Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Resolutions and Cookbook Sundays

I have been missing in action for a few weeks.  Sorry 'bout that.  I just needed a blogging break.   Saying that makes me feel so lame, because there are many of you who blog almost daily.  You accept every challenge and round-up and event that appears in the food AND book blogging world.  You are my  heroes, let me tell ya!  I admire so much your effort, your commitment, your passion.

But the truth is....that is not me.  Right now anyway.   Right now, I want to feel free to blog when I want and not when I feel obligated to.

So, having said that  (and the most important part is that YOU are my HEROES) my New Year's Resolution  (besides, sending everyone I know a birthday card on time,  losing 25 pounds,  being more organized,  etc etc etc )  is to not accept any challenges this year.  Or maybe this next 6 months, or the next 3 months....or for a few weeks anyway!    I'm just going to cook and blog and read and blog and maybe just blog about nothing in particular.

Whew.... I felt I had to get that out of the way.

Now...having freed myself from my obligations....I am participating in Cookbook Sundays!!  ( I know, I know....I'm  LMAO too)  But Brenda has taken Cookbook Sundays to 'once a month'!   Ya gotta love  her for that.   I do!    I'm feeling like I have time now, to really search thru my 218 cookbooks and find something I really want to make, and not the easiest thing I come to, just to meet my obligation.  So, I'm excited about the move to once a month.  YAY!

For this week's Cookbook Sunday, I used Mary Engelbreit's 'Tis the Season Holiday Cookbook' and I made something I've never made before..... Hoppin' John.   It's a Southern thing.  I'm a north-westerner.  But I'm always intrigued by Southern cooking, so I thought I'd give Good Luck a chance and begin our new year with this southern tradition.

The Handyman and I have never had Black-eyed peas before.  They were.....good.  But....because I have no emotional attachment to this tradition, it probably isn't one we will adopt.  (I like pinto beans and ham better....or a good  Ham and bean soup, but the black-eyed peas were good too)
And this recipe had rice in it.  I'm not seeing a lot of rice out there in the food blog world, when it comes to Hoppin' John.   I thought there was a bit too much rice in this dish.   This recipe had us garnish the bowls with  green onions and parsley and chopped tomatoes... I really liked the freshness of the toppings.

Whether you are a yearly Hoppin' John eater or someone new to the tradition, I wish  you a Happy New Year filled with good luck  (which, for those of you who don't know, is the purpose of eating the Hoppin' John).

Have a great day and go check out Cookbook  Sundays and link up  (you have a whole week to do so)

the classic 
Hoppin' John

2 cups dried black-eyed peas, picked over and rinsed
8 cups cool water
1 smoked ham hock
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 tsp salt
chopped tomatoes, green onions and fresh parsley for garnish

In a large Dutch Oven, soak the black-eyed peas in cool water to cover by 2 inches, overnight. 
In a colander, drain the peas.  Rinse the Dutch oven.
In the Dutch oven, bring the 8-cups water, ham hock, onions, bay leaves, thyme, and ground red pepper to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes.
Add the peas, return the mixture to a boil over high heat and skim off any scum from the surface.  Reduce the heat and cook at a bare simmer for at least 1 hour, or  until the peas are tender when pierced with a fork.   Remove ham hock and shred the meat and add it back to the peas.
Add the rice and salt, making sure there is enough liquid to cover the rice.  Stir gently, and simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 25 minutes or until the rice is tender.
Serve the hoppin' john in bowls garnished with chopped tomatoes, green onions and parsley.


bermudaonion said...

As someone who has spent most of my life in the South, I can't believe you never had black eyed peas before. Even though, I'm not superstitious, I must eat them on New Year's Day. I wasn't able to soak mine this year, so we had them out of the can - they're not nearly as good that way, but you do what you have to sometimes. Happy New Year!

Brenda said...

Debbie, I've never had black eyed peas in my life. I don't have a clue what they taste like, lol. I guess they are one of those things I might have to try this year. Thanks a bunch for joining in with Cookbook Sundays and I'm excited it's only once a month now too, lol! Enjoy your week and stay warm!

Karen said...

You can be sure we never had this dish when I was a kid growing up in New England! Southern style cooking never appeared in my mother's kitchen, and funny that to this day it still seems foreign to me. Happy New Year!

That Girl said...

Its funny, because my new years resolution was to participate in more challenges!

teresa said...

i love mary e, but i had no idea she had a cookbook, how fun! this looks delicious!e

Couscous & Consciousness said...

I so get where you're coming from - I've just made a big reappraisal of my blogging commitments too and made a big "pull-back".

Your Hoppin' John looks great - it's definitely not a tradition here in New Zealand any time of the year, but I do like black-eyed peas so I'm pretty keen to give it a try.

Sue :-)

Luanne said...

Happy New Year Debbie! I totally 'get' your resolution of pulling back and blogging when you want. I too am trying to rebalance things this year as I clear the backlog. Blogging shouldn't be a job - it's something to enjoy. (And I've never had a black eyed pea either!)

~Jess said...

that looks yummy!

The Food Hunter said...

sounds interesting.

Patti10 said...

I could smell the food from the picture lol. Thanks for sharing that recipe I might try this one of this days.
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Lori said...

I love Hoppin' John. Have you heard of Skippen Jenny. I wrote about it on my blog. I will give your Hoppin John recipe a try too.

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