Sunday, January 2, 2011

It's a New Year!

Hello everyone! In case you missed it we are, in fact, beginning an entirely new year. 2011 to be exact. And, as you have probably figured out by now if you browse through this blog, I am from the south (south-east, Appalachia to be precise), and I had to celebrate this new year in Southern eyed peas and collard greens! Black peas are a traditional New Year's meal in this region, and symbolize good luck and prosperity for the new year. Greens, eaten along with black eyed peas, symbolize folding money, and enhance the prosperity capabilities of the peas. This tradition has apparently been in this area for about 300 years, though black eyed peas have been eaten throughout India and Africa for thousands of years. So, there you have some history and magic, now, onto the recipes!!

Hoppin' John

1 pound dried black-eyed peas
2 medium onions, minced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup long-grain white rice
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1-2 chile peppers, diced
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, minced
3-4 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 green onions, sliced
Liquid smoke (4-5 dashes)

 Prepare your dried black eyed peas by soaking them in water the night before, or by covering them in water and boiling them for 2 minutes, simmering for 15, and then letting them sit for 1 hour. After they have soaked for 1 hour, drain and rinse them, then return them to their pot, cover them in about 1" of water, boil them for 2 minutes, and then let them simmer for 2-4 hours (until they are soft).  Or you can purchase canned or pre-soaked black eyed peas.

In a pan, heat some oil and add the minced garlic and onions. Let this cook for a few minutes.
Add the black eyed peas, cover in water (only slightly) and let them boil for about 20 minutes.
While they are boiling, prepare your rice (boil 1 cup of rice in 2 cups of water, then let it simmer on low until the water is gone)
Once most of the water has boiled out of the peas, add the rest of your ingredients, seasonings and the rice. You may add more or less of anything according to your taste.  Let them simmer a couple of minutes longer, and then serve.

You may find a recipe for collard greens here.

Now, you will need some delicious cornbread to finish off your meal. Below is a recipe that I found once upon a time, and cannot remember where it is from. But it is vegan, amazingly moist, and always makes the perfect cornbread.

Vegan Jalapeno Cornbread

1 1/2 cup of soy or almond milk
2 tsp of  lemon juice
1 2/3 cups of flour
1 cup of cornmeal
4 tsp of baking powder
3/4 tsp of salt
1 jalapeno, minced
2 cups of sweet cream corn
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1/2 cup of syrup

Preheat the oven to 375
In one bowl mix the soy/almond milk and lemon juice.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and jalapenos
Mix 1 cup of sweet cream corn with the syrup, then add the soy/almond milk mixture to this.
Now, mix in the flour mixture, and stir well.
Grease a baking dish, and bake for about 25 minutes.
Spread the remaining 1 cup of corn on top of the cornbread, and bake 5-10 more minutes.
(note: baking time may be longer, the first time I made this cornbread I had to bake it about 45 minutes, as it turns out very moist, the second time took only 30, so check the consistency with a toothpick after 25 minutes and decide how much longer to bake it from there)
Let it cool for about 7 minutes, then cut and serve!

Wishing wealth, health, luck, and good will to all! Happy New Year!