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January 9, 2010

Spicy Collard and Black-Eyed Pea Soup, and Happy New Year!

I realized this morning that it is already January 9, and I haven't wished you a Happy New Year yet! Punctuality was never my strong point. In fact, I did not get around to making a black-eyed pea dish until January 5, which I might add, is the same night that I packed up the Christmas decor. So naturally this blog post would come a few days after that, that is just how things operate around here. It's a good thing that you are a very forgiving crowd!

I was very spoiled this Christmas, and my kitchen is a much better place for it. I finally got a replacement hand mixer for the one that broke back in October. I also received several cookbooks, a digital kitchen scale, new cookie sheets and muffin pans, and my favorite gift of all, my first pressure cooker! I was inspired to get one by the amazing archive of pressure cooker recipes on FatFree Vegan Kitchen.

First I tried the Yellow Split-Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale. After sauteeing the onion and spices you mix in all of the rest of the ingredients (less the kale) and cook under high pressure for 8 minutes. Just 8 minutes! Without a pressure cooker this recipe calls for an hour of simmering to break down the yellow peas. I am already in love with this rapid cooking method.

While the yellow split-pea soup was great, Susan really struck gold with the Spicy Collard and Black-Eyed Pea Soup. There are also traditional stove top instructions included, so if you do not own a pressure cooker, don't let that stop you from trying this!

Spicy Collard and Black-Eyed Pea Soup
(from FatFree Vegan Kitchen)

2 onions, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 cup diced green bell pepper
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups dried black-eyed peas, picked over and rinsed
6 cups water
1 pound collard greens, tough stems removed and greens chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme (divided)
1 teaspoon oregano (divided)
1 16-ounce can tomatoes (fire-roasted preferred)
2 cups water (or vegetable broth)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper -- (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 -2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
1 tablespoon double strength tomato paste (or 2 tbsp. regular)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Spray a pressure cooker or large pot with a light coating of olive oil or non-stick spray. (If your pot is non-stick, just add a little water instead.) Heat it and add the onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until they begin to brown. Add the celery, green pepper, and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 3 more minutes.

Add the black-eyed peas, water, 1 teaspoon of the thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon of oregano.

If using a pressure cooker, seal the cooker and cook for 10 minutes after it reaches high pressure; use a quick-release method to bring down the pressure.

If cooking in a regular pot, cook until peas are tender, about 45-55 minutes.
Once the peas are tender, add all remaining ingredients and cook for at least 25 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Serve with brown rice with additional hot sauce. (Garnishing with fresh oregano is optional.)

I have so enjoyed reading your recaps on 2009 over the past week, so I thought I would include one of my own. When I look back at the last twelve months what comes to mind first is traveling. I was fortunate enough to take three amazing trips this year. I have mentioned my two most recent trips which were to New York City and Las Vegas, but I never had the opportunity to share about my trip to China, because that was before I started the blog. In late March my good friend Becca and I went to China for 2 weeks. We started in the north and worked our way south, from Beijing, to Shanghai, and ending in Hong Kong. This was easily my most memorable experience of 2009, so I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite pictures with you.



Hong Kong



2009 was a great year, but what I could have never predicted was that joining the food blogging community would be one of the highlights. I started this blog in May, and looking through those first few months it is staggering how far I have come in my culinary experience. I am so pleased with everything that I have learned from you by reading your blogs, and I thank you so much for reading mine and taking this journey with me.

I'll leave you with a list of some of my absolute favorite recipes of 2009, because it wouldn't be a proper recap without it!
Fiery Tofu Marinade, Ginger-Miso Yam Wraps, Chunky Carrot and Squash Soup, Vegan Huevos Rancheros, Spicy Mexi-Meatlessball Soup, Posole Stew, Pumpkin Cupcakes, Matar Paneer.

Happy 2010 friends!


  1. WOW! Very impressive, from the photos of china (so envious!) to your favorite recipes of the year. I need to scroll through more of you stuff. So excited, thanks for this post!

  2. happy new year - you have come a long way since starting the blog - well I have quite a few recipes of yours bookmarked and love your photos - you are making a great contribution to the blogosphere - look forward to seeing where it takes you in 2010

  3. Happy new year! I can tell I'm going to have to look up what collard greens are - everyone has been posting new year's recipes with them in.

  4. Hey there! I just found your blog, and I'm excited to keep reading-- all of this looks great!

    Happy 2010!

  5. Really great pictures!

    I am a soup fanatic, both of these look really tasty! YUM!

  6. Happy New Year to you too.

    Love the photos!

    You know what made me smile, I just bought myself a pressure cooker too. Yay! Thanks for the heads up on where to find some good recipes.

  7. happy new year to you, too! yay!

    hooooray for all the fantastical christmas gifts - especially the pressure cooker. that rocks so hard! susan's soup looks most excellent, i need to try it, fo 'sho! thanks for sharing your favorite recipes with us, and all the gorgeous photos too. :)

  8. HK looks is one of the next places I want to visit.

    I am quite partial to your mattar paneer being half-Indian! It looks great!

  9. Congratulations on the pressure cooker. I think you will love it. I adore mine.

    Great pics of China. You have a great eye for composition.

    Happy New Year to you too!

  10. Happy New Year Sarah!

    My mum has a pressure cooker, but I have never used it. I am scared of the hissing beast!

    Fab photos by the way :)

  11. The soups sound great! I love soups all year round, and spicy ones sound very interesting. Lovely pics of China, too. Happy New Year to you, too.

  12. Happy new year! I haven't taken down our Christmas tree yet... I've never used or been around a pressure cooker. I didn't realize how quickly they cooked! Lots of yummy food you made this past year!

  13. Happy New Year! Hope this one is full of health and happiness for you and your loved ones. :)

    Seriously beautiful photos... I went to China ages ago, and now I'm longing to return!

  14. What an amazing trip! I am quite jealous, as I hope to get there someday! happy 2010!

  15. Awesome photos!
    I have a pressure cooker and yet never think to use it. Thanks for the recipe and the reminder!

  16. Happy New Year to you too! I'm very impressed with this amazing post! I'm so happy for you about the pressure cooker, it sounds fantastic!
    I've never been to China before, these photos look so amazing. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful momory of 2009!

  17. Happy New Year, Sarah! Loved your backward glance with words and photos--loved seeing a glimpse of your time in Beijing! I dream of visiting China too. Beautiful dishes shared today--yum! Your cooking inspires me, and I'm so glad to have found your blog the tail end of 2009 and look forward to more food fun here with you. Oh, big news--I'm starting a new foodie blog--I will launch this weekend! A link from my main blog will lead the way. Stop by if you get a chance. Wishing you all best in 2010! :o)

  18. China!? no way. Next time I'm going with you. Also, that pain au chocolat is from Vegan Brunch- oops I'm sorry! But I checked VB out from the local library, so maybe you can too? And next time I'm BAKING the chile cornmeal tofu, cause I have got to get rid of my holiday season belly pooch.

  19. love the pictures! i know i've seen them before but they're still so neat to see. you did a wonderful recap of it.

    i'm so excited i also got a kitchen scale for Christmas! yippee!

    and i am sooo glad you are enjoying the blogging experience so much! you definitely have a really great blog, so happy for you, friend! :)

  20. Oh!!! I don't know who you are, but I've just discovered your blog and when I saw those Hong Kong photos I almost swooned. In both 2008 and 2009 I was fortunate enough to spend time there, and I must have gone to all the same places you did. From the vegetarian restaurant at the Big Buddha to the harbor at night... I promise I'm not stalking you :) Thanks for the good memories. I was too hot when I was there in August; what I wouldn't give for a little of that heat right now!

  21. There is only one thing better than shopping in Hong Kong, and that's eating. From small noodle joints to upscale French restaurant, you will locate all sorts of restaurant, eating hall and snack stall on earth in Hong Kong. Here I found small amount of Hong-Kong-styled snacks online ( This is definitely a good choice before I have $ for another trip.


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