Happy New Year!
I have a strong feeling this is going to be a good year. I feel it. I wish the best for each of you with a fresh start and renewed energy, and I look forward to sharing many gorgeous and yummy things with all of you here in the next year.
Epicurous has a lovely description of lucky foods from around the world to usher in a most lucky 2010 – and Nancy, my step-grandma, cooked the Southern ones here: collard greens for lots of greenbacks and black-eyed peas for pocket change, she said! I took hasty photos with my iphone and then lost it the next day in I’m not sure which snowboarding tumble in roughly three feet of heavy powder. So no photos from me, and I have to go buy a new phone today.
I’m a midwesterner – now New Yorker – and have absolutely no instincts in my blood for real down home cooking, so it’s all new to me. When Nancy made these dishes last year, I found out that traditionally you cook collard greens with ham hock! I never knew there were dishes with meat in them that didn’t specify that there was, in fact, meat in them. My poor little non-ham-eating heart was shocked. So she substituted chicken broth for the ham for my sister and I and it may not have been strictly traditional, but it was damn good. This year, she actually started three days before, when she cooked the collard greens and then set them in a ziploc bag in the garage to keep cool and steep. Two days before, she put the black-eyed peas in a huge bowl of water to soak, and then the day of she made grits. You could make them with veggie broth just as well, for a nice vegetarian meal.
You could make this lucky New Years meal anytime during the year – nothing wrong with a little luck in April or August, presented with full New Years flair of gold and silver all over the place. Anytime you need a fresh start and a little favor with the gods, it would make a great dinner party and would be so happily different from the usual holidays at the usual times. Give everyone New Years hats and noisemakers, and celebrate each person’s rebirth in whatever way they want! It could be a lovely addition to a happiness group or to cheer someone up.