Monday, January 3, 2011

A Southern New Years Feast

Happy 2011 Everyone

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.

While Garlic Cheese Grits are a fairly standard "special treat" breakfast for us, I hadn't ever made Shrimp and Grits myself, although I'd enjoyed it lots of times.  I made it with local, winter season Maine shrimp which were small and sweet.  It took a long time to make the shrimp stock, but it was worth it- lovely flavor that soaked into the grits.  YUM

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!


  1. the other one!January 3, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    We also enjoyed black-eyed peas. Yes I heard it is for good luck and prosperity, we all could use some of that. The coloreds are of intrest to me though, here in the metro area of Portland, I have been unable to find "Swiss" Chard. Spinach seems to abound in plastic bags, but alas, no Chard, so eat up, I'm envious.

  2. Wow! You've made me interested in trying both of your dishes. I've never had either, but your photos make me think I've been missing out on something!!

  3. yum! although I love me some collards. but swiss chard is good too. I was raised on grits, but never did it as a dinner meal. Always with my eggs. Man I miss grits. I haven't made them in almost a decade. I need to fix this fact.

  4. Very nice! Where do you get the local shrimp?

  5. Glad to know I wasn't the only bicycler to be eating black-eyes and greens on New Years day, LOL. Down here in the south, it's almost a requirement. If you don't, you'll get the customary "honey, what's wrong with you?" question. Originally from Alabamastan, the locals require it to be seasoned with hog-jowls, and be cooked in a black cast iron pot. I've got to admit, the pot really does make a difference. Glad to see your shrimp variation!