The New Year is just around the corner. Some of us make resolutions and some don’t. In the South the tradition of black-eyed peas and greens for good luck and prosperity is observed in almost every household. Diets are started and oft times abandoned in the first week and promises to organize and re-do, keep in touch and follow-up are all fresh in our memories.
But the night before, New Year’s Eve, is all about what you want to do before all that starts. Parties are abundant, as are calories — but who cares? Tomorrow is the New Year and we’ll start all over then. If you’re throwing a bash to say goodbye to the old and ring in the new, here are a few goodies you might want to try.
Here’s a twist on the usual vegetable tray.
20 paper thin slices prosciutto
1/2 orange bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 yellow bell pepper
10 stalks broccolini, blanched
1 pound green beans, blanched
1 pound asparagus, blanched
2-ounce piece Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt and water for blanching
Cut peppers lengthwise into thin strips.
Working with one slice of prosciutto at a time, cut the ham lengthwise in half. Wrap a small bunch of peppers.
Blanch broccolini, beans and asparagus in boiling salted water for 1-2 minutes or until bright green; wrap with ham.
Arrange on a serving platter and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
You have never had mushrooms like these; they are guaranteed to become one of your favorites.
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
24 large gourmet stuffing mushroom caps, stems removed and reserved
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound sweet bulk sausage
4 cloves garlic, chopped
20 stems mushrooms, finely chopped
1 rib celery and green, leafy top from heart, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
10-ounce box chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
2 slices white bread, toasted and buttered, chopped into small pieces
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Heat large skillet over medium-high heat; add oil and mushroom caps and season with salt and pepper. Sauté caps 5-7 minutes, until lightly browned and tender on edges. Turn caps up and let juices drain away from caps; transfer caps to a small nonstick baking sheet.
Wipe out skillet and return to heat. Add a touch of oil and sausage to the hot skillet; brown and crumble sausage for three minutes.
In a food processor, pulse and chop garlic; add mushroom stems and pulse to chop. Add celery, onion and red bell pepper to the mushrooms and pulse to chop.
Remove mixture from processor and sauté veggies and mushrooms over medium-high heat another 3-5 minutes. Add dry, defrosted spinach and stir into stuffing; add chopped bread and cheese to the pan and toss until bread is moist and stuffing is combined, 2-4 minutes.
Fill caps with stuffing using a small scoop or large spoon; place caps in hot oven and reduce heat to 450 degrees. Bake 6-8 minutes to set the stuffing and crisp edge.
What did we do before refrigerator crescent dough?
1/2 cup diced pepperoni
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 egg, separated
8-ounce tube crescent rolls
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine pepperoni, cheese, oregano and egg yolk.
In another bowl, whisk egg white until foamy; set aside. Separate crescent dough into four rectangles; seal perforations.
Spread pepperoni mixture over each rectangle to within 1/4 inch of edges; roll up jelly roll style, starting with a short side. Pinch seams to seal; cut each into six slices.
Place cut side down on greased baking sheets; brush tops with egg white.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
For those of us who are on the superstitious side, here is a black-eyed pea recipe that has you covered for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Black-Eyed Pea Dip
15-ounce can of black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
4 green onions, chopped
2 Tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Roma tomatoes (plum tomatoes), chopped
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4-ounce can chopped jalapeño
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least six hours before serving.
Happy New Year!