This is a blog for people to discuss what they are eating. There is a theory that by journaling eating habits, people will eat healthier. I am trying to cook more at home and feed my family a wider variety of foods. People can just read or join as co-authors. Topics don't have to be recipes with nice photos. You can write about eating habits, special diets, culinary cultural differences, etc.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The First Meal of the New Year

And boy! did I enjoy it! Very traditional, at least for my family. Except for two big meal days (Christmas and New Year's) I forgot the rutabagas... so now they are trying to sprout in the basket. Anyway... Here's the dish:

Clockwise from the 12 position:
Black-eyed peas over Basmati Rice
Collard Greens
Smithfield Ham
Cheesy Potato Casserole (inspired by Pitts' Potatoes Sewickley)

I confess that the black-eyed peas were canned. But I browned some bacon pieces and sauteed some fresh garlic and some bits of lovely Hatch Valley chili peppers then added the peas to the pot. It was good. True, buying dried peas and soaking them overnight and then cooking them all day long... that would have tasted better, but... I'm the only one in my family who truly appreciates the beauty of the black-eyed pea, and I'm not prone to spend that much time purely for myself, so... maybe later when I make another Indian Feast. They are terrific with roti or dosa.

The collard greens I did cook from a fresh bunch. I got them a few days before Christmas while they were still looking good and not all picked over. I cooked them that night and put them up in the freezer until New Year's Day. I simply washed and tore them into not quite bite-sized pieces and cooked them down with a country ham bone I had in the freezer and a little chili pepper flakes and about a tsp. of sugar per bunch of greens. Makes them not so gassy. After they cooled I put them in a freezer bag and stored them away. Laid them out New Year's Eve night and re-heated the next day in a pot. They were very tasty. I love greens. All kinds really, and mixtures of greens. Should have put some cabbage in these, but Pete doesn't like them that way, the weirdo. :) And Thomas purely hates the smell of cabbage cooking. I didn't want to torture the poor guys on the very first day of the year. See how sweet I am?

The HAM! ta-da! Actually, I am aware that it doesn't look so great in the roaster. It was a shank portion, therefore, not really suited to cross-hatching and dressing up with pineapple rings and cherries. I put this cut side down in my enamel roasting pan, sprinkled garlic powder, onion powder, ground cinnamon and cloves over all, slapped on some crushed pineapple and drizzled with honey. Baked until 135 degrees inside and then took it out. I usually try to be a little more "decorative" with the ham, when I bake one, but Pete was supposed to get this one started for me and he didn't. I woke up late after enjoying ringing in the New Year with my friends on Pam's lovely Sasuke All-Star Fans site. So I woke straight up and went to the kitchen and started it going before I even had a cup of coffee. Who knew I was so talented? Never mind, looked horrible, tasted delicious. And that's all that really matters, right?

Before Baking

After Baking

click on the pics for larger views

My Cheesy Potato Casserole. As I said, it was inspired by Pittsburger's post about her Potatoes Sewickley. Only this is how I did it: I peeled 5 potatoes, sliced them thin, arranged them in my baking dish alternating the layers with cheddar cheese, black pepper, chives, and on the final layer I put some chopped up bacon on the very top. Then I poured a little milk in and put the cover on the dish. Baked at 375 for about 30-35 minutes, took the lid off, sprinkled more cheese on and put back in the oven. As you can see, I nearly forgot about it at that stage and it would have burned, but I remembered it just before it was truly ruined. That's okay, I like those crunchy, chewy bits of overdone cheese and potato anyway. :) It was delicious. The best part of the meal, I think. But then... I'm a cheese head. We all three are. There aren't any leftovers of that at all.

I still haven't made my punkin pie! I wanted one soooo bad, too. I just don't have the umph to make it yet. I'll get around to it. The pumpkin is canned anyway, so nothing has to be done immediately. I just wish I could make myself go do it. I like a nice hot slice of punkin pie and I haven't had ANY this whole Holiday season.

So... that was yesterday.

This was supper today:

Fried Rice from leftovers!

Great stuff. I chopped up some onions, garlic, carrots and sauteed them in oil, then tossed chopped up ham and some leftover pork loin I had in the fridge and browned them a little, then I scrambled two eggs and added all to the leftover rice which I had fluffed and sprinkled with soy sauce, lemon juice, chili pepper flakes and sesame oil. Then topped with chopped chives and sesame seeds. Then tossed all in a very hot pan until sizzling. Very tasty indeed. Wish I could share with you all.


Blogger chaki said...

What an impressive meal out of a Southern cookbook. I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of black eyed pea or collard greens but then I've only had them at a restaurant in LA, and not homemade.

Pitts' casserole looks like something my family would gobble up too... It's great trying other people's recipes!!

January 2, 2009 at 5:27 PM


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