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New Year Lucky Food in America

Happy Healthy Holidays!

There is a Southern saying that dictates eating habits for the US New Year: "Eat poor on New Year's, eat fat the rest of the year." A traditional Southern New Year's meal includes ham, corn bread, black-eyed peas and collard greens. Both black eyed peas and collard greens are considered especially lucky additions. Black eyed peas are thought to bring wealth because they look like little coins, in addition to the fact that they swell when cooked, which is a sure sign of prosperity.

Hoppin' John

1-1/2 cups blackeye peas
1 pound ham hocks
1 chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups water
1-1/2 cup long-grain white rice
1 cup shredded smoked Cheddar cheese

Blackeye peas In a large pat place the peas, ham hock, onion, red pepper, salt and pepper. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 1-1/2 hours.

Remove ham hock and cut meat into pieces. Return meat to pot. Stir in the rice, cover and cook until rice is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle shredded cheese over top, if desired. Serve.

Recipe makes 4 to 6 servings.

Collard Greens

Collard GreensSouthern-comfort luck food!

6 ounces salt pork
8 cups water
Salt to taste
2 bunches collard greens
1/2 cup cider vinegar
4 teaspoons white sugar

Place the pork, water and salt in a medium size pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Skim off any fat that rises to the top. Reduce temperature to low and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare greens. Discard damaged or yellow parts of leaves. Cut away the tough ends from each leaf. Place greens in a colander, and wash thoroughly until rinse water is clear of dirt. Fold each leaf in half at its center vein, fold over once or twice more, then cut in half.

Stir prepared greens into the simmering liquid. Let simmer all together for approximately 1 hour over low heat. Ladle into shallow bowls, and add sugar and cider vinegar to each bowl. Serve. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Cornbread

CornbreadOld style cornbread that is baked in iron skillet and rises very little. Grainy, not cakey, texture.

1 cup buttermilk
1 cup stone ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 tablespoon shortening

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Melt the shortening in one 9 inch round iron skillet in the heating oven. Stir the cornmeal, salt and baking soda together. Add the egg and buttermilk and mix well. Remove skillet from the oven and pour the batter into the skillet, stirring the melted shortening into the batter. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven when top of cornbread is brown and turn out on to a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve immediately with butter.

Honey Glazed Ham

Ham PlatterThis ham tastes very much like the famous honey baked ham but costs much less, and there's no need to fight the crowds at holiday time. You can even buy the ham presliced to make it easier and more like the original. It is very good.

5 pounds ready to eat ham
1/4 cup whole cloves
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
2 cups honey
2/3 cup butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Score ham, and stud with the whole cloves. Place ham in foil lined pan. In the top half of a double boiler, heat the corn syrup, honey and butter. Keep glaze warm while baking ham. Brush glaze over ham, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Baste ham every 10 to 15 minutes with the honey glaze. During the last 4 to 5 minutes of baking, turn on broiler to caramelize the glaze. Remove from oven, and let sit a few minutes before serving.

New Year's Fact

Champagne To claim that champagne is a lucky tradition of France would not do champagne justice.

Champagne is a force beyond one country's borders -- it is drunk not only in France, its country of origin, but also around the world on New Year's Eve.

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