It is our 2012 New Year’s resolution to resurrect the blog!
Let me catch you up: I moved to Denver and got married (no biggie). Jenny moved across the country and got a new job (as did her hubby). So, between those life changing events and a family emergency or two, we were busy little bees this year! But enough excuses – let’s talk about the thing that is so near and dear to everyone’s heart – food.
We last left you with a post about the 1st Annual Drogue Holiday party. I am proud to report that our 2nd annual Drogue Holiday party was also a success. And since we left you last year at Christmas time, it’s fitting that we pick up where we left off – at New Year’s.
Every New Year’s day, Mimi opened her home to anyone who was interested in some simple “good luck” black eyed peas. According to my Mary Mac’s Tea Room cookbook (thanks, Dad!,) this Southern tradition dates back to the Civil War. Apparently Union troops would strip the land of all stored food and destroy whatever they couldn’t carry with them. The Northern soldiers didn’t consider “field peas” a suitable source of food. So these “field peas” became known for good luck!
Seasoned with salt pork and hog jowls or pork hocks, Mimi served her peas over white rice, and topped them with stewed tomatoes. The goal is to eat at least 12 peas (one for luck during each month in the year). Happily, this goal isn’t hard to attain. Mimi also served her famous cornbread as a sopping accessory (with jalapeno or strawberry jam) as well as fresh scallions to gnaw on/freshen your breath.
So this year, we will carry on the tradition.
Adapted From Mary Mac’s Tea Room
1 small smoked ham hock
5 ounces of fatback (salt pork)
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 cups dried black-eyed peas
1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
Bring a stockpot two-thirds full with water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the ham hock, fatback, and onion and return to a rolling boil. Add the black-eyed peas and let cook, uncovered for approximately 1 hour, or until the black-eyed peas are tender. Add salt and pepper if desired. Serve with slotted spoon over white rice, and top with stewed tomatoes. See below for recipe.
Mom and I have debated about whether Mimi used canned tomatoes or whether she blanched tomatoes and stewed them fresh. I can specifically remember Mimi teaching me to blanch tomatoes. I can’t imagine why she would have been doing that except for a recipe that called for stewed tomatoes. We came to the conclusion that Mimi used canned tomatoes (sometimes her own and sometimes store-bought) just because it would be tough to find good tomatoes in December. So, the choice is yours.
In case you need a quick 101 on blanching: bring some water to a boil, add the tomatoes for a minute or 2, remove and immediately submerge in cold water. This makes the tomatoes really easy to peel, core, and seed.
2-3 cans of diced tomatoes, or 8-10 whole tomatoes, blanched and diced
1 onion – diced
Dash of white vinegar
A few pinches of sugar
1/2 stick of butter
tomato paste (optional)
Cook the diced onions in butter for quite some time. You want the onions to begin to brown so that they take on that really sweet buttery flavor. Add the tomatoes and stew for a while. You may want to add a spoonful of tomato paste depending on the thickness. Add vinegar and sugar to taste. The tomatoes should take on a tangy taste. Stew for 30-40 minutes. This can be done ahead of time.