Having grown up in the South, I am of course accustomed to eating traditional New Year's foods such as greens and black-eyed peas. Legend has it you're supposed to eat lots of greens to represent the "greenbacks" (dollars) you will see in the new year, and the peas represent the coins—so make sure you eat many more greens than peas! Ideally you should have some of both, so I have incorporated these foods into my final tea sandwiches of the year.
First, I made a small batch of cornbread mix that I spooned into my madeleine pan. Whatever cornbread recipe you have will be fine, just make sure there's enough milk added so the mixture isn't too stiff.
Then, I made my version of a recipe I found in Southern Living a few years ago for this Hot Collard Dip. I substituted collards for the turnip greens they used, and it is quite amusing to me to watch people who declare they *hate* greens scarf this down because they think they're eating spinach dip and not collards. If you add enough cheese and bacon to anything, it has to be good, I suppose!
And this isn't the first time I've made a tea sandwich with hummus this year, but it is the first time I've used a Black-eyed Pea Hummus. These "spreads" are both, obviously, designed to be dips, so if they don't find a place on your tea table, perhaps they are something you might want to try for a New Year's buffet. Here are the recipes.
Hot Collard Dip
5 bacon slices
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup apple juice
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen chopped collards, thawed
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, cut into squares
1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook bacon in a large pot oven over medium-high heat until crisp; remove bacon and drain on paper towels, reserving a tablespoon or so of drippings in pot. Sauté onion and garlic in drippings for 3 to 4 minutes, then add apple juice and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring well. Add collards, cream cheese, sour cream, pepper flakes, salt and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Cook, stirring often, until cream cheese is melted and mixture is thoroughly heated. Garnish with crumbled bacon and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese before serving. You can also keep this in a crock pot on low if you'd like to keep it warm for a party!
Black-Eyed Pea Hummus
1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2-1 teaspoon cumin seed
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
Pour drained black-eyed peas into the food processor along with the garlic, lemon juice, salt and olive oil and process until well-blended. Add the cumin seed and tahini and process until combined. If the mixture is too thick, add a few tablespoons of water and process until it reaches desired consistency. Serve on tea sandwiches or with chips, pretzels, etc.
And finally, I wanted to say thank you for reading along this year and for your encouragement with this particular project! You friends are an adventurous bunch, I'll sure say that. Also, some readers have asked if I might consider publishing these recipes together in a printed form. I'm trying to find an affordable way to do that (without printing a full-fledged book), and I'll let you know once that's done. Meanwhile, please drop by next weekend to find out what my "Saturday tea project" for 2012 is going to be. It's something I've been eager to try for a while now, and I think you just may approve! HAPPY NEW YEAR!