New year, new beginnings and a heaping helping of good luck!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 1st, 2013 by Babs

New Year's Day 2013

Yes, Virginia – that actually is Seattle on New Year’s Day 2013!

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but I like the idea of January 1 providing a symbolic fresh start – and I love superstitions and good luck rituals. So it’s in that spirit that I (mostly) promise to buckle down and make Devil’s Apricot a more regular endeavor, and I do so with a traditional New Year’s Day offering – Hoppin’ John.

Somehow, it wasn’t until I was an adult that my grandmother mentioned the notion that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day was supposed to bring luck and prosperity in the coming year. I probably could’ve used the help prior to her revelation, but I’ll blame the oversight on the fact that her thoughts were more occupied with bowling than bouillabaisse – and the closet full of vintage bowling league shirts she gave me makes up for the delay in passing on that bit of lore.

I’m not sure if I dug into the can she sent home with me that year, but since I’d rather bring myself good luck through culinary pursuits than by forwarding annoying chain letters, I’ve (mostly) attempted to start my year off with some black-eyed peas ever since.

Hoppin’ John is the traditional way to accomplish that goal by doing more than just opening a can (but not much more). It’s also a great way to make sure you start your year off right – and by “right,” I mean “with bacon. “

If you want to get fancy, you can – but trying to turn low-fuss peasant food into some kind of gourmet endeavor misses the point and kind of makes you a dick. Besides, if you’re making this on New Year’s Day, the odds that you or someone under your roof are hungover are better than average – so let’s keep it simple, shall we?

What you’ll need:

Bacon (the more, the merrier) – chopped
Oil (whatever’s handy – vegetable, olive, canola)
Onion – chopped
Bell pepper (green is standard, red is eye-catching) – chopped
Celery (one stalk is fine) – chopped
Garlic (I don’t believe you can have too much – so you might want to start with a clove or two) – minced
Two cans of black-eyed peas (drained)
Creole seasoning (no sweat if you don’t have it – try a combo of cayenne, black pepper and salt) – to taste
Rice (cook it separately)

In a big pot, heat the oil and fry the bacon. Add the onion, pepper and celery and sauté them over medium-high until they look like they’d like to meet the garlic. Add it and let them mingle for a minute or two.

Dump the black-eyed peas in add the seasoning(s), stir and figure out how soupy you’d like your Hoppin’ John to be. Half a can of water is usually a good place to start – remember that you’re going to be serving this over the rice (which you should have already started).

Depending on how magnanimous, grumpy, mischievous and/or sadistic you’re feeling, you can either add the hot sauce now or let everyone adjust the level of heat to fit his or her particular tastes/condition/heat tolerance.

Make sure everything’s heated through and the rice is ready, and serve.

If there are leftovers, it’s fine to throw the rice and hoppin’ john into the same container. It’s also fine to eat ‘em cold – just grab a fork and help yourself to some delicious good luck!

Happy new year, everyone – here’s to peace, prosperity and a rockin’ 2013…

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