Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year Traditions

I don't know when they became traditions, but for as long as I remember Colleen and I have been enjoying our own New Year's food traditions. As midnight on New Year's Eve approaches, we break out pickled herring and crackers. Other than the occasional Christmas Eve, I think this is the only time we ever eat this tasty treat. And each year I wonder why I waited a year to enjoy it again. Of course, there's always a good beer or two to go along. This year we had Sierra Nevada Celebration and New Belgium 1554 on hand. Celebration is a Winter staple in our house. The New Belgium beers have only recently been available in Virginia, a development I've been enjoying recently.

Dinner on New Year's Day always sees a bowl of a cold black-eye pea salad on the table. This is one of those meals that we've been enjoying since the early years of our marriage. But again, rarely on any other day. I remember many years confusing the produce man at the grocery store with our requests for jicama for the salad. In recent years we've simply opted to leave that ingredient out of the preparation with no loss in enjoyment of the recipe.

Typically we have some form of pork to accompany the salad. This year a slow cooked Cranberry Dijon Pork Roast was the choice.

We have a lot to look forward in the coming year, but for the next few days I am especially looking forward to enjoying the leftovers of these two dishes.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Ingredients:
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
3/4 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cans (15 ounces each) black-eyed peas, drained, rinsed
2 green onions, sliced
1 each, diced small: red bell pepper, celery rib, small peeled jicama, peeled carrot
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Directions:
1. Stir together garlic, vinegar, oil, juice, mustards, salt and pepper in medium bowl. Add peas, green onions, bell pepper, celery, jicama, carrot and cilantro; stir well.

2. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. Serve cold over baby spinach leaves.

Notes:
As mentioned above, we no longer include the jicama called for in the recipe. Besides the difficulty in finding it, the root crop is fairly labor intensive to peel and chop. This year Colleen substituted lemon juice for the orange juice which imparted a citrus kick to the salad.

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