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Do any of you have any special foods that you eat on New Year’s Day to bring good luck? We always have pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. I don’t exactly know why. This is just a tradition passed down from generation to generation. Pork and sauerkraut is always the first meal of the year. It’s supposed to bring good luck throughout the year. Again, I have no idea why.
In the southern region of the United States, it is believed eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Eve will bring luck for the coming year (some even eat 12 of them for luck every month of the year!). Many families serve Hoppin’ John; black-eyed peas cooked with ham hocks or ham cubes (and some spices) and served over rice. There is a similar dish made with grits instead of rice and called Limping Susan, but that’s another story!
Eating cornbread will bring wealth. And don’t forget the custom of eating greens, such as cabbage, collard greens, mustard greens, kale or spinach to bring the all-mighty greenbacks your way. The southern custom of eating greens can be found in other cultures as well, although the cabbage can take many forms, such as sauerkraut or even kimchee.
Preparing prime rib for two at home
For many families, serving prime rib for Christmas or New Year’s has become a tradition. But what if you want a discreet little prime rib dinner for two? The most obvious answer might be, “Let’s go to the local steak house.”
Be not dismayed! First, ask your favorite butcher to cut you one rib of a beef rib roast, about two pounds worth. Then, pan-sear the rib roast in a cast-iron skillet for a couple of minutes on each side. Then, a short stay in the oven will yield a perfect roast ranging from medium at the edges to a delicious warm, pink at the center. Compared to the traditional way of roasting, be assured that a lying-down rib roast tastes just as good.
Serve your prime rib with some oven roasted asparagus (recipe follows) and baked potatoes.
Lying-down Rib Roast for Two
If you don’t have a cast iron skillet to brown the roast in, then transfer the meat to a baking dish before placing in the oven.
1 rib of prime beef roast (about 2 lbs.)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Allow the rib roast to come to room temperature prior to roasting. This will allow the roast to cook evenly. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub the rib with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, and then add the rib. Cook on one side until it is browned and releases easily, about 2-3 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on the second side, about 2 minutes longer.
Once the rib is browned, spread the garlic paste over the meat with a knife. Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 25-35 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 125-130 degrees for rare, 135-140 degrees for medium rare and 145-150 degrees for medium. Don’t even consider well done! When the roast reaches the desired internal temperature, remove from the oven and let stand for several minutes prior to carving.
Roasted Asparagus with Tarragon Brie Sauce
The addition of the tarragon Brie sauce adds a flavorful dimension to this tasty dish.
18-24 fresh asparagus spears, cut into one-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsps. olive oil
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
2 Tbsps. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon leaves
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
8 oz. Brie cheese, rind removed, cut into small pieces
1 Tbsps. lemon juice
In a medium bowl, toss asparagus and red pepper with olive oil. Place on baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for 12 minutes; allow to cool.
Combine evaporated milk, flour, tarragon, mustard, salt and pepper in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce begins to thicken. Add Brie and continue to stir until melted. Add lemon juice and cook for an additional minute, stirring occasionally.
Place cooked asparagus and red peppers on a serving plate and spoon the tarragon Brie sauce over them. Makes 4 servings.
Carolina Hoppin’ John
Black-eyed peas are not actually a pea, but a legume, and were originally called “cowpeas,” being used as cattle feed. They were brought to the West Indies from Africa and by the 1700s were growing prolifically in Georgia.
Ham bone or salt pork
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 cup long-grain rice
Salt and pepper
Cover ham bone, hog jowl or salt pork with water and cook for 2 hours. Add 1 cup dried black-eyed peas that have been washed and soaked overnight. Cook until almost tender. Remove meat and add 1-cup rice with salt and pepper. Boil until rice is tender and liquid has evaporated.
Sometimes referred to as 8-hour mushrooms, these are great for parties or large get-togethers. Any leftovers can be refrigerated up to a week.
4 lbs. small button mushrooms
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 bottle dry red wine
2 Tbsps. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup beef broth
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. dill seeds
4-5 whole garlic cloves (peeled and cleaned)
Add all above ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 6 hours. Remove cover and continue to simmer for 2 more hours or until the liquid has been reduced to one cup. Makes about 10-12 servings.
Norm Harding is a cooking columnist for the Beacon. To send him recipes, email him at email@example.com.