Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Doing the Full Southern

Once again, my New Year's resolution is to flex my writing muscles. As in previous years (see 2016, 2022, etc.) I'll probably write a few things in January, and then the crickets will once again take over.  

Who still reads blogs anyway? :)

I'm happy to close the book on 2023, which will not rank up there with my better years.  But I'm starting 2024 with a healthy-ish little family and a lot of love, so we'll see what the year brings. 

Before settling into a late night of football yesterday, I tried to get ahead in the luck and money department with a Full Southern New Year's Day feast. It was one of those rare meals where everything turned out perfectly, so maybe the luck thing is already working.

The Pig: This Island Pork Tenderloin Salad from Epicurious has been a favorite for years.  I made the wonderful spicy-sweet pork yesterday to go with all the unhealthy sides, and I'll make the salad part tonight to use up the leftovers.

The Peas: Dried peas and the Instant Pot are a match made in heaven. I loosely followed this recipe from Grits and Gouda, but used half chicken broth and half water and added a few chunks of seasoning bacon.

The Greens: This is a good basic recipe for collard greens. I add a spoonful of sugar near the end of the cooking time to cut the bitterness, which I think makes all the difference.

The Cornbread: I wish I could say I made it from scratch, but I used Krusteaz southern-style cornbread mix, cooked in a cast-iron skillet prepped with bacon grease. I've yet to master homemade cornbread that tastes like my mom's, and I haven't yet inherited THE PAN -- a 60-year-old, seasoned-to-black baking pan that is used ONLY for cornbread. It was my grandmother's, then my mom's, and I have already called dibs on it for the next generation.

Mac and Cheese: It doesn't represent anything lucky for the new year, but it was damn good. After years of loyalty to Alton Brown's baked mac and cheese, this recipe has won my allegiance, although I think an extra layer of shredded cheese under the breadcrumbs doesn't hurt. I used 4 cups of hoop cheddar and 2 cups of Dubliner cheese, and it rocked!

It was a great meal, and two great football games followed. It's always a good day when Satan/Saban loses, and if my Dawgs aren't in the championship, I'm happy to root for those other dogs in purple!


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