Posted by: Aunt Magaidh | January 2, 2010

New Year’s Food Fest

New year’s food traditions are so cool.  They often focus on bringing good luck, prosperity, and happiness in the new year.  Luckily, they usually taste really good.  For the last couple of days we’ve been eating some great grub.

Black-eyed peas, rice and greens – collard, mustard and turnip – for money/prosperity. Each year I cook peas, greens and rice. It’s a nod to my Southern family roots.  Sometimes we use a ham bone or smoked turkey to flavor the dishes.   We made this vegetarian style this year so we could share it with some vegetarian friends.  (The pea recipe is below.)  As I shared the simple meal with my friend Liz, also “between jobs”, it struck me how soothing the food was.  It’s called soul food for a reason.  The creaminess of the peas, the tonic bitterness of the greens, the slight spiciness of the pepper vinegar sprinkled on the greens, the neutral solidness of rice…it was just so calming.  Nothing sexy (like a fusion sushi roll of salmon and mango and chili and cream cheese). Nothing intoxicating (like champagne).  Just simple, grounding, warming, nurturing food.

Cookies – for sweetness. Yup.  We need to invite sweetness into the house.  This is the nod to the passing of the old year and the sad and bitter times.  Cookies and candy and sweets are traditional gifts to encourage the happy and sweet energies into the house.  This year, me, the non-baker,  baked cookies.  I had help.  Liz and her daughter came over and baked with my daughter and myself.  We made homemade biscotti, cornmeal rosemary cookies, matcha green tea shortbread, and lemon lavender shortbread.  I hope the cookie spirits are happy and bless our households this year.

Top row: lemon-lavender and matcha green tea cookies. Rack: biscotti. Bottom: rosemary cornmeal cookies.

Japanese-American feast at a friend’s house to honor community. This was a real celebration.  Our friends do this every year to celebrate their friends and family.  The dining table is loaded with sushi, sashimi, yakitori, fishcake, noodles, sauces, poki, stews, pickles, and rice.  Another table has cookies, cake, and  candy.  Beer, wine, champagne, soda, tea and water are in the kitchen.  The house gets packed full of people.  Despite the obvious foodie heaven, it’s the sound of all the laughter and conversation and kids running around that makes me look forward to our invitation to the party each year.

I’m still eyeing the ham in the freezer, but thinking that it will come out for February to feast away the holiday letdown doldrums.  We’ll see.  For now, it is time to enjoy the abundance and welcome the possibilities.

Aunt Magaidh

Simple Black Eyed Peas, vegetarian style

  • 5 lbs frozen black eyed peas
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp Liquid smoke
  • 1 tblsp minced garlic
  • Salt, about 1 tsp

Get a big pot.  Saute the onion in a little oil.  Then add the black eyed peas and water. Bring to a boil.  Turn it down and cook over medium heat until the peas get tender and the water starts to get a little creamy.  Stir in the liquid smoke and garlic.   Cook more until it gets creamier.  (This is not a fast recipe.  It takes a while.)  Taste and add salt.   Simmer for a few more minutes or another hour.  Serve with rice and greens.  Good as is or with salt, pepper, hot sauce, fine diced tomatoes, chopped green onions as desired.

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Responses

  1. Yum, your black-eyed peas recipe looks great!

    • Thanks. I had to find a way to make them taste right without the ham bone/meat because of vegetarian friends. Ditto the greens. Thank goodness for liquid smoke! And seriously, the longer you slow cook the peas, the creamier they become.

  2. I can attest that these cookies are really good….


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