I am happy to report that one of the main components of this dip/spread, the rosa bianca eggplant, was purchased at my farmers' market from a grower out of Lake Wales (approximately forty-five-minutes from my Orlando home). The black-eyed peas, however, I am not sure about. I bought them at Publix, which is one of the most popular grocery chains down here in the Southeast. The label claimed they were "distributed by Publix Supermarkets/Lakeland, FL." On the one hand, there is a good possibility that they were grown in Lakeland; many of the chain's generic products are. But if they weren't... do I really want to support that kind of local-washing? Not to mention the fact that Publix is a far-reaching corporation; a shopper in Tennessee can purchase the very same beans that I can. Which I definitely don't support. When you spend money on produce, it should go back into your community, not into the pocket of a CEO thousands of miles from you.
The only sure way to avoid inadvertently contributing your dollars to this practice is to grow it your damned self. My husband and I have decided on a tentative design for our backyard garden, which is based on the mandala model he read about in The Permaculture Home Garden by Linda Woodrow. However, it will also make use of aquaponics, a principle we are currently learning from Toolbox for Sustainable City Living, which I mentioned a few days ago in this post. (So far it's a fascinating read... will have the book review up soon!)
I cannot tell you how badly I am geeking out over this. Someday soon I will be using my own black-eyed peas in this recipe. No more dependence on big chains. No more wussiness. Only tasty, tasty baba ganoush.
Baba Ganoush Floridian with Black-Eyed Peas and Rosa Bianca Eggplant
1 medium rosa bianca eggplant, cubed
1 1/2 c. fresh or reconstituted dried black-eyed peas
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, pressed
1 Tbsp. tahini
1/3 c. plain yogurt (whole milk or oikos)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 425. Salt eggplant cubes and roast in a single layer on a nonstick surface for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, simmer the black-eyed peas in water or stock over medium heat until soft. They should be done around the same time as the eggplant. Let both cool completely before proceeding.
Drain the beans, reserving 2 Tbsp. liquid. Place all ingredients, including reserved bean liquid, in a food processor and process until well-blended but still thick. Complements crudites, pita triangles, toasts, and other appetizer foods; also makes a delicious sandwich spread. Black-eyed peas loooove spice, so try sauteing a chopped or sliced jalapeno with onions or garlic as a topping. Serves 6-8.
Beat the eggs. Whip the cream. Show no mercy.