In the South, every New Year’s Day you will find plates filled with ham, black eyed peas and stewed tomatoes. According to tradition, black-eyed peas eaten with stewed tomatoes represent wealth and health. Ham represents good luck. Dishes vary by region but the practice of eating black-eyed peas for luck is generally believed to date back to the Civil War. The humble black-eyed pea was ignored by Sherman’s troops as other crops were destroyed making them a major food source after the Civil War. Ever since, their nutty flavor has been enjoyed on New Year’s Day as a frugal dish for a more prosperous year.
New Year’s Eve Black Eyed Peas and Ham
2 Cups Dried Black Eyed Peas
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Can Stewed Tomatoes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cloves of diced garlic
2 cups diced cooked Ham (or ham hock if you want to be really authentic)
Submerge 2 cups of black eyed peas under 2 inches of water in a medium pot.
Add in salt, bay leaf and olive oil.
Boil on high for 30 minutes, adding water as needed to keep peas submerged.
Check the consistency of the black eyed peas. You should be able to easily smush them with a fork. If they are still hard, continue to cook until black eyed peas are soft.
When ready, rinse black eyed peas thoroughly and return to pot.
Combine diced cloves of garlic, tomatoes, and sugar in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for five minutes.
Pour tomato sauce into pot with black eyed peas.
Add ham and boil together for 10 minutes, stirring well.
Serve and have a happy New Year’s Day!
As I enjoy my black eyed peas today and reflect on this past year, I have to appreciate what a truly amazing year it has been!
Here are my personal top 10 highlights from 2014:
Married my best friend!
Traveled out of the country to St. Lucia, Martinique, Antigua, & Puerto Rico
Ran a successful summer camp
Put on 4 outdoor movie nights
Supported two good friends and my brother as they got married
Went to 3 Dreamworks Movie Premier Parties
Survived a brutally hilly 5 mile race
Attended 3 local professional games: a Giants baseball game, a Quakes soccer game, and a Sharks hockey game
Took weekend getaways to Healdsburg, Napa, Sonoma, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Lake Oroville
Launched Sweet Tea Sweetie
Thank you so much to all of you who have joined me in this journey. I am looking forward to all that 2015 will bring.