Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

In the South, we eat pork roast, black eyes peas, collard greens and cornbread for New Years day.  Tradition says that the black eyed peas represent the pennies you will make and the collards represent the dollars you will make in the year ahead.  This year, we were actually at home and I was charged with making a dinner that my mother usually spearheads.  Truth be told, I love being at my mom's house on January 1st because it is usually a lazy day and I can relax while my my dear mom makes a dinner thats as easy as pie for her.

Collards must be started early because they require a lot of cleaning and a good amount of cooking.  I used a recipe from the Lee Brothers cookbook and loved it.  In fact, they have one small trick that I think makes collards even better than most, they remove the spine of the collard .  It's a little more labor intensive, but only took an extra ten minute.  Removing the rib, makes them cook more evenly and the texture is more consistent.  Now, once, you are done serving your collards, don't throw that pot likker out, it is great to use in soups...just throw it is a container and store it in your freezer.
These are my collards after cutting out the spine
The black eyed pea recipe I used is also from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook.  The recipe is called Hoppin" John.  The Hoppin' John and Collards both start with one key technique, creating a seasoned stock that is rich in flavor.  This dish is wonderful because it contains all 14 amino acids our bodies need to create a complete protein!
Soaked overnight

I took a shortcut and skipped my mom's cornbread-- which is a blog post all to itself.  Instead I threw together a Jiffy mix.  I also made a simple pork loin seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper.  Here was the final dinner
Not my best picture, but yummy!
If you are not familiar with southern cooking, there really isn't much to it.  There are three cookbooks I would recommend.  The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Matt and Ted Lee know their stuff and are very talented. They were born and raised in the Charleston, but live in Brooklyn now (I believe).  I've met them both and can say, they are the nicest guys and have nailed the hummer (a desert drink served at the Piedmont Driving Club).  These books don't fall short of directions, they are very detailed which I love.
Southern Cooking from Mary Mac's Tea Room:  Mary Macs Tea Room is an Atlanta institution and this cookbook has tons of everyday, no frill recipes.  Basically, it's just like your mama's food!  If you're ever down south, try this tea room out!
Thank you Lee!
Last, the annual Southern Living cookbooks are always a favorite.  The recipes are tried and true.  I pick one of these up every year and always use it a ton.  I like that their recipes are categorized by month, which helps to work with in-season ingredients.  When I am bored with my own recipes, I open this book to whatever month I am in and pick a recipe. 

Happy New Year, Y'all!


  1. i think your mary mac's book was actually from The Owner Himself.

  2. happy new year!
    am working on leftover new year's day soup.
    black eyeds, collards and sweet potatoes with some tomatoes thrown in for good measure.
    a fresh pone of cornbread is a must.
    do you have a good cast iron skillet?

  3. I use a lodge one that I think I bought at..cough cough.. Cracker Barrel