For the last couple of years, my wife and I have started a new tradition for ringing in the New Year. Now that we have gotten older and wiser, we spend New Year’s Eve at home and avoid the crowds. This particular New Year’s Eve should be a fun one – I’ll spend the day cooking, while my wife is glued to the TV watching College Football.
We typically start out our New Year’s Eve meal with Champagne, Drakes Bay Oysters and Tsar Nicolai California caviar served with Chef Andrei’s mom’s amazing blini. We follow this with some local Dungeness crab and Caesar salad paired with Jackson Hills Chardonnay.
Before I head to bed on the last day of the year, I drink a large glass of water and then soak a pound of black-eyed peas to cook on New Year’s Day. I also put the extra blini batter in the refrigerator.
When I wake up the next morning, I pull the blini batter out of the fridge and brew some coffee. Once the batter comes up to room temperature and begins to bubble, I make some incredible blini pancakes served with maple syrup.
After breakfast I put a pot on the stove and start cooking my black-eyed peas. In a lot of places in the south, eating black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day is considered to bring you good luck and prosperity. Below are my recipes for simple black-eyed peas & collard greens and cornbread.
Here’s to a Happy New Year and hoping 2012 brings you good health and lots of great wine.
Black-eyed Peas & Collard Greens
Serve with Kendall-Jackson Pinot Noir
This soulful one-pot recipe is a comforting way to start your New Year’ Day. The black-eyed peas are excellent served with corn bread to sop up the pot liquor. And if you can find it, a dash of Texas Pete’s Pepper Sauce adds a spicy, tangy zing.
- 1 lb. black-eyed peas, dried
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 6 oz. bacon, diced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 ham hock
- 3½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 sprigs thyme
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 bunch collard greens, washed, stems removed and sliced into 1inch strips.
- Pick through beans and remove any pebbles. Rinse thoroughly. In a large bowl, soak beans in 6 cups cold water overnight in the refrigerator.
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot, over medium heat, add olive oil and bacon and cook for 2 minutes. Add onions and cook until tender and translucent. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the collard greens, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for approximately 30 minutes.
- Add collards and continue to cook for another 30 minutes or until beans become tender. Adjust seasoning and serve with rice.
This is one of my favorite cornbread recipes. It is a little bit sweeter than traditional Carolina cornbread.
Yields 1 (12-inch) cast-iron pan
- 2 oz., plus 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 cups cornmeal
- 2 Tbsp. masa or corn flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 6 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt butter and set aside 2 tablespoons for brushing muffin tins or cast-iron pan.
- In a bowl, sift together cornmeal and remaining dry ingredients.
- In a separate large bowl, combine melted butter, buttermilk, sour cream and egg. Whisk to combine. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and combine thoroughly.
- Portion into muffin tins or cast-iron pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes for mini-muffins or 15 to 20 minutes for a 12-inch cast-iron pan. Cornbread should be golden brown and cake tester should come out clean.