Goodbye to 2008, which was a very tough year for almost everyone. Dan says, "Good riddance!"
With great optimism, we say hello to 2009!
A Southern tradition for prosperity and good luck is a feast of black eyed-peas, collards and corn bread. Naturally I decided to try it. We can use all the prosperity and good luck available.
My new friend, Rosann, a Georgia native, gave me some great tips. "Flavor those black-eyed peas. They're pretty bland." So, after soaking them all day, I put them in the crock pot with onion, garlic, a chili pepper, ham hocks and lots of salt and pepper. Boy, did they smell good this morning when we got up!
The collards came in great green leafy bunches from the grocery store, freshly harvested locally. Georgia's growing season extends into winter for cold weather crops. So different from the frozen snow covered fields of New England at this time of year! Rosann said to trim the tough white stem off the greens and cut them up. Using a Martha Stewart recipe, I simmered them in broth and red pepper flakes for an hour.
Rosann, a self-proclaimed Corn Bread Queen, told me to bake the corn bread in an iron skillet in the oven. "It's the only way," she said, to get a delicious crispy crust. She told me you can add anything to corn bread: onion, cheese, chilis, even pork cracklings. I decided to stick with classic Jiffy mix today. It always comes out good.
Once the corn bread had browned in a 400 degree oven, we served up big bowls. The dish was really good, far better than it sounds. The slightly sweet corn bread complements the rich and tasty peas and greens. Crumbled in the juice is my favorite way to eat it.
Whatever you decide to do, eat and drink today, we wish you the best of fortune and good luck in 2009!