Happy New Year to all. As usual, Susan and I did not make it to the magic hour. We did sip some sparkling white wine (Gruet made in New Mexico, so they’re not allowed to call it champagne. But it’s made by the champagne method, and it’s what the internet claims that Jacques Pepin drinks, so we enjoyed the evening.) And we lasted until 10:45.
In the meantime, Carol and her family went to a quiet gathering with another family. Even the kids made it past midnight. I’ve already seen the ball drop in Times Square enough times, and it is never different from year to year.
This morning, Carol wanted to christen her new oven that was installed just yesterday. She elected to make bagels, which are favorites of her family. Besides, the kids can help with the process.
She used the recipe from Bernard Clayton’s book, New Book of Breads, and got up early to have the dough rising while everyone else slept.
When the dough had risen, she formed it into 12 bagel shapes, dunked them in the water bath, drained them, arranged them on baking sheets, topped them with egg wash along with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, caraway seeds, or salt, and then baked them successfully in her new oven.
There were enough bagels so that everyone had two – a great way to welcome in the new year.
It is the custom in the US South to eat black-eyed peas and cabbage on New Year’s Day, one for good luck and one for wealth. Some believe that not to eat these dishes will result in the opposite effect, bad luck and poverty.
Our family lived in Louisiana to get into the custom, even though we didn’t really believe the superstition. The habit has persisted even though we have lived outside the South for many years. There must be lots of other former Southern citizens in our Southwest community, because canned and frozen black-eyed peas are always sold out days before New Year’s Eve.
There are many versions of cooked black-eyed peas which qualify as good luck charms the New Year: Hoppin’ John, Texas caviar, black-eyed pea vinaigrette, and plain ol’ Southern black-eyes. The following recipe borrows from all of those classics. Likewise, the cabbage dish is an update of plain old boiled cabbage.
It may be too late for you to get your protection for 2013, but hold onto the recipes for next year. In the meantime, HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Uncooked dried black-eyed peas
Fresh tomatoes and other vegetables added to the beans for the final simmer
Serving of New Year’s Day black-eyed peas
Napa cabbage, red onions and mushrooms ready for the braise
Dill fronds for the dilled yogurt sauce
Dilled yogurt sauce
Serving of napa cabbage, red onions, and mushrooms topped with dilled yogurt sauce
Good-Luck Black-Eyed Peas
- 3 strips bacon
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
- water for cooking peas
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles
- 3 ounces Canadian bacon, large dice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 or more dashes Tabasco sauce
- Fry the bacon in a small pan over medium heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels and transfer the bacon drippings to a heavy-bottomed soup pot.
- Over medium heat, put the chopped onion in the soup pot, cover, and sweat for 5 minutes until translucent and softened
- Add the peas and enough water to completely cover the peas. Bring to the boil and then reduce to the simmer, covered, for 1½ to 2 hours or until the peas are tender.
- Add the bell pepper, celery, tomatoes, and green chiles. Stir in the Canadian bacon. Continue to simmer for 30 minutes more or until the tomatoes are cooked down.
- Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and Tabasco
- Serve in wide-brimmed soup bowls.
Braised Napa Cabbage, Red Onions and Mushrooms with Dilled Greek Yogurt
- 1 small napa cabbage cut in half lengthwise
- 1 medium red onion sliced in thin crosswise rounds
- 6 cremeni mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ½ cup dry white wine
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup minced dill fronds
- Combine the cabbage, onion, mushrooms, chicken stock, wine, salt, and pepper in an oven-proof covered pan
- Over medium-high flame, bring the pan to a boil, cover, and then transfer to the middle of an oven pre-heated to 250°F
- Braise the vegetables for 60 minutes or until they are tender. Check frequently, and add water if needed
- In the meantime, combine the yogurt and dill in a small bowl. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Chill in the refrigerator while the vegetables are braising to bring out the dill flavor.
- Drain the cooked vegetables and serve with yogurt SAUCE.
If you wish, serve the black-eyed peas with cooked rice, along with cornbread on the side for dipping.