Hoppin’ John is a version of the black-eyed pea and rice soup/stew served in the South for New Year’s Day. The idea is that eating black-eyed peas and rice at the new year will bring good luck, health and wealth. I’m sure it was created long ago by enslaved African Americans and adopted, like so many other recipes, into “southern cooking.” I picked up the tradition in Charleston in the mid-’80s.
The only two required ingredients are the black-eyed peas and rice. Everything else is negotiable in any amounts according to your taste. This version uses meat. For a vegetarian version, substitute a smoked ancho pepper and/or smoky-flavored tofu for the smoked sausage; use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
Adjust all amounts according to your needs and want.
1 large onion, diced
3 carrots, sliced
2-3 ribs celery, sliced
1 large red or green sweet pepper, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
Garlic, up to 3 cloves, minced
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, and their juice
1 good-sized link of smoked sausage (I have used either turkey or regular) or kielbasa
Vegetable or chicken stock ( up to 8 cups)
Black eyed peas ( 2 cans, or dried – pre soaked, 2-3 cups)
Rice (about a cup)
Seasonings. (All to taste):
2 bay leaves
Salt and Pepper
Cayenne pepper, Tabasco sauce, and/ or Worcestershire sauce
Optional: I add one canned ancho pepper and some of the sauce for an added kick.
If using dry back-eyed peas, pre soak the way you usually do it. Cans, drain and rinse peas.
Sauté onions, carrots and celery in olive oil till soft.
Add sweet peppers and garlic, and sauté for a few more minutes. Don’t let the garlic burn.
Add tomatoes and juice from the can, stock, black eyed peas, and smoked sausage (vegetarian variant — smoked poblano pepper and/ or smoked tofu).
Add bay leaves, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper, plus any of the other spices you wish.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring and tasting occasionally.
*Note: I just noticed that if you threw in some shrimp at the last minute, you would basically have a version of jambalaya.
This bad boy will kick the crap out of whatever cold, sinus infection or flu the fates have visited on you.
Ingredients & Directions
2 quarts chicken or veggie broth
3 TBS shredded fresh ginger
1 TBS red pepper flakes
6 chopped garlic cloves, sauteed
1 cup shitake mushrooms
2 chopped red peppers
Combine all of these in a slow cooker on high for at least 2 hours. Then steam and set by:
2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
2 cups of chopped carrots
Any other veggies you like.
Pour the broth over the veggies, eat like you mean it, and then spend the rest of the day sipping the broth and reading schlocky novels.
I decided to make-up a recipe this year for our Thanksgiving Day apple pie. Betty Zing was very interested in the process, probably hoping that I would drop bits of dough or apple onto the floor (by accident, of course).
She did discover that she loves apple peels. This pie has a very crumbly crust, like an unsweetened vanilla butter cookie.
1¼ cups unsalted butter, softened
2½ cups flour
1¼ teaspoons salt
2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 cups apple slices—I like to use a mixture, such as Granny Smith and Honey Crisp (sour and sweet apples)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
Mix flour and salt in a bowl.
Cut in the butter, until it becomes a crumbly/pebbly mixture.
Add enough vanilla to help form a ball, but not so much that the dough becomes liquidy.
The dough should form into a smooth ball, easily, and it should feel almost like pizza dough (but not sticky).
Pinch off a handful of dough, form into ball, and set it aside for later.
Roll out the remaining dough between two pieces of wax paper.
Lay the dough into a pie pan.
Shape the edge of the dough: in these illustrations, I shaped it as I would for a regular pie crust, but this crust is so crumbly that I suggest it be shaped more like one does for a cheesecake.
Roll out the remaining dough and cut with a cookie cutter into shapes, such as basset hounds.
Set carefully onto wax paper and put into the refrigerator (so they’ll hold their shapes while you work on other parts of the pie).
Peel, core, and slice apples.
Place the apple slices into a large bowl.
Add the other ingredients.
Cream butter and brown sugar together.
Gradually add flour and mix until crumbly.
The Entire Pie Ensemble
Pre-heat oven to 400° F.
With a slotted spoon, scoop all the apples into the pie. Save the remaining “juice” for a later option.*
Spread the topping evenly on top.
Peel the cookie-cutter shapes off the wax paper and arrange them on top of the pie.
Place the pie onto the center of the center rack.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and there is slight bubbling from the filling.
* Option: mix the pie “juice” with one egg white. Approximately five minutes before the pie is done, pull it out and “paint” the cookie-cutter shapes with this mixture.
It is not safe to feed any of this to your dog (the spices and sugar are not good for dogs), so maybe save one or two or three or seven slices of apple for your puppy to eat while you enjoy your dessert.