Let it be known that a meal eaten New Year’s Day for good luck in the coming year is a nearly vegetarian meal! (Well one minor adjustment and it’s completely vegan.) It’s called Hoppin’ John and it is a dish of black eyed peas, seasonings and pork served with rice. The pork is easily substituted with vegetarian ‘bacon’, usually a soy based product.
There are a number of sayings associated with the South concerning food and New Years:
Eat poor that day, eat rich the rest of the year.
Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.
I resolved to start 2013 with a New Year’s meal inspired by typical fare of the American south.
The main component of this dish is black eyed peas. It is thought that these legumes were brought to the States via the slave trade. I’ve prepared my peas and soon will cook up some onion and garlic with red pepper flakes, salt and parsley. I’ve also got some maple-smoked tempeh, a vegetarian bacon, which will get pan fried in a little grapeseed oil then crumbled up and thrown into the mix with some liquid smoke. All of this is to be served with a brown basmati rice cooked in vegetable broth. This combination of peas and whole grain rice makes for a complete protein rich in fiber.
I’ve read that a bowl of Hoppin’ John should be eaten at the stroke of midnight when New Year’s day officially begins. Let’s see if I stay true to this custom.
More about Hoppin’ John
This leafy green is actually a type of cabbage but can be eaten in a manner similar to spinach. Like spinach it is a good source of iron as well as vitamins A and C. It is also part of the elite cruciferous club, a group of vegetables known for their cancer prevention properties. For more about the numerous health benefits of collard greens, click here.
This quick bread is almost cake-like and is traditionally made with cornmeal, buttermilk and butter. I remember this being one of my favourite foods at the Underground Railroad restaurant in Toronto which has long ceased to exist. To make this vegan simply sour some non-dairy milk with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in a ratio of 1 cup ‘milk’ to 1 tsp. acid. I find soy milk blends best. Butter can be substituted with vegan margarine or simply keep the butter if you’re vegetarian. I do and I slather even more butter (organic) on hot cornbread fresh out of the oven!
As the sayings go, these foods may bring wealth but more importantly they bring health. Here’s to your 2013 being filled with foods that Nurture & Nourish.
Weal Food wishes you a Happy New Year!