Hoping-John-lead

Happy New Year’s Eve day! Every first of the new year I make a big pot of hoppin’ john—and re-post this recipe—black-eyed peas and some kind of cured pork, yes for good luck, but mainly because black-eyed peas are an under appreciated treasure. Nutritious and earthy and economical and deeply satisfying as frigid weather pushes down on us and we look out at the horizon of winter with no May in sight. David Tanis wrote a good piece on black-eyed peas in The Times and their ancient history. He adds greens (symbol of cash) and suggest serving with cornbread (symbol of gold). But I like it humble, without hope or fear: bacon is the cured pork, tomatoes and onions for flavor, and beans beans beans. Wishing all a healthy and fruitful new year.   Hoppin’ John Recipe Read On »

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Paddlefish-@1020

  My dear friend Annie LaGravanese sent us a whopping big tin of paddlefish caviar (from Paramount Caviar). Paddlefish are native to the Mississippi basin and offer great roe. Caviar and hen eggs go great together. Throw in a little fat and something crunchy and you have a great bite. It’s definitely a luxury item, but at this time of year when we do a lot of entertaining, it’s worth it (especially when you have a friend like Ann!). And this pie goes a long way. It made a great hors d’oeuvre on Christmas Eve for a family of twelve. We then brought it to a friend’s dinner party three days later where it did the same, accompanied by some generous champagne from one of the guests (the preferred accompanying beverage). And yesterday, Donna and I Read On »

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Scamper-Juice

  Holiday parties call for punch so I’m reposting the post and recipe from my friend Crashy and her Scamper Juice (pictured above with citrus ice ring, photo by donna). But there are all kinds of fun punches out there. Here are a few links with other ideas. One of my faves is the milk punch, which my pal Blake introduced me to the perfect sunday morning hangover cure which of course lead to mondays hangover (back in the eighties, no longer an option thank god.) Herewith a variety of punches and the venerable Scamper Juice. Rum Punch Punch, from the NYTimes Festive Punch Recipes from The Independent Milk Punch is Coming Back Shandy Punch from Heidi Swanson’s 101Cookbooks.com Best punch bars in the USA Holiday punch was out of fashion even in Charles Dickens’ Read On »

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Carri's-Yule-Log

  Carri Thurman has been a friend since she traveled from her home in Homer, Alaska, to visit her fellow Homerian, Daniel Coyle, an author and journalist who’d moved to Cleveland with his Cleveland-born wife—bless you, Dan! (His last book, The Talent Code, is a fascinating look at how talent is developed.) Carri runs Two Sisters Bakery in Homer, and she offers here some fabulous confections for the holidays, right up our alley—proving once again that chocolate, like life, is better with bacon. Thanks for sharing, Carri, and for all the helpful step-by-step pix! —MR   by Carri Thurman “Winter is not a season, it is an occupation.”—Sinclair Lewis Does it get dark there? It’s a question we get a lot this far north. And Yes, Dorothy, it does get dark. Quite dark. Here in the South Central region Read On »

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Turkey-Dressing2

The nice thing about blogging as opposed to newspapering is that I don’t feel the obligation to always come up with a new way of roasting turkey or a new stuffing or a new cranberry sauce or a new kind of gravy. The classics are classics. So, herewith, the way I make “stuffing,” just as good as last year’s. I stopped stuffing our Thanksgiving turkey reluctantly, as the stuffing was always my favorite part of the meal when Grandma Spamer made it. But my goal became a perfectly cooked bird, and you can’t cook a turkey perfectly if it’s stuffed. So now I make what we must refer to as dressing, no matter what Mario says (“That’s what you put on a salad.”). Dressing denotes that it’s stuffing cooked in a pan. And it can Read On »

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