Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Beans and Greens

Collard greens and black eyed peas--our traditional New Year's dinner. 
The collard greens are for prosperity and the black eyed peas are for luck--one day of luck for each bean you eat. We like ours with aged white cheddar, green onions and a side of deliciously tender and golden corn bread.
I used Fannie Flagg's recipe for greens (which I got from my sister) and a basic beans recipe that I modified just a bit. They were SO good. You have to realize that for me to say this they must've been truly remarkable. I am generally not a bean person. In fact, I've had an aversion to beans (limas in particular) ever since being forced to eat them as a child. I usually choke down beans a couple of times a year because I know I should, but after eating them today I have resolved to change my ways.
Collard Greens
2 lbs collard greens
2 oz. salt pork, diced (I used bacon--probably about two or three slices depending on the size of your package)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt 
Prepare your greens by removing the large veins and discarding them. Cut the leafy parts into bite sized pieces. Place them in a colander, wash them and wash them again. I rinsed mine a few times to make sure you've gotten rid of the sand or grit that greens usually have. Set them aside. 
In a large pot bring 2 quarts of water, the salt, sugar and bacon to a boil. Add the greens. Return to a boil. Turn heat down to simmer and cover. Simmer for one to two hours, stirring occasionally until they are tender. They take awhile to get done. I did mine for the whole two hours. 
I served up the potlikker  on the side. You can dip your corn bread in it if you like or eat it as a soup.
Black Eyed Peas
4 cups black eyed peas (I used frozen--eliminates the need to soak)
two ham hocks
drippings from 3 slices of bacon
1 bay leaf
 salt and pepper to taste  
Bring 3 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add the black eyed peas, ham hocks and bay leaf and return to a boil, stirring gently. Cover and reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 40-45 minutes, until tender. I did mine for an hour and as you can see they are a bit overcooked, but still so tasty. When they are tender,remove the ham hocks and cut off any meat and add it back to the pot. Remove the bay leaf. Stir in the bacon drippings and add salt and pepper to taste. Amazing!
I'm glad 2012 is over. It wasn't a bad year, but the new year always brings with it so much promise and oh, the possibilities! I'm feeling optimistic. The house is mostly clean, even if the laundry isn't. I have a list of goals that I'm looking forward to working on and I began the year with my family, delicious food and a lazy day reading a good book.
Here's a final thought to leave you with on this first day of the new year, 2013. I think this sums up nicely all the most important things I want to accomplish this year.
“This year, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.”                                                                                    ~Howard W. Hunter
Huzzah for a new year! Happy 2013, y'all!

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