Thursday, March 1, 2012

mississippi muse

When I was a teenager I had my first (and last) taste of real caviar. My mother and I were staying at a beautiful bed and breakfast that was in a historic home in Natchez, Mississippi. The stay came complete with an afternoon wine and cheese hour. I was allowed to indulge in a small flute of champagne and all the cheese and crackers I could stuff into my mouth. Sitting on a peach satin couch amongst beautiful antiques and strangers, I decided to be adventurous and grown up, sophisticated even. I was going to eat caviar. After the first bite, I almost vomited in my mouth. To my surprise caviar tasted like fish eggs. It was all I could do to swallow the speckle covered cracker and then chug my champagne to rinse out my mouth. Never again I vowed!

And, then upon the birth of my son caviar came calling again. My oldest friend - who also happens to live in Mississippi - saved my by bringing me tons of food. Soup, sandwiches, chips, and something called "Mississippi Caviar." As you might imagine, my inner teen immediately had a visceral reaction to the idea. However, I was starving. Taking care of a kid was just days old to me and I needed calories to keep up with the little milk sucker. And since I hadn't learned how to get dressed and deal with all the diapers, much less cook, I was delighted to see anything - even something called caviar. As it turns out this version had no fish eggs at all - or gag inducing taste. Just a wonderful protein packed mix of black eyed peas and peppers. Ever since then I have sworn I would figure out how to make my own version. Well, here it i:

Mix together two drained cans of black eyed peas, half of a green bell pepper diced, one roasted and marinated red bell pepper diced, one quarter of a red onion finely chopped, half a cup of sweet and spicy peppers (find these in the pickle aisle), and one mince garlic clove. Next mix in a splash of olive oil and a quarter cup of red wine vinegar, and a tablespoon of dijon mustard. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste. Stir together and let chill for at least thirty minutes in the fridge. You can serve this awesome dip alone with tortilla chips or add in some avocado chunks and you have a full lunch.

Mississippi you have redeemed yourself...and caviar...sort of.


  1. This looks lovely, thanks a lot for sharing this and I might try this for the weekend!

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