Let our New Year's resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word. --Goran PerssonHappy New Year, friends! We wish you abundant blessings of peace, love, and prosperity for the New Year.
We'll celebrate, today, with a mixed bag of traditions, hoping to cover all of the bases in this Yankee-meets-Southern Girl-home.
Since my very first year as a young homemaker, with nothing more than a Southern Living Annual Recipe collection to guide me, I've been churning out Hopping John, made of the black-eyed peas considered good luck for their resemblance to coins, every New Year's Day. The recipe has changed a bit over the years, but the basic premise is the same, and I'm not sure where the original recipe is, anymore. Every year, even the year I spent in Pittsburgh, where black-eyed peas were so scarce that my in-laws had to visit 3 stores for what they were quite suspicious of, knowing 'cowpeas' only as animal feed. Though I'm a bit under the weather, this year will be no exception.
Chopped onion,celery, carrot, and garlic will be sauteed in grapeseed oil, to which blanched frozen black-eyed peas (or cowpeas) from late summer's crop will be added, along with long grain rice, smoked ham hocks, homemade chicken stock, and spices. Covered and simmered until rice and peas are tender, they will wait patiently on the stove as the remaining cast of culinary characters are prepared.
With a nod to my husband's family traditions, we will have pork and sauerkraut, the chunks of picnic ham leftover from Christmas nestled in a bed of homemade kraut, that, save for a few hotdogs, has been kept fermented, in cold storage, just for today. It will be sauteed with sweet onion, caraway seed, and juniper berries in a few pats of butter, with just about a teaspoon of brown sugar tossed in, to keep things interesting.
Collard greens, cabbage, and any other greens at all, are all mentioned in Southern cooking as signifying folded money, so we'll have a mixed greens salad, pulling together the collards and arugula still growing, and tossing it with a simple citrus vinaigrette. Maybe some of the candied cranberries I put up over the holidays. If I had blue cheese, I might just sneak a little into that salad, too.
We'll finish it all off with a steaming buttery chunk of cracklin' cornbread, and share a resolution or two over our meal. I certainly love the resolutions of Goran Persson, above, and Helen Keller, below. This year, I can't really identify any burning originally-wrought resolutions of my own. Most years, I have a laundry list of ways I'm going to be less me, but come about March, I'm just as me as always. Maybe this year I'm just okay with me. I'd like to be a tad more disciplined, I'd like to get more exercise, I'd like to get this house organized. I'd like to let go of some things.
I think I'll resolve to take it one step at a time.
So, I'd love to hear. What do you resolve to do or not do in 2013? And how are you ringing in this bright shiny new year?
Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.--Helen Keller