Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Hawthornes' New Year's Day Meal.

Being a Southerner to the nth degree
requires a certain amount of culinary responsibility
and upholding of gastronomic traditions.

New Year's Day typically entails
a traditional "lucky" meal celebrating
a community of family and friends
bound by grateful hearts and renewed hopes
for the year to come.

Black-eyed peas, greens, cornbread,
and pig, in some form,
are Southern New Year's classics,
and all but guarantee a prosperous New Year.
According to lore,
the greens represent dollar bills,
 the peas, coins, or looking to the future,
 the cornbread, gold,
and the pig is said, by some, to symbolize a wallet,
and by others,  progress, as the pig roots forward as he eats,
embracing challenges.
All combine to create good luck and wealth in the new year.

Legend has it that the tradition of eating black-eyed peas
 dates back to the Civil War.
As Sherman's troops stormed and pillaged across the South,
they ignored the fields of black-eyed peas,
thinking they were food for the livestock
and had no value otherwise.
These humble, nutrient-rich foods-
 black-eyed peas and greens -
served an important role as a major food source,
enabling the Confederates to survive during hard times.
The peas and greens were considered lucky foods,
perhaps because a certain kind of luck, indeed,
was needed to create bounty out of struggle and winter's scarcity.

That said,
the Hawthornes are taking no chances
and making a home run
with black-eyed peas, collards, cornbread, and pig.

First, my black-eyed peas.
 About 2 cups cooked black-eyed peas
1 celery stalk
1/2 red onion
1 large garlic clove
6-8 strips bacon (More bacon is never wrong.)

I rinsed off the peas
and simmered them for about 20- 25 minutes in salted water.
Drain and set aside.

My pig is in the form of bacon.

Fry it up crisply and slowly.
Drain on paper towels.
Pour out all but about two tablespoons of the bacon grease.

This is Beau's favorite part!

Add in the chopped celery and onion
and minced garlic.
Cook for a minute or two.

Add in the beans.

I had some homemade salsa which I poured in.
A can of Rotel tomatoes and chilies could substitute.

Heat through and crumble bacon over top.

Black-eyed peas done.
Ideally, for optimum luck and prosperity,
one should eat 365 peas.

Next up,
my cornbread.
Grease one of those little corn ear cast iron pans,
leaving about 2 TB shortening in one of the ears.
Place in oven and heat to 425 degrees.

Prepare the cornbread while oven and pan are heating.
The melted shortening goes in last.

Rosie's Corn Sticks

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 TB melted shortening

Sift the dry ingredients -
cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cayenne, and salt.

Combine egg and buttermilk.
Mix well.

Pour buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients.

Stir in hot melted shortening.



Spoon batter into prepared pan.

I had a little leftover.

Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.

Turn out onto rack.
Have plenty of butter on hand to slather on these.

Now for the greens.
I have mustard greens,
two types of kale, turnip greens, and beet greens.

 For my greens,
I needed to walk no farther than my backyard.

Wash extremely well.

Lay leaves in single layer on kitchen towels.

Blot dry.

Turn leaves over and blot totally dry.
I'll be making crisp chips out of the leaves,
so I need to get every bit of moisture off them.

If there's any moisture,
the leaves will steam and not become crispy.

I drizzled with an Extra Virgin olive oil.

Drizzle liberally.

Toss by hand to thoroughly coat leaves.

Place in oven and bake at 300 degrees 15-20 minutes.
Turn leaves over.

Bake about 30 more minutes,
until leaves are crisp.

Drain on paper towels.

Now is the time to salt the leaves.
 Freshly ground sea salt.

Never salt the leaves before baking.
Salt brings out moisture
and the leaves would steam and not be crisp.
Salt AFTER baking.

These are so delicate
and they rustle like fall leaves.

They're like green potato chips.
And just as addictive.



 Reminds me of stained glass.

 The Hawthornes deliciously welcome the new year
with greens, black-eyed peas, and cornbread.

Happy New Year's, everyone.
May you all enjoy a healthy and prosperous New Year.


Lea said...

It does look lucky! And delicious!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

I don't know about lucky, but it was delicious. Green chips are the best!