Friday, January 2, 2009

Pot-O-Luck, New Year Black Eyed Peas

Jim and I had a very happy New Year's Eve. We started our evening around 7 PM with a toast of Geyser Peak Sparkling Shiraz. Although we took some fabulous trips and made some great memories this year we gladly say goodbye to 08 and hello to a brand new year. I made Mexican Wedding cookies and baked up the last of the Prosciutto Pinwheels from the freezer (correction, Jim pulled up the instructions on my blog and sliced, then baked them himself while I finished getting ready for the party) and we walked our Shiraz, Pinwheels and Cookies down the street to our neighbors house for dinner.

Here is Jim and I at our friend's home. We drank some lovely wine and ate prime rib among friends. It was a really great time.

Next, we headed to south Austin to another house party where we would bring in the new year. Here is Jim with Taylor.

My friend Jenna works for Tito's vodka who was one of the party sponsors. We had fun concocting our own beverages. I mixed Tito's vodka with Sweet Leaf Green Tea. Okay, that was REALLY good!

Here are the girls. Jenna, Angela, Elke, Taylor and me squatting in front.

Today's recipe is a Pot-O-Luck! My mom would force feed me black eyed peas every January 1 for luck and since I'm becoming my mother one day at a time I too make black eyed peas on the first day of the new year. This recipes comes from Emeril Lagasse on the web site. Honestly, I don't like black eyed peas all that much so I was searching online for a recipe that had lots of flavors that would overpower the peas. Hey, in the South you just have to eat them, my mom never said you have to TASTE them or LIKE them. I've always been a fan of the seasonings that Emeril puts in his dishes, so I based my STOUP (soup/stew) on his recipe for Smoked Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas.

Here is what I pulled from my pantry/fridge. Celery, ham, a zucchini, onion, shallot, a can of black eyed peas with jalapeno, a can of cannellini white kidney beans, garlic, chicken stock and bacon grease.

My mom always makes a pot of black eyed peas and throws in some bacon slices for flavor. That just isn't enough "flavor" for me to get over the awful taste of black eyed peas. Emeril's recipe called for sausage which I didn't have so I improvised with a couple slices of ham and used a tablespoon of bacon grease to cook the veggies so it had the bacon flavors.

So here we go, let me show you how I threw this together.
I didn't have bacon, but I do keep a mason jar in my fridge where I store bacon grease. I've never used any of it until now and this was a perfect way to get the smokey bacon flavor in this recipe without having any bacon on hand. I put about a tablespoon of the grease in a large pot on the stove and turned the heat to medium low.

Add one chopped onion and let it sweat and brown a bit.

Then I chopped one shallot and added them to the onions.

I had celery in the fridge and ONLY eat celery in soups or stews so I decided to throw some in for good measure. Jim likes to eat raw celery with peanut butter, I can't think of anything worse. Well, I actually can think of worse things to eat...but the smell of raw celery just turns me off. However, I will chop it up and add it to taco soup or other savory and saucy meals. I used three stalks here, sliced them into matchsticks and then chopped them up.

After I added the celery and stirred that around, I add one heaping spoonful of minced garlic. This probably comes to about 2-3 whole garlic cloves, minced.

Next I took a beautiful zucchini and halved, then quartered, and diced it up into chunks.

Here is what my veggies looked like in the pot.

Now for more flavor I took the last three pieces of smoked Christmas ham.

I simply diced it up, then threw that in the pot as well.

This is starting to look like a hearty stoup.

Luckily I had a can of these Trappey's Black Eyed Peas with jalapeno in my pantry. I heard from my mom in Houston that her grocery store was completely out of canned Black Eyed Peas. I'm just noticing that my can of black eyed peas also says in fine print "Flavored with slab bacon." Ha! No wonder these turned out to taste so good!! Bacon and Butter makes everything better, doesn't it ya'll? (Sounds like something Paula Dean would say!)

If I had two cans of black eyed peas, I would have used two cans...but I only had one can and I felt like there needed to be more Peas or Beans in my stoup so I added this can of Cannellini White Kidney Beans.

So here is where my pot of LUCK stands at the moment.
I had two cans of chicken broth on hand, but only ended up adding one can.

For the seasoning, I followed Emiril's lead and added four bay leaves.

1/2 teaspoon salt.

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.

The pot of luck is looking good, now all it needs to do is simmer for an hour or so until the beans are cooked through and all the flavors merry.

Mine simmered for an hour and a half. Let's hope this pot o luck brings good things to Jim and I in 2009.

I received an e-mail from my mom this morning and it's too good not to pass on. This is an excerpt from an interview with Nicole Kidman and Glamour magazine.

NK: The sun always rises tomorrow, and through this shall come light.

GLAMOUR: And the woman who’d just accepted the Best Actress Oscar and then went home alone?

NK: Please enjoy this moment! Stop being so shy and insecure, and revel in it. Put your dress back on and go back to the Vanity Fair party!

GLAMOUR: You’re so good at giving advice on the basis of your life lessons; what can you tell our readers?

NK: As a woman now, I want to share things. I have girlfriends in their twenties, and I say, “Ask me anything. You can learn from the things I did wrong, and you can learn from the things you think I’m doing right. Take whatever you want and make it your own.” So: Have no regrets. Every relationship leads you to where you’re meant to be. Learn to be comfortable with being alone. Learn to be comfortable with saying no to people; we put everybody else before ourselves. Read great literature; don’t get all your information from TV. Define your moral code—nobody else is going to give you that. Find it yourself. Keep asking questions, keep challenging. You don’t have to conform. Rebellion creates character. And, as my mother always said to me, “Don’t let anyone break your spirit!”


  1. I think black eyed peas are definitely a souther or just texan thing. I moved to Texas 4 years ago from Vermont and just this New Years I had my first black eyed peas. Unfortunately..I didn't like them! However, if they were made like you made them then that might be a different story!!

  2. Ugh. We didn't do the black eyed peas this year. I can't tell my dad that though! I really don't mind them, but The Husband can't stand them. I usually use frozen though... the canned ones make my stomach lurch. The soup looks great though!

  3. I love your green coat, Mandy! Happy New Year (only a week late) and good luck with the CMP exam!


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