Well, what a blessing it has been today, we have had full sun and it is so encouraging. I’m such an optimist when the sun shines. I’m listening to my Tiny Tim CD again, something that is just plain optimism as well, and the sun is shining through my two cut lead crystal pieces that hang in my office window. I have rainbows circling on the walls as I type this. How wonderful!
I’m still really frustrated with my allergies, I woke up with a headache so I first went back to bed and then when I got up I took a long hot bath with epsom salts. Hopefully that got me re-set so to speak, to get the headache out. It didn’t hurt me to put all that steam in the air, I expect.
But now even with a little headache remaining, I’m an optimist listening to this incredible music and watching the rainbows circle around me.
Buy your Blackeyed Peas Now!
Tomorrow is New Year’s Day. In the southern states of the US, it is tradition to eat blackeyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck. I love blackeyes, I think eating them any day is good luck, but I like the tradition. Make sure to get your blackeyes so you can join me in the good-luck, good-taste festivities. (By the way, blackeyed peas are actually a bean, not a pea. They are pretty small and somehow are called peas by tradition, not by science.)
I make something called Hoppin’ John at this time of year. There are as many ways to make it as there are people making it, but basically you combine cooked blackeyes (I buy them already cooked in a can, they are excellent this way and much easier), and cooked rice, then you add seasonings. In the south you would put bacon or ham or some other salty, smoked, high-grease-content pork meat in it to flavor it. I have found that adding olive oil to replace the pork fat, and soy sauce to replace the smoke and salt, makes it just as flavorful without the meat.
I also like to add whatever vegetables I have in the house, often red bell peppers and carrots. In the south you are most likely to see onions added and not necessarily much more. When I worked at Black Child and Family Institute I brought in my version of vegetarian Blackeyes, and one woman I worked with (from Mississippi) was just amazed that I put all those veggies in there… she liked it a lot, but had never imagined to do that herself. (And oooh, what a cook she was… she brought me fried cabbage and hot-water cornbread one day and it was pure heaven.)
So here is an approximate recipe for my version of Hoppin’ John:
LynnH’s Hoppin’ John
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh vegetables, chopped (red bell peppers or celery or carrots or a combination)
1 clove garlic, minced, optional
1 can cooked vegetarian blackeyed peas (or purplehull beans or crowder peas)
3 cups cooked rice (I prefer brown rice but use what you have)
3/4 cup boiling water
1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped fine (or chopped tops of one bunch of green onions), optional
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce (Or Bragg’s Aminos, a non-fermented Soy Sauce)
1/4 tsp coarsely-ground black pepper
Red pepper southern hot sauce to taste, if you like it. Brian likes it and I don’t, so he adds it at the table.
In a medium-sized saucepan, place 1 Tbsp of olive oil and saute the onions and vegetables (and garlic, if used) until tender. Drain and rinse the beans well, and add to pot, along with rice. Add all the remaining ingredients. Simmer and let it boil down (stirring occasionally) to a thick, casserole-like texture
Please feel free to adjust anything according to your whim. I don’t ever measure, I just sort of use whatever I happen to have in the house. It is pretty hard to put these ingredients together in any odd combination and not have something wonderful.
This can be a main dish, as we do it at our house. Once an elegant professor friend (raised in the south) invited me to her house for New Year’s Day. She had a whole feast with just a small cut-glass dish of Hoppin’ John for a side dish of good luck.
As with anything of this type, it is even better the second day!
May all goodness, health and contentment come to you this coming year. May gentleness abound and may your loved ones flourish.