Dec 22, 2009

Ringing in the New Year w/ Cabbage & Black Eyed I won something cool!

What are some of your New Year's food traditions?

Around here, cabbage and black eyed peas are ours.  Black eyed peas eaten on New Year's Day are thought to bring good luck--especially financial luck.  Cabbage is also eaten for this reason.  Supposedly, the cabbage looks like cash and the black eyed peas look like little coins. 

I think I'd rather the money but whatever.

Before my grandpa died, the whole family got together at my grandma & grandpa's house on New Year's Day.

Ok.  Stick with me for a minute.  I have a side story (don't I always).  I'm really not such a motor mouth in real life, I promise.  When I was very little, I called my grandma "House."  She was "House" way longer than Hugh Laurie.  I didn't call her grandma or mawmaw or granny or even hey you.  I called the poor woman "House."  What?  Huh?  The only thing I can figure is that my mom would say "let's go to grandma's house" and I just picked up on the house part.  I don't know.  I was a weird kid.  I once got mad at "House" and told her, " go feed the elephants!" which was my 3 year old way of telling her to go to hell.

Me and "House" cuttin' up New Year's Day 2009. 
I'm on the right.

So everyone is over at my grandma's for lunch New Year's Day.  My grandma has always been a stickler for the cabbage and black eyed pea thing.  Even if you didn't like them, she demanded that you "take a taste," obviously very concerned about your luck in the coming year.  Probably didn't want you sponging off of her if things didn't work out for you.  That House is one smart lady. 

Another tradition we had during that meal was the oyster soup she made.  Wow, I haven't thought of that in years.  That was the first course and my dad's favorite.  He also loves her smothered rabbit and turnips.  My dad has strange tastes.

After my grandpa died, the New Year's Day lunch sort of ended.  Grandma may have cooked the oyster soup and cabbage and black eyed peas, but grandpa was the instigator of the event.  Now we all get together at my aunt's house for appetizers, football, and shooting off the left over fireworks.  But someone usually manages to find a way to work cabbage and black eyed peas onto the menu.

And if no one does, "House" reminds everyone to be sure and eat them before the day is through.  Your luck depends on it, after all.


I'm taking a break for a bit.  We're heading to New Orleans for the annual New Year's get together.  Plus, The Husband got tickets to see my favorite band, Better Than Ezra, at the House of Blues in the French Quarter.  He surprised me with that last year and I guess he figured since it worked....


The Foodie Blog Roll Contests: Winner!
Speaking of all this luck...
Before I get to a cabbage recipe, I need to mention this super cool thing that happened recently.  I received this box of goodies, plus a CD filled with recipes for using them.
And, yes, I'm including the bubble wrap as part of the goodies because, oh my, The Boy thought Christmas had come early.

The Foodie Blogroll and Love'n Bake teamed up to give away a goodie box filled with the following:
Almond Paste, Marzipan, Hazelnut Praline, Almond Schmear, Cinnamon Schmear, Chocolate Schmear, and CD of 30+ recipes.

And I won!!!  I never win anything.  Honestly.  I'm one of those people.

Thank you Love'n Bake and Foodie Blogroll for this fantastic prize!  In the coming weeks...let's face it, months (that's a lot of products), I'm going to be trying every one of these out.  I can't wait.  I have my eye on the Hazelnut Praline in particular and think I'll use it as a King Cake filling.  I've also scoped out recipes for Chocolate Cherry Frangipane Bars, Cinnamon Palmiers, and Espresso Almond Blondies.


Here's a typical cabbage dish that we'd serve for our New Year's Day tradition: Smothered Cabbage

Mise en place: cabbage, bacon, onion, salt (not pictured), black pepper, sugar, water (not pictured)

Start by cutting the slices of bacon into 8 pieces.  Fry in a large pot ...

...until almost crisp.  If you take it too far, it might burn while you're cooking the onions.  If you think you may have crisped it too much, no problem.  Remove it with a slotted spoon and return it to the pot when you add the cabbage.  I just don't like the mess of taking all the little pieces out.

Add the onions.  They can be chopped or sliced.  I like them to be consistent with however I cut up the cabbage.  Saute until the onions get a bit of color to them.

Add the cabbage, season with salt, pepper, and sugar, and toss around in the pot to coat with the bacon grease.  Add 1/4 cup of water, cover, and simmer for about 40-45 minutes, until the cabbage is tender. A small amount of water can be added during cooking if needed (a tablespoon or two).

A note about the sugar: normally I'm not big on adding sugar to vegetables.  I know, I know.  It's the Southern thing to do.  But this is the only vegetable dish that I add sugar to.

The next step is the key part, I think. 
Uncover and turn up the heat to about medium or medium high.  Saute, while stirring, until almost all the liquid cooks out of the cabbage mixture and the cabbage starts to brown in places.

Be careful doing this.  Don't walk away.  The sugar will burn. 
Umm, just trust me on that.
Up until this point, this dish really hasn't needed anything from you.  I think you can spare about 7ish minutes to baby sit it, right?

Wishing you lots of luck for the New Year.

Smothered Cabbage
from Ms. enPlace

1 medium to large head of green cabbage, shopped or shredded
6 slices bacon, each cut into 8 pieces
1 medium onion, chopped or sliced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¾ tsp sugar
¼ c water, plus more as needed

Remove the first few outer cabbage leaves and discard. Chop the cabbage into bite sized pieces, or shred.

Fry bacon in a large pot until it is almost crisp. Add the onions and sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add the cabbage and seasonings and toss to coat in the bacon drippings and onions. Add the water, cover, and simmer for 40-45 minutes, or until cabbage is tender. Check the water level as this simmers. You may need to add a tablespoon or two to keep the mixture moist.

When cabbage is tender, remove lid and turn up the heat. Cook, stirring, until most of the liquid is gone and the cabbage just starts to brown. Be very careful with this step; the sugar can easily burn.

* This is my best estimate for seasonings—I tend to taste and season as I go. Normally, I’m not a fan of adding sugar to vegetables, but I do like it here.


  1. That cabbage dish looks delicious! Happy Holidays and I am really glad that you are excited to dig into your box of baking inspiration!

  2. Thanks! The box is awesome. I love it. Happy Holidays to you too!

  3. Congrats on winning the box of goodies!! I love the pic of you and house. What a cute nickname and story. We never eat anything special on new year's day, but I'm thinking it would be fun to start! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year and I'm looking forward to see what you make with your stash :D


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