New Years Lucky Lunch & Resolution

This year, I brought in the new year with some of my best girl friends from college.  We were very lucky to all be together for an entire weekend in Asheville, NC.  We decided to make a big traditional lunch on New Years Day, which gave me the perfect opportunity to start my New Years Resolution.

A “traditional” southern new years is to have pork, collard greens and black eye peas.  Pork symbolizes progress, greens symbolize money / dollar bills, and peas symbolize MORE money / coins!  Check out this article by epicurious.

My resolution this year was to eat more veggies!  I have done a lot of cooking over the last two years, but with very little focus on the stuff that we should all be eating every single day.  SO, 2011 is the year of the vegetable.  I’m going to focus on trying to eat classic veggies using classic recipes, and I’m also going to venture into not-so-common veggies and new creative recipes.

Before new years day, I had never made collard greens or hoppin’ john.  I really haven’t ever particularly cared for collard greens either.  BUT, I have to say… I enjoyed these so much that I went back for seconds and even reheated them earlier this week.

Collard Greens

Source: Paula Deen, Food Network

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/collard-greens-recipe/index.html

My adjustments: I used a 1/2 pound (i.e. 1/2 package) of oscar mayer maple bacon and cooked it for a few minutes in the bottom of the stock pot.  After some of the juices started cooking out, I added the three quarts water and then the spices.  Don’t let the recipe fool you like it almost fooled me.  I read the “house seasoning” recipe and almost screamed when I saw how much salt it called for…. then I realized that I only needed a tablespoon of the mixture.  I just added slightly less than a tablespoon of salt and a couple shakes of pepper and garlic powder.  I also added an entire peeled garlic clove to the water.  AND, I also didn’t have seasoned salt..  so I googled what comprised season salt and determined that more salt, two tsp of paprika, shaked of dill, thyme, and celery seed would suffice.  Only boiled the liquid mixture for 25 minutes before I added the prepared collard leaves and then cooked for an hour.  Mmmm.  Serve hot!

Hoppin’ John

Inspiration: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/hoppin-john/Detail.aspx

The store was sold out of dry black eyed peas, so I had to improvise.  It ended up working out perfectly and probably a lot easier.  This recipe is doubled because we had 12 people.

-2 large cans of Margaret Holmes brand Hoppin’ John with Vidalia Onion

-1/2 pound of maple oscar mayer bacon (i.e. the other half of the package..)

-1 cup of white rice

-4 cups of water

Directions: I also started the bacon cooking in the bottom of the large saucepan first, then added the water, rice, and canned hoppin’ john.  Cover and cook for ~30 minutes.  Voila!

For both recipes, I pulled the bacon out before I served it.  I’m sure you could leave it in or re-use it, but I ended up tossing it because we were on vacation and couldn’t use it.

We had a spiral ham which we cut up and served on Pilsbury Southern Style Biscuits (frozen section).  The whole meal was delicious!!  Good for serving year round, not just on the first day of the year.

Happy Cooking!!

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