Hoppin’ John, Kale and Corn Bread with Gold Nuggets – New Years Day Lucky Food

Hoppin John on top of Jasmine Rice with Scallion Garnish

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Almost every year, I bake a ham for Christmas so that I can have the bone for New Year’s Day. Of course, this year I roasted a goose, so I had no ham bone. Luckily, my good friend Stevie Lewis, saved me the bone from his family’s Christmas ham. From this bone, I make Hoppin John, and old Southern dish of black-eyed peas, ham, and rice. With it I serve steamed Kale and cornbread.

There is quite the long tradition with this meal. The black-eyed peas are said to represent coins, the kale is green like money, and the cornbread is golden to represent gold. Eating this for New Year’s Day is supposed to bring good fortune for the New Year.

Well, it might not bring any more money into your purse, but it is very economical. It’s a break for all the heavy holiday foods. It’s also very good for you. Black-eyed peas are high in protein, iron, zinc and potassium. Kale has anti-cancer properties. Corn bread, if you don’t put tons on butter on it, is also good for you.

I have been making this meal for years, but alas, the only photo is the one at the top. But, I’ll take pictures when I make it, so if you’re here after January, 2012, there are probably more pictures.

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Paula Deen in Glendale

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Paula Deen is going to be at Barnes and Noble to do a book signing this evening at 7pm. That made me think of how lucky I am to be living here in Glendale, California. We have things here that you just don’t find everywhere else.

This morning, I went to my favorite store, Best Grocery on Maple, and got two big, red tomatoes, a fat slice of smoked turkey and an avocado. I went home and made a wonderful stuffed tomato salad.

Turkey Salad Stuffed Tomato and Avocado

Turkey Salad Stuffed Tomato and Avocado


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Quick Meatless Enchiladas

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Elena's Chicken Shish Kabob - the Number 7 plate - my favorite

Elena's Chicken Shish Kabob – the Number 7 plate – my favorite

There is a wonderful restaurant in Glendale, California, called Elena’s Greek Armenian Cuisine that we go to quite frequently. The rice pilaf is just the best, I could eat it every day. Dinners are usually served with a tomato and green Anaheim chili that have been grilled on the barbecue. Often, we don’t finish everything, so I wind up packing up the rice, tomato and chili pepper in a to go box.

In 2010, I threw together a dish for Teacher Appreciation Day at my son, Spane’s elementary school. I was in a rush, and when I was asked later how I made it, I didn’t even remember. In 2012, the PTA is now putting out a cookbook, and I was again asked about that recipe, so I started wracking my brain to figure out what it was.

Tonight, being a Friday, and wanting to use up left overs, but not eat meat, I remembered there was a box from Elena’s in the refrigerator. I also had some corn tortillas, some cheddar cheese, and a half full jar of green enchilada sauce. Serendipitously, while making this, I rediscovered that old recipe!

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Salmon Croquettes and Martini Caper

Martini Shaker and Glass

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Every once in a while, I make too many mashed potatoes.  Yes, it’s true, even Spane and I cannot eat as many as I made the other night with liver and onions!  A long time ago, I discovered that salmon croquettes were particularly good using a left over baked potato as binder.  I had left over mashed, why not I thought?

These turned out so good I didn’t even have chance to take pictures!  Amber and I munched on them while we sat and talked over a Caper Martini.

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Stuffed Mushrooms in Wine Sauce

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Love Mushrooms

I love mushrooms, and lately I have been finding nice big ones at the local corner store. I picked up six of them and decided to wait and have them stuffed for our meatless Friday meal.

The Nesco is the perfect appliance to cook them, as they do not dry out, and can steam in wine. Clean up is a snap, and your kitchen does not heat up.

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Risotto Rice Balls with Garlic Basil Tomato Mayonnaise

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When I made Risotto with Mushrooms and Saffron on Sunday, I had risotto left over. My friend Josef called me and said he would like to bring a friend over to discuss some business, and I offered to make lunch.

The first time I heard about Risotto Rice Balls, I was watching Lidia Bastianich’s Lidia’s Italy on my local PBS channel, and they looked wonderful! I looked at the recipe on the Internet, but I did not have Ragu. I did, however, have left over Italian Fennel Pork Chops that I thought I could make into a nice stuffing.

I started making my balls on Wednesday afternoon, and recorded a video showing how to make the Risotto Balls. We had them for lunch yesterday. They were wonderful with a toss green salad and ice cold sweet tea.

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