New Years Hoppin John

Yes. It’s been more than a month since I made this. Don’t judge – says me to myself. Grandma Mary was very superstitious. Among other musts, having hoppin’ John on New Years day is a must for a healthy and happy year. We are it last year but well we know how that ended. Trying it again this year resulted in much better outcomes thus far.

Hoppin’ John

  • 1 lb dried black eyed peas, soaked overnight (or precooked black eyed peas)
  • 2 lbs ham hocks, smoked
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups beef broth (don’t need if using precooked peas)
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Rinse beans, cover with fresh water and cover with lid and soak overnight in a nonreactive pot. Drain and rinse again and pull any beans that are discolored.

Rinse ham hocks and set aside.

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook veggies for 5 mins until tender. Add spices and cook for 1 min. Add stock and bring to boil.

Transfer to crock pot. Add beans and ham hocks and stir. Cook on high for 5 hours or 8 hours on low. For last hour, smash some of the beans to thicken sauce. Also cook last hour without the lid on. (You can also add fire roasted diced tomatoes for a little more depth.)

Pull out the ham hocks at the end of the cooking process and shred with meat off the bone (slice bigger pieces). Add meat back to pot.

Enjoy with cooked rice and comfort in knowing your year is going to be great.

Kimchi Fried Rice

Remember those miso turnips that I made the other day? Leftovers found their way into this kimchi fried rice and it was perfect. Also, if you’ve got a pork chop or steak or chicken, grill it right quick and add that on the plate too. This can be a main meal or just a side to your protein. It’s tangy and spicy and the perfect amount of probiotics. I ate mine with a fried egg on top because – chickens in my backyard are laying, laying, laying.

Kimchi Fried Rice

  • 2 cups cooked Jasmine rice
  • 1- 2 carrots, cut Julianne
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • Precooked veggies of choice, I used miso turnips
  • 2″ knob of ginger, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup kimchi (I love either makin my own or buying from Wise Goat Organics)
  • Canola oil
  • 3 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP gochujan (we use it on everything. Make this a staple)
  • 1 TBSP sesame oil
  • 1 TBSP kimchi juice
  • Toppings of choice (fried egg, nori, black sesame seeds, green onion, steak…all of the above)

In a bowl, mix gochujan, soy sauce, sesame oil and kimchi juice. Set aside

Heat a bit of canola oil in a large skillet. Cook onion, carrots, garlic and ginger. Until tender. Add rice and kimchi and pour over gochujan mixture. Fry for 2 mins.

Note: The key is sauce to rice to veggie ratio and everyone has different preferences. I like a slightly sticky rice with lots of veggies. But, you’re the chef. You decide what’s best for you.

Serve as a side or main. Top with whatever you fancy.

Best Pesto Potato Salad

Spring is here and my belly wants crisp salads and fragrantly fresh from the garden herbs. Winter is hanging on a bit so this salad is a perfect marriage of comforting potatoes and herby pesto with crisp green beans.

It’s a good pot luck hit too.

Pesto Potato Salad

Smitten Kitchen Recipe – no adaptation

  • 4 pounds small Yukon gold and red-skinned potatoes mixed, halved
  • 1 pound green beans, cut into two-inch segments
  • 1 to 2 small garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 bunches of basil (about one ounce each)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons (or more to taste) mild vinegar, such as champagne, white wine or a white balsamic
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (scallions)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add beans; cook four minutes longer. Drain well and let cool, then transfer potatoes and beans to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, discard the stems from the basil and wash and dry the leaves. Puree them in a food processor with garlic, drizzling in enough olive oil that it gets saucy. Add a handful of pine nuts and Parmesan. Season the pesto with salt and pepper. [Alternately, you can swap this step with one cup of prepared pesto, but seriously, I think you’ll be missing out.]

Toss the beans and potatoes with pesto. Stir in vinegar, green onions, pine nuts and season with salt, pepper and/or additional vinegar to taste. Finally, shave some wide flecks of parmesan over the salad with a vegetable peeler.

Serve immediately, or make this up to two hours in advance. It can be stored at room temperature.

Enjoy!