Happy New Year Y’all!

Happy New Year Y’all!

Don’t worry, I haven’t become Paula Deen… but I do have a confession. Deep down inside, beneath my half Japanese exterior hides… a country girl. I grew up a military brat (Dad was a US Marine) in the great southern town of Tallahassee, Florida. If you’ve never been there, Tallahassee is much more like Georgia or Alabama than Florida. Strangely, I live much further south (in Ft Lauderdale) now, but it is much more “Northern” down here. Weird.

Anyway, black eyed peas are a very traditional Southern fare for New Years Day. Ingesting the little black and white beans are supposed to bring you good luck. Some say that the beans resemble coins and this is why they bring you wealth in the new year. Although I don’t think they look even remotely like coins, I still feel the need to eat them on New Years Day, with homemade Southern Cornbread. Don’t want to mess with the Southern traditions!

After all of the heavy holiday feasting, I’ve done a bit of a healthy twist on the beans and made it into a cold bean salad. I wrote the recipe with canned black eyed peas, but I prefer to use dried black eyed peas that are soaked and cooked with a ham bone, which is what I did here.
Hope everyone out there has a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Black Eyed Pea Salad Recipe

2 can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 large tomato, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1/4 c red onion, diced
3 tbsp parley, chopped
2-3 tbsp rice wine or red wine vinegar
2-3 tbsp olive oil

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir gently to combine. Taste and adjust the vinegar, salt and pepper accordingly. Let sit at room temperature for half an hour to let the flavors meld together.

Makes 6 Servings as a side dish

Southern Cornbread Recipe
(adapted From Oprah’s Website)

2 cups yellow or white cornmeal , preferably stoneground
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs , beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil , preferably sunflower, plus additional for the pan

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Generously oil a 9- to 10-inch cast-iron skillet (or a 9-inch cake pan) and place it on the rack. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2. Whisk the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl to combine. Make a well in the center. Whisk the buttermilk, eggs, and oil in another bowl until the eggs are well combined. Pour into the well and stir just until the batter is moistened — do not overbeat.

3. Remove the hot skillet from the oven and pour in the batter. Bake until the cornbread springs back when pressed in the center, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, then turn out onto a plate or serve directly from the skillet.

Makes 8 Servings