Can you believe we are hours away from wrapping up 2012? I’m still wondering where the past 364 days went. Like any other year, and like many of you, there was good and there was some bad too. Through it all I try to count myself lucky for all the good and all that I have. (And anyone that knows me personally and deeply knows I’m not referring to material possessions.) As 2012 comes to a close I think it is best to focus on the ups and be hopeful for a great 2013. I take the lessons learned this past year and with them I move forward.
Seeing 2013 straight ahead I feel emotional, excited, nervous but also ready to see where the road takes me. This year I haven’t made any resolutions. Not sure that I will. Instead of resolutions all I can think of is just moving forward and taking one day at a time. Everyone moves forward differently. Many rely on themselves, spouses, family and friends to guide them through. Some may also find solace in their religion, while others get a little extra help from superstitions.
I don’t follow any of the religions of the book but rather a life philosophy leaning towards Zen. When it comes to superstitions I’m not a believer. Though I do find some fascinating and others downright silly. Okay I really should admit that some of them just stuck with me since childhood. For example I never walk under a ladder, I knock on wood, cross my fingers for good luck, and I don’t sweep after dark because…I like the excuse of not having to do house chores. (lol) I also think people should stop carrying around dismembered parts of rabbits, leave black cats and our poor mothers’ backs alone. But if a superstition involving food crosses my path then I’m game.
There is a superstition from the southern US states saying that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day brings good luck and prosperity in the new year. The peas are cooked into a stewed dish called Hoppin’ John. Traditionally the peas represent pennies or coins, greens like Collard, mustard, chard, kale and cabbage are the color of money and were added for extra wealth. Cornbread which is the same color of gold is served as a representative of wealth. (Mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money! lol) If you do a quick search for Hoppin’ John you’ll come across countless recipes. Some serving just the beans, others with rice on the side or mixed in, some with cornbread on the side, cooked with bacon or with ham hocks. I wanted to Spicie Foodie-fy ours and serve how we normally eat our bean stews. Here’s the recipe.
- 320 g or 2 cups dried black-eyed peas*
- 100 g English or American bacon, roughly chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 large celery stick & leaves too, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 spicy green chile, finely chopped
- 1.5 liters or 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 large bay leaf
- salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp paprika for color, optional
- cornbread muffins or regular cornbread
- Drain the peas and cook until soft, or about one hour. Drain boiling water and set peas aside. In a large pot cook fry the bacon for about 2 minutes. In the same pot add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, then add bell pepper and celery and cook for another 2 minutes. Next add the garlic and spicy green chile to the pot. Cook just until they begin to soften. Add the boiled peas, bay leaf, black pepper and broth. Cover and simmer until the peas have cooked all the way through. Remove the lid, add salt and paprika to the pot. Continue simmering until most of the broth has been absorbed. Leaving as much liquid in the pot as you like. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed before serving.
- Serve the Hoppin’ John over cornbread muffins sliced in half, or over slices of regular cornbread.
- If you don’t fancy cornbread then serve on top of or mixed in with steamed white rice.
Even if I don’t believe in the superstition at least I’m starting 2013 off with a full belly and a yummy meal. I’ve another batch of black-eyed peas soaking for tomorrow’s dinner.
Have a very Happy New Year’s celebration. Be safe, dream big, take a chance and keep moving forward. Salud, Cheers and Na zdravĺ!!