A great southern tradition on New Years Day is to fix a pot of black-eyed peas for good luck.
It may not solve our national debt, the global war on terror or the prospect of having to listen to Hillary Clinton derriere jokes for the next two years, but it's a small pleasure we can partake of, if for nothing else than to pretend for a few moments that we live in an almost perfect world.
I did my annual black-eyed pea thing last evening and want to share my recipe as a way of wishing you a Happy and Prosperous 2007:
Webutante's Quick and Easy Black-Eyed Pea Recipe, in generalities (..since I only cook in generalities, using whatever's at hand and loving to improvise. I use recipes loosely or not at all. I was never a Pharisee type cook, going instead for the spirit of the recipe than the letter of its law).
2-4 cans Black-Eyed Peas, drained then rinsed, or you could soak some overnight
1-2 onions, sauteed
2-50 slices of bacon, fried and crushed (you can get into the ham hock thing, but I'm over it myself.)
1-3 cups vegetable or chicken broth (optional)
olive oil, or butter if you must
white wine (optional)
lemon juice (optional)
Saute the onions in olive oil. Add sea salt and any other herbs you wish.
Fry the bacon, drain and crush what you haven't already eaten directly from the frying pan.
Combine the onions and bacon with the black-eyes and then add more olive oil, sea salt, vegetable broth and pepper. Stir and heat either on top of the stove or bake in the oven at about 325 degrees for 30-45 minutes.
I like to taste what I'm preparing and then add whatever it seems to need at the time. More salt? Black pepper? A little wine? Lemon juice? Dill? No problem. Go for it.
You can serve this concotion with a variety of things including but not limited to: Tabasco sauce, plain unsweetened yogurt, and raw onions. You are limited only by your imagination and intestinal fortitude.
If you really want to go for an exceptional new year, serve this with steamed Swiss chard drizzled with olive oil and a broiled tomato. Or a frisee salad dressed with olive oil and some crumbled feta or roquertfort cheese.
Before I dig in, I give thanks to God for the great blessings of His Son who offers us ineffable redemption and who ultimately wins in the end, the freedom, family and friends He has blessed me with--imperfect that we all are-- and fresh air that I can still wander around in, mercifully with or without a tennis racquet.
And, for at least a few minutes, you might be able to forget about Osama and Obama et al, and have a little better start to 2007.
God bless us all in 2007. God bless America. And, thank you Lord for black-eyed peas!