Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Years!

Since I haven't written in this foodie blog of mine in a while and some people have visited it in the past couple of days, I thought I'd share my new years with you guys!

Since Brian and I got married, I've started trying to start some of our own traditions. In the south, one thing you HAVE to do is eat black eyed peas on New Years Day. It brings in luck for the year to come, and who doesn't need more luck?

So I was posed with the question do I use canned or dried beans? Canned would be easier. Dried would be tastier. So I found some directions online for soaking and cooking black eyed peas. I bought two bags of dried peas at 89 cents a piece (wow - what a great money saver) and soaked them for about 10 in hours in water. First, I sifted through the beans to make sure there were no rocks to be found. That would NOT be yummy. Then I put the peas in a big mixing bowl. The directions said to add double the water compared to the peas. So I filled my bowl REALLY full of water.

It was really fun to watch the peas grow in the water. A word to the wise though...there is NO need to taste the peas before you cook them in something. They taste like canned sour monkey droppings before they are cooked and seasoned. Ugh.

So, I let them soak for about 10 hours. My mom told me she had never heard of anyone cooking black eyed peas in the crock pot. But, I'm lazy and the crock pot is so handy. I found some recipes online, so I knew it was possible.

Brian drained the peas and rinsed them off. I put a slow cooker liner in the crock pot. If you've never used one of these, they are WELL worth the money. It's a heavy duty plastic liner that fits right in your crock pot no matter what size it is. Mine fits perfectly, and it's one of the wider oval pots. You can cook anything in the liner and when you're done you can just throw it away. There's is no clean up unless you cut the liner like I did the first few times. Back to the peas...

I put the peas in the crock pot and covered them in more water. This step will vary depending upon your preference. I knew that I wanted my water to end up being more like a starchy gravy so I put a little more water than peas. Then I put in some worchestershire, Dale's steak seasoning, lots of salt, pepper, onion powder, celery seed, and about a table spoon of minced garlic. And then there's the ham...

My dad gave Brian and I a ham for Christmas. It was one of those spiral sliced hams, but the end isn't sliced. We had just pulled it all apart and put the slices in bags in the freezer that same day and had cut the end up in to big chunks. I put a quart ziploc bag full of ham chunks in the beans. We let it sit over night and Brian was on the morning watch since he's an early riser.

I woke up yesterday morning and asked Brian how they were. He said they were GREAT. Well, he says that everything is great, so I went and tried it for myself.

OH. EM. GEE. They were FABULOUS. I don't normally LOVE my food. But these I loved. The ham had gotten so tender that it just fell apart in your mouth. I added another bag of ham chunks even though I knew they weren't going to get as tender as the first bag.

Then I made a pan of cornbread. I decided to use my muffin tins for portion control. This is the recipe I used. I normally would just paste the recipe here but the website has a converter so you can make a different amount of servings. I changed the 9 to 24 and got a bunch of weird numbers. I decided to try a factor of 3 since it made 9 servings to begin with. I put in 27 and it made what should have been 27 cornbread muffins but I made it in 24 and some really big muffins in the last batch. In the muffin tin, they only need about 15-17 minutes to cook.

This meal was SO good. The cornbread was sweet and the peas and pea gravy were salty so it was a marriage made in New Years Heaven. Pair that with some plum wine and it was an AWESOME New Years Day!!

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