Sunday, January 4, 2009

2009 : Ringing it in

What a way to start the new year! We held our annual New Year's Day open house party, culminating in a pot-luck that was one for the ages. My contributions to the feast were simple: veggie tray, fruit tray, cheese and crackers, traditional Hoppin' John over brown rice with kale, cornbread, and a new twist on Hoppin' John (recipe at the end of this post).

My camera broke early in the day, so sadly the full spread was not captured. Some of the highlights: Greek Feta Dip, Texas Caviar, Ham & Pickle Roll-ups (always a hit with the kiddos), Taco Dip, Roasted Eggplant Caponata with Goat Cheese over Melba Toast, Brie and Crackers, Guacamole, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Greek Salad, Poppyseed Coleslaw, Israeli Couscous with Roasted Garlic, Chocolate Truffles, Fig-Walnut-Blue Cheese Tarts, Peanut Butter Cookies, Chocolate Covered Pretzels, White Chocolate Peanuts, and Kahlua Cake. I'm sorry if I missed anyone, but I guarantee my belly didn't. YUM.
What's that in the center of the table? New Year's Fortunes, inspired by Martha's valentine felt fortune cookies. I used the leftover felt from the Advent Calendar and a 3-1/2" circle template (er, sippy cup lid) to create 62 felt circles. I glued floral wire in the center of each circle and covered the wire with ribbon, then folded them into cookie shapes and stuck a fortune in each. The fortunes were each one word, and were all different. It was so much fun to see what people were getting! Words like beauty, compassion, knowledge, adventure, calm, balance, learning, serendipity, etc. It looks like 2009 will hold GROWTH for me. Who could ask for anything more?I stayed inside and manned the kitchen, where I served Pomegranate and Champagne (sans vodka) to bring abundance in 2009. I used the champagne from our New Year's Eve toast, when we placed 12 grapes to bring luck for each coming month. My new favorite food blog, The Noble Pig, explains this tradition beautifully here.
Papa's domain consisted of the front yard and garage, which was given a new and very appropriate name: The Meat Room. The Meat Room boasted two TV's airing different Bowl Games, darts, foosball, ample quantities of beer (bottled, canned AND kegged), and of course, The Meat, which began smoking at 7:30 am. In our newly finished backyard with our Freecycled playground, the kiddos played tirelessly all afternoon. Even little b enjoyed the backyard, assuming perfect stance on big B's ride. In every space of our home, laughter was the accompaniment to the day.
2009 Hoppin' John for a Houseful
(a vegetarian twist on a Southern tradition)

3 T olive oil
2 large leeks, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T poultry seasoning
16 oz. kale chopped (about 8 c.)
1 box Pomi chopped tomatoes
2 cans (15 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chiles
4 cups uncooked blackeyed peas, soaked overnight
1 qt. vegetable broth
salt and pepper

Saute the leeks in olive oil until tender. Add garlic and poultry seasoning. Stir in kale and cook until wilted. Add all tomatoes, black-eyed peas and vegetable broth. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until peas are tender, about an hour or better. We served this over brown rice, also cooked in vegetable broth. A new spin on a great tradition, and a very nutritious, hearty, aromatic way to start the year.

1 comment:

SwedeLife said...

Yipee for the grass and sand! The playground is in it's full glory! I love it.