Evan Daily wants to improve the environment; so when he opened Evan’s at 3939 Montrose in Houston the week of Earth Day 1990, he took steps beyond using recycled-paper menus and business cards. At Evan’s, organic produce and chemical-free meats are the basis of the meal, not just food for thought.

Chef Kathy Ruiz has developed a global cuisine, which also includes regional herbs and spices and sulfite-free wines, but she hasn’t neglected the familiar. Her deep-dish black-eyed pea pie—with layers of cornbread, peas, greens, and mashed potatoes—is a comfort-food recipe sure to bring good luck on New Year’s Day.

Black-Eyed Pea Pie

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups dried black-eyed peas
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon finely ground white pepper
1 bay leaf
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 ham bone (optional)
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 bunches collards or mustard greens, destemmed
Cornbread (recipe below)
4 cups mashed potatoes

In soup pot, combine stock, peas, 1 cup onion, pepper, bay leaf, jalapeño, ham bone, and half the garlic. Boil 5 minutes over high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours. Drain, reserving liquid.

Fill saucepan with water. Add greens and remaining onion and garlic. Boil 6 to 10 minutes, until greens are wilted. Drain, reserving liquid. Tear greens into small pieces.

To assemble: Crumble cornbread, and pack 1 inch deep in bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Top with layer of peas, then layer of greens. Alternate peas and greens until pan is almost full. Spread mashed potatoes on top, and brush lightly with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees until set. Combine reserved liquids, and use as optional sauce. Note: This recipe is a good way to use leftover cornbread and mashed potatoes. Serves 4 to 6.


1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon butter
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1/4 cup chopped pimento
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
3 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sauté onion in butter. Remove from heat, and add jalapeños, corn, and pimento. Mix dry ingredients in bowl. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Combine corn and liquid mixtures, then add to dry ingredients. Don’t overmix. Bake in greased 9-by-9-inch pan, 25 to 30 minutes. Note: Stale cornbread works well in black-eyed pea pie, so make cornbread a few days ahead of time.