recipes, although the black-eyed pea hummus I made was awesome (I made the Southern hummus, as well, but didn't love that), but the stories were interesting and I thought it was really cool that the authors are related to the poet Arna Bontemps. Most of the dishes folks brought came from this cookbook. The consensus was that this food is not our idea of soul food, not even a lighter version of could food (I mean, flan? Really? Baba ganoush? Cucumber soup?) Here's my version of the black-eyed pea hummus recipe. I took pita chips to go with it, but I think veggies, pretzels, or hard breadsticks would be great with this.

Black-Eyed Pea Hummus
15 oz. can black-eyed peas, drained
4 large cloves garlic
2 tbsp. peanut butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp. paprika (Spanish smoked paprika, if you can get it)
Salt & pepper
1/4 c. olive oil

Put peas & garlic in a food processor or blender. Whirl until garlic is finely chopped & evenly distributed. Whirl peanut butter into the mixture. Add lemon juice, paprika, salt, & pepper and whirl to a smooth paste. Slowly pour in olive oil with motor running & keep going until smooth (I actually just dumped it in all at once since I was using my mini processor, which has no chute, & it was fine). Adjust seasonings. I served this with pita chips, but it would be great with veggies, pretzels, regular pita bread. It makes 2 cups.

The other book was Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine by Adrian Miller. It was much more of a textbook, but it was fascinating. I didn't have a chance to read the whole thing in time for the meeting, so I have renewed it and will be reading more. 

Other dishes people brought included:
2 versions of African chickpea soup
Peanut chicken stew
Shrimp stew
2 versions of greens
Fiery green beans
Jugged pears with Greek yogurt (poached, a 24-hour recipe)
Oven-fried chicken
Candied carrots
2 versions of an herby (rosemary, parsley, thyme) mac & cheese
Candied carrots
Banana pudding

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