This year I decided to try new recipes for my New Year’s Day dinner. Risky, I know, given how important following the food rules are. But that doesn’t mean I can’t branch out within the rules. Every year, for my entire life (and I’m not exaggerating), my New Year’s Day dinner has consisted of ham, black-eyed peas from a can, green beans, and some potato dish (mashed, scalloped, gratin, etc.). Every year.
I want this year, 2008, to be different than the past few years have been. Really. The past three or so have been a bit rough in a variety of ways, and I want some things to change. So I decided to start with my New Year’s Day meal. I know it sounds strange, but you have to start somewhere. I guess I’m hoping that if I change the meal on the first day so it’s different than the past years, the year will be different as well.
So I varied my meal as much as the rules allowed. I still had black-eyed peas for change, but instead of canned I purchased fresh in the produce section. They do taste a bit different, and are less mushy, but still delightful with ketchup (it’s an acquired taste) and the leftovers I’ve discovered are quite good on salads.
For my meat, remember, the rules state nothing that scratches backwards, so no chicken or turkey. That left beef, lamb, or some pork product. So I went with a marinated pork loin instead of ham. I’m not very good at cooking beef unless it’s ground (always ends up overdone…I need more practice), so I eliminated that. I wanted to get some lamb, but the cuts available just didn’t look very good. So I went with pork loin. I decided on one infused with apple-bourbon flavor. It was delicious. And just as tasty the next day.
Where I really went in a different direction was with the greens for money. It’s always been green beans, but actually any greens will do. It’s just important to eat a big pile of greens so you get your green. So I decided to try a new recipe. Bacon and brown sugar braised collard greens. My mouth watered when I read the recipe title (it’s watering again now). I carefully inspected the recipe to make sure it violated no rule. Looked good, no violations (it uses water instead of chicken broth). So I purchased a big bag of prewashed and torn collard greens and two thick-cut slices of bacon. Brown the bacon, add and saute some onion and garlic, then add in water, pepper, brown sugar, and a bit of vinegar, and finally add the greens and cook for about an hour. OMG they are so yummy. Sweet and spicy and savory all at once. I’m still enjoying the leftovers.
I really hope how successful the 2008 New Year’s Day meal was is telling of how this year is going to be different.