All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012
The last day of the year. A grim year for me in many ways – a very happy year for me in others. Lost my beautiful 4 year old son, Grisbi, in August.
No explanation for his passing. He died in his sleep – exactly where he is in these two photos. DEVASTATING!
But I was gifted a new little angel – the incredible Memphis Blues.
He has managed to more than fill the huge hole that was left not only in my heart – but in the hearts of my other kids – Dexter & Moxie (shown here very young. As you can see – I have a huge ear fetish).
I also managed to find an amazing guy & managed to convince him I was a good catch, too. Isn’t Miles cute?
Worked a bit here & there, got my film – Bathing & the Single Girl – into over 100 film festivals. I traveled to Oxford, Mississippi and Victoria, Texas and Kansas City and Little Rock, Arkansas and Saugatuck, Michigan and Louisville, Kentucky and Orlando, Florida and Gluckstadt, Mississippi with Miles and Miles came to LA three times. I also went to San Francisco with my parents. I rewrote my novel, got a few more rejection letters telling me how HILARIOUS I am and I started this blog.
I get to hike here for free as often as I want (which I mention here as something I am always grateful for):
And see coyotes frequently
That guy is one of three we watched cross the road yesterday at 11am. Last week – one was following a hiker so closely – we mistook him for the guy’s pet. Anyway – I digress.
I’m getting audited (UGH!) and my driver’s license renewal requires I take the written test again (almost worse than getting audited).
Anyway – I won’t dwell on the ugly minutia because I am too aware – for example – that Newtown exists & I cannot even imagine the heartbreak there or on Staten Island or any one of the other places in this country alone where true tragedies & unspeakable losses took place. Humbled by those things – I still REEEEEEALLY hope next year is a SAFER, better – and more prosperous – year than this one was. For all of us.
So – I revisit the southern tradition – New Year’s Day Hoppin’ John – dressed this time with a little So Cal flair. Hoppin’ john (black-eyed peas) are served on New Year’s Day to bring prosperity. A friend on Facebook added this note to my Hoppin’ John recipe of yesterday:
“As a Southerner from South Carolina—you add the ham hock to the beans as they cook. Remove from beans after having simmered for several hours and shred the meat off of the hock and add back into the beans. If you quick cook the beans, brown the ham hock before adding to the beans—still cooking with beans until beans are done! Don’t forget the collard greens–hoppin’ johns are nothing without collards and hot pepper sauce! Black eyed peas represent coins and collards represent folding money!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!”
The dish here is simply that dish but garnished with cilantro, parsley, tomatoes, lots more diced green chilies and avocado – served over a long grain white rice rather than the red cargo rice I used yesterday. Also – I recommend using a good hot sauce – like Crystal – (not my image)
Or the equally yummy Trappey’s. Or both!
And most importantly – DO NOT run out of champagne!!
HAPPY HAPPY new year to all of you!!!!!!
New Years Day Spicy Hoppin’ John (vegetarian – vegan) with Red Cargo Rice
2 cups uncooked rice of your choice
1 lb dried black eyed peas (or 2 lbs canned – drained & rinsed)
1 medium onion – diced
3-6 garlic cloves – diced
4 celery stalks – diced
1 red bell pepper – diced
1 7oz can diced green chilies (optional)
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo – diced (more or less – to your taste)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 TBS ground cumin
1 TBS olive oil
S&P to taste
2 tomatoes – diced
4 scallions sliced
fresh Italian parsley – chopped
Fresh cilantro – chopped
1 small red onion – diced
Avocado – sliced
Tabasco (or other hot sauce)
COINS (Pennies – silver dollars? Your call) – for placement under each serving dish
Cook your rice according to the package instructions.
If you are using dried black eyed peas – bring a pot of water to a rapid boil. Add the black eyed peas & boil for ten minutes. Turn off heat, cover & let stand for an hour. Drain & RINSE WELL.
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil & saute the garlic, onion, red pepper and celery until the vegetable are soft.
The rest of the steps are the same whether you are going stove top with canned beans or slow cooker with dried beans. The only difference is the time involved and the fact that the canned beans will need almost no water added. The slow cooker beans will need a good 5 hours. The stove top version could – arguably – be eaten almost immediately (but the longer it sits simmering – the better).
If you are using bacon – fry it up & the chop it. If using a ham hock – I don’t know. Do you add it to the black eyed peas already cooked? I imagine so.
Anyway – once your vegetables are sauteed, you simply combine the already partly cooked beans with the vegetables, chipotle, green chilies, cumin, baking soda and S&P with (in the case of dried beans) 4 cups of fresh water (not the water used to cook the beans) – or in the canned bean instance – maybe 1 cup of water. Stove top – heat until boiling, then lower heat & simmer covered until you are ready to eat.
For you slow cookers – I set my cooker at high, covered it & stirred the contents occasionally. The beans were pretty tender after 5 hours. In fact – they could probably take more time if you felt like it but I feared they would begin to break up & look like an ugly mush. Taste – season with S&P – serve over rice with whichever garnishes you selected.