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Monday, January 04, 2010

daily bliss: new year's simplicity

What to make for supper on a cold, lazy New Year's Day, when one is resting from revelry?

Beans, greens, and cornbread, of course. This Southern tradition of eating greens—symbolizing money—beans—which swell when cooking, symbolizing prosperity—and cornbread—symbolizing, um, deliciousness is well documented. If wikipedia is to be believed, and I'm not sure it is, these foods link back to early Jewish settlers in Georgia, and their tradition links back to the Talmud, and celebrations of Rosh Hashana.

Regardless, this meal delights with utter simplicity, heartiness, and nutritiousness after indulgent holiday excesses.

I used Mark Bittman's recipe for Hoppin' John, a simple preparation of black eyed peas with white rice, a little onion and garlic, seasoned with bay leaves and a shot of tabasco (or sriracha) at the end. Sauteed lacinato (or black or tuscan—it's the kale of many names!) kale, and cornbread (all be-flecked with flax seed meal as i was out of eggs, so i used the handy flax seed meal + water egg replacer trick) rounded out the meal. A perfect glass of Rombauer Zinfandel, left over from New Year's Eve revelry elevated our peasant food to a meal fit for royalty.

G indulged my veggie-foodie rant about the wholesomeness, simplicity, and frugality of such meals. Not a vegetarian, G is an adventurous/adventuresome eater who has encountered many a strange food in the last seven months. (he was a good sport for the scary looking and so-so tasting roasted cauliflower and broccoli soup i concocted Sunday night, even pulling an Oliver Twist impression, "please, madam, may i have some more?"). I delight in sharing old favorites, food traditions, and new finds (minus the aforementioned weird soup) with him, as I trust he will give the food a chance, and also provide me with a fair critique of the meal.

The New Year's Day feast was a success, filling our tummies and bringing us hope for the year to come. The dessert of molten chocolate babycakes and eggnog ice cream was a delicious and decadent counterpoint to the utter simplicity of the main meal, a sweet ending to a new beginning.


  1. Anonymous2:32 PM

    Looks and sounds wonderful. I've been eating a hoppin' john salad all week for lunch. I'll have to try the Bittman recipe.

  2. That looks pretty delicious. I think i ate something similar to that yesterday with my Dad. I'm hoping your new year is going well and that your blog is even better this year!!