I'm still getting back into the rhythms of the "real world" after the Holidays. We spent most of the long new year's weekend at home- The Scientist still battling an ear infection, I busying myself with some "advanced Ikea" assembling a new wardrobe with glass doors.
I don't have a ton of Southern food traditions that I cling to- but two that I do hold dear are Grits, and Black Eyed Peas at New Years. The Scientist introduced me to his family tradition of Cheese Grits, and this year I took them up a notch with "fancy" Anson Mills stone ground grits. These are grits with character- whole grains and all- you have to soak them overnight and cook them for an hour, and at the end they're toothsome and luscious. I made them "two ways" half as Garlic Cheese grits (with the addition of Garlic, cheese, an egg, tabasco and butter) and the rest as as Shrimp and Grits.
For dinner we had Black eyed peas and greens. Both are traditional in the South for New Years, supposedly to bring luck or money or something. For me, they at least brought a tasty dinner. My Mom used to grow black eyed peas, and I have fond memories of shelling them with her. For the greens I went creative, since you can't usually find collards here, and I actually don't really care for collards. I used a mix of swiss chard and fresh spinach, which ends up a lovely mix of red and green. Good bacon doesn't hurt either.
Happy New Years everyone!