Did Christmas really come and go that fast? Is the New Year so close to being around the corner? Of course it’s no surprise when Christmas rolls around and when the New Year begins and yet every year I feel like it sneaks up on me. I think it has to do with the end of the year. When a year comes near to closing, it is a time of retrospection, a time for looking back and thinking about what you have and have not accomplished.
Naturally the first instinct is to think about what hasn’t been accomplished, I never lost weight, I never stuck to any exercise program, I didn’t keep up with my bookkeeping, my car was totaled, my baby boy got an MIP (drinking underage), I got two speeding tickets and the list could go on. If I was a glass half full kind of gal, some of that could be downright depressing. But I’m a glass half full person and I focus on all the positives. My whole is family healthy, I’m expecting another grandchild, my blog got a great makeover, I got a newer vehicle (gotta look at the positive of losing the other one) I’ve been super involved with the community and that has led to positive things, I started a community garden, earned my Master Gardener 1, 2 and 3 levels, made new friends, traveled, spent many, many weekends at the cabin, got my first photography gig with a National Magazine (one that is dear to my heart), have two possible cookbook shoots lined up and a very exciting adventure that I will reveal later in January. Really, it has been a momentous year.
Next year is promising to be just as memorable; maybe I’ll lose weight and exercise more too.
To ensure another lucky year, we’ll be eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s. I picked up the tradition of eating black-eyed peas on the New Year’s when I was stationed in Virginia which was nearly 25 years ago! According to Wikipedia (the source of easy information via internet):
“In the Southern United States, the peas are typically cooked with a pork product for flavoring (such as bacon, ham bones, fat back, or hog jowl), diced onion, and served with a hot chili sauce or pepper-flavored vinegar.
The traditional meal also includes collard greens, turnip, or mustard greens, and ham. The peas, since they swell when cooked, symbolize prosperity; the greens symbolize money; the pork, because pigs root forward when foraging, represents positive motion. Cornbread also often accompanies this meal.”
Normally we have Hoppin’ John, but this year I’m putting a twist on my beans and giving them a nice Creole kick and I’m keeping it simple by cooking them in a pressure cooker. Alongside our peas we’ll be having a cheesy sour cream jalapeno cornbread (recipe coming soon) and a spinach salad to fulfill the greens tradition (and to give our mouths a cooling respite from the black-eyed peas and cornbread).
You can use a purchased creole seasoning mix, I make my own; it has the right amount of spiciness for us and it’s salt free. I like to make my spicier seasoning mixes salt free that way I can use more or less to give it just the right heat but not worry if I’m under or over salting it. It you use my seasoning mix make sure you add salt.
I hope your past year has been as positive as mine and that 2014 will be even better.
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas picked over and rinsed (if not using a pressure cooker soak overnight)
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 2 cans Rotel (I used a home canned version), Mexican style stewed tomatoes
- 1 ham bone, hock, salt pork, smoked turkey bones, or bacon
- 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning mix
- *2 teaspoon kosher salt
- chopped onion and slice jalapeno for garnish (optional)
- Turn electric pressure cooker on to saute or saute in a large saucepan. Add oil, garlic and onion. Saute for a couple of minutes or until onions are translucence.
- Add black-eyed peas, tomatoes, water ham bone and creole seasoning mix
- Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes with a natural release. Once all pressure is released, remove ham bone and cut off meat and dice when cool enough. Stir meat into black-eyed peas.
- Add salt to taste. Garnish and serve with cornbread or over rice.
- *add salt if using salt-free creole seasoning mix.
- 3 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- *3 tablespoon kosher salt (optional)
- In a small bowl whisk all ingredients together. Store in an air tight container up to 6 months.
- *I prefer not to use salt in my creole seasoning mix so I can adjust the seasoning with out affecting the salt content. If you choose not to use the salt make sure to add salt to your taste.