Starting out 2019

December 30, 2018

How do you cook your blackeyed peas? And what kind of greens do you have to fulfill your New Year’s Day luck requirements?

To take the second item first, I often make slaw, figuring that’s cabbage, and cabbage is a green. But last year, I actually cooked some mustard greens that were edible. Not good enough I wanted any more the rest of the year, but edible.

I sauteed them in bacon grease until they wilted, added about a half-cup of water, some salt and pepper, turned them down low and covered and steamed 45 minutes or so. They weren’t great, but they weren’t awful. I guess I’ll do that again. After all, one ought not to mess with a year’s worth of luck; I won’t be superstitious the rest of the year, but I’ll start it out that way.

Black eyed peas are another story. I can eat me some black eyed peas, no matter how you cook them. And they’re a versatile little critter. I’ve soaked, par-boiled and then toasted them tossed in olive oil and sprinkled in paprika or chili powder or whatever random spice blend trips my trigger. I’ve stewed them with ham and crumbled cornbread in them. I’ve made a sort of hummus-y dip with them. But one of my favorites is to treat them sort of like I would red beans and rice.

I’ll cook the peas just in water with some sauteed onion and garlic until they’re barely tender. Then I’ll drain them, add a quart of tomatoes and a pound of sliced and sauteed smoked sausage. I’ll simmer that for 15-20 minutes and taste, then season according to what it tastes like it wants. It all really depends on your sausage and how it’s spiced, as the peas will soak up seasoning from the meat. So buy spicy or hot if you’re inclined that way, mild if you aren’t. Add some tomato juice if it’s not soupy enough for your tastes.

Cook some rice, and serve a big scoop of rice in a bowl, topped with a ladle or two of the peas and sausage. That with a dish of greens and a wedge of hot cornbread for good measure, should set you right up for luck for 2019.

Now, as for resolutions, you’re on your own. I’ve made mine, which include some being-healthier and self-improvement stuff, which MIGHT last until February, but if past history is any indicator, won’t. May you have more stick-to-it-iveness than I do.

But I will start out with lucky foods, and for good measure, have some baguette toasts and sour cream and caviar. Because there is no better day for caviar and mimosas than New Year’s Day.

So you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em settle in for the day of parades and football with some mimosas and caviar to start the morning, and a pot of black-eyed peas simmering on the stove, and some greens and some cornbread. And get set for a lucky 2019.

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