Lucky Peas

uniquely southern

Happy 2013!  It's officially that time of the year when people flock to their favorite social media sites to proclaim their resolutions to the world. Realized or not, most goals are to lose and gain at the same time.  Lose weight, gain confidence; lose a bad habit, gain a healthier lifestyle; lose the bad attitude, gain a positive outlook.  My resolution for this year is to improve myself on a daily, not yearly, basis.  Every morning should be viewed as a fresh start, a clean slate, and a day that we can all choose to be a better person.  Whatever the goal might be, there is also another important component to this day---the food.  There is a variety of dishes deemed as lucky and many would argue are a necessity on any true new year menu.  A plate full of cooked greens and black-eyed peas symbolize monetary growth and good fortune, pork represents abundance and progress, and fish is thought to promote a long life.  Being a vegetarian means I usually go for double helpings of the greens and beans then hope for the best.  My favorite way to ring in the beginning of a year is to indulge in an overflowing plate of the classic southern dish known as Hoppin' John.  There is a variety of ways to make this dish, but I always take the simple, meatless route.

Hoppin' John
2 cans black-eyed peas (washed and drained)
1 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 minced garlic clove
1 teaspoon dry thyme
lemon juice and zest
cilantro
fresh spinach
rice
In a pan, saute the chopped onion and garlic in olive oil until the aroma makes your mouth water with excitement.  Add peas, broth, thyme and bring to a boil.  Once the stew is bubbling, turn the heat down and simmer on low for 45 minutes to an hour.  Serve over a bed of spinach and a heaping mound of rice.  Spritz with lemon juice and garnish with lemon zest and a few twigs of cilantro.   Hoppin' John may not be the most eye popping dish, but it's definitely a recipe for good luck and a full belly.