Seeing as half of my family is from the South, of course I grew up with the traditional meal of black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day. The black-eyed peas are for luck, and the greens are to make sure you have plenty of green in your pockets. I would actually love to know how and from where this tradition originated, but that’s a research project for another day. Anyway, I should have posted this yesterday when it actually was New Year’s Day, but you couldn’t expect me to cook AND blog with a hangover, could you? That would be asking a lot.
I made the Creole Hoppin’ John and Citrus Collard Greens with Raisins from my current #1 favorite cookbook, Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen. Everything I’ve tried from this cookbook so far has been staggeringly delicious and deeply soul-satisfying. Buy this book if you don’t have it already. The Hoppin’ John combines the black-eyed peas with long-grain brown rice, shallots, diced tomatoes, and a lot of great creole seasonings. It is hearty, just a bit spicy, and perfect for a winter’s evening. The recipe and even a video demonstration from Terry for his Citrus Collard Greens with Raisins can be found online here. His method of cooking (in contrast with the Southern tradition of boiling the hell out of them for, like, hours) keeps the greens tender but still fresh and lively. His recipe adds just a hint of sweetness and citrus flavor, which I thought contrasted nicely with the heat and spiciness of the Hoppin’ John. These were the best collard greens I have ever tasted.
Below is my recipe for Jalapeno Cornbread, because what would a Southern soul meal be without cornbread? And in honor of Bryant Terry, who always recommends a soundtrack to go with his recipes, I’d have a difficult time finding a more perfect song to go with this meal than Leela James’ “Soul Food.” Get your groove on to this good stuff.
Golden Yellow Jalapeno Cornbread
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup agave nectar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup oil
1 cup soy or other non-dairy milk
1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer, mixed with 2 Tbsp. water (equivalent of one egg)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 large jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 F.
1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Saute onion and jalapeno a few minutes until soft, set aside.
2. Combine corn meal, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Mix agave nectar, oil, egg replacer, and soy milk together in another bowl, then add to dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in onion and jalapeno. Bake in a greased muffin pan* or 9x9x2 inch square pan for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
*I have a cast iron cornbread pan – the kind that makes sticks that look like mini ears of corn. This recipe made 7 sticks plus 6 muffins.