It’s that time of year — friends and family gather for reunions, dinners and parties. And, no get-together is complete without a great dish. Robert Penry is an admissions classroom presenter for the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte. He’s providing some great culinary inspirations for your holiday gatherings this year. Log on to if you missed Robert’s holiday-inspired creations in November and December.

Black-Eyed Pea Cakes

2 15 oz. cans Black-Eyed Peas, drained & rinsed
1 T. Butter
1/2 Onion, minced
1/4 C. Green Pepper, minced
1/2 Jalapeño, seeds removed, minced
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 C. Coarse Breadcrumbs (Panko)
2 Eggs
2 T. Parsley, chopped
1 t. Cumin, ground
1/2 t. Salt
1/2 t. Black Pepper
1/3 C. Cornmeal
Vegetable Oil for Frying

Method of Preparation:
1. In a medium bowl, mash half of the peas with a sturdy spoon. Gently fold in other half of the peas.
2. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Sauté onion, bell pepper, jalapeño and garlic until softened, about 7-8 minutes. Allow to cool.
3. Add breadcrumbs, eggs, parsley, cumin, salt and pepper into pea mixture.
4. Fold in sautéed vegetable mixture.
5. If the mixture is too wet, add additional breadcrumbs. If too dry, add 1 additional egg. Chill mixture for 20-30 minutes.
6. Form pea mixture into cakes about 1/2 inch thick
7. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add enough vegetable oil to coat the pan.
8. Dredge each cake in cornmeal. Fry on each side until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes.
9. Serve with garlic-chive sour cream.

Garlic-Chive Sour Cream

8 oz. Sour Cream
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1/4 C. Chives, chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 t. Salt
1 t. Black Pepper

Method of Preparation:
1. In a small bowl, mix sour cream and lemon juice.
2. Add chives, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
3. Serve with black-eyed pea cakes.