This year, rather than compete with the Vegas strip for ringing in the new year, I am hosting lunch on New Year's Day. One of my invitees knew exactly what he wanted to bring (Black Eyed Peas) and exactly what he would like me to serve (Ham and Steamed Cabbage). I was thinking of a menu more of the frittata variety but after hearing my friend's enthusiasm, I decided to go with it.
Southern tradition holds that one should eat black eyed peas for good luck and prosperity. In the deep South, we also eat turnip, mustard or collard greens. Other regions eat cabbage (clearly my friend is from the other South). Greens represent paper money while the peas represent coins. Cornbread is served alongside, signifying gold.
Given the state of the economy, it seems appropriate to start the new year with a meal that is humble with a touch of superstitious magic.
I am picking up a double smoked ham from Whole Foods.
When it comes to cooking with black eyed peas, I trust the Texans. Every Junior League in Texas has their own favorite preparation Homesick Texan has recipes for a pot of black eyed peas, black eyed pea dip and the perennial favorite, Texas Caviar.
New Year's Day marks the end of holiday feasting. With ham on the table, there has to be a Sweet Potato Casserole. Sugar & Spice By Celeste has a recipe that most resembles the one my mom made.
Bacon fat - that is what makes or breaks steamed cabbage, in my opinion. Gluten Free Journey makes her with pancetta, leeks and shallots.
Brennan's Texas Cornbread Pudding recipe can be found online at Recipe Helpers or in the Brennan's Of Houston In Your Kitchen cookbook by Chef Carl Walker. Mixed within the cornbread is chopped green pepper (or jalepeno) and corn kernels, with a melted layer of pepper jack cheese. Taste Of Home has a Semi-Homemade style version.
"Apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, butter and oats. Welcome to the essential ingredients of the apple crisp..." as prepared by SimplyRecipes.
I'll put out crudites with a sun dried tomato/olive oil dip and nuts. Drinks are simple: iced tea and champagne.
Happy New Year (and may you enjoy a prosperous 2010)!