I’ve never been a superstitious person. I like black cats (except my mom’s), and I far from freak out when they cross my path. I walked under a ladder tonight and didn’t think twice about it, but maybe that was because we were being handy and using our newly procured drill – I was overcome with excitement. I’ve broken a couple of mirrors in my lifetime, and most certainly have not had 7 years of bad luck.
In fact, there have been quite a few good years. Luck or not, I specifically think 2010 has been a pretty good one.
Speaking of luck, I’ve never been a big fan of black eyed peas. Word on the street, at least down South, is that a black eye pea-containing dish on New Year’s day will bring good luck for the rest of the year. My mom was (probably still is) an annual cowpea eater; the plastic bag of dried peas sat in the door of our fridge, opened but half-full, for months. I never ate them – for whatever reason, a saucepan of peas never looked, or smelled, appealing to me.
But this year, I figured what the hell. I came across a recipe that sparked my interest, and rather than making the dish at the end of November, I decided I may as well make it at the end of December, and eat the leftovers New Year’s Day. I mean, I’m not superstitious or anything, but still – may as well eat them on the “right” day, no?!
Meanwhile, I plan to open a few umbrellas indoors, step on a couple of cracks, spill some salt (but not in someone’s shoes), and maybe even go to sleep with my hair wet.
Despite all of those things, I have a good feeling about 2011. It’s gonna be somethin’, that’s for sure. So stay tuned .
Hoppin’ John (or Skippin’ Jenny, depending on when you eat it)
loosely adapted from Cooking Light, December 2010; serves 8
time commitment: 1.5 hours (30 minutes active time), plus soaking the beans overnight
i added a little more liquid than was needed, and my hoppin’ john was a little, er, soupy, but i actually liked it. however, once the liquid disappeared, I have to say it was better without, so i’ve adjusted below to reflect that. i also upped the spiciness a little (ok, a lot) and tossed in some butternut squash, because I had some. feel free to leave it out if you want.
1 1/2 c dried black-eyed peas
2 t olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small poblano pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano pepper, minced
1/2 t smoked paprika
1/2 t ground cumin
2 1/2 c reduced sodium chicken/turkey broth
3/4 t dried thyme
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t salt
2 T hot pepper sauce (Frank’s), plus more at end to taste
6 oz (~2 links) andouille sausage, cut into thin slices
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 bay leaf
2 c butternut squash, cut into 1/2″ cubes, optional
1 c uncooked long-grain brown rice
1/4 c thinly sliced green onions
Wash black eyed peas, tossing peas that appear discolored; place in a large bowl. Cover with water to 2 inches above peas; soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and next 4 ingredients (through serrano); sauté 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in smoked paprika and cumin; saute 1 minute. Add peas, broth, and next 7 ingredients (through bay leaf), stirring to combine. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 50 minutes or until peas are tender. Toss butternut squash, if using, into pot at the end, for about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
Meanwhile, make rice according to package instructions. Fluff rice with a fork, and stir into pea mixture. Top with green onions and more hot sauce, if desired.