It’s hard to believe that 2015 has come and gone.
In our house it was lovingly called “the year of getting stuff done,” and what a year it was.
Plans were made, money was spent, sleep was lost and time flew.
My 2015: got a new job, performed bridesmaid duties, built a rabbit hutch, put rabbits in said hutch, learned way more than anyone could ever want to know about rabbits, hauled off a literal ton of lava rock from the front yard, developed a love hate relationship with a fabric greenhouse, the dog turned double digits, rebuilt the rabbit hutch, remodeled master bath floor to ceiling, the Husband designed and released his own card game, rebuilt and relocated the rabbit hutch…don’t get me started. And, somewhere in there, I schemed up the grand idea to start a food blog. (I must be nuts)
Oh, we got stuff done alright but somehow the procrastination bug still crept its way in…
2016 and my launch date are a mere 30 hours away, and here I sit, hurriedly clacking away at the keyboard to create my first real post. I’m having flashbacks of all night paper writing sessions, fueled by crappy coffee and a 7am deadline. I always do great work when the pressure is high, which leaves me thinking…what could I accomplish if I didn’t always wait until the last minute?
This year, I’m not going to default to the usual half-assed resolutions revolving around weight, money and impossible goals. I’m gonna take it to the next level in 2016 and zero in on old habits. You know the ones, those little gremlins that sneak in quietly, run amok, wreak havoc in your life and go unnoticed until it’s way too late to get rid of them. Some of mine have been with me so long, they’re almost like old friends. The oldest of the bunch being, you guessed it…procrastination. So how to kill the little bugger you ask? With three things that I have battled with for years: planning ahead, time management and diligence. I have resolved to raise the white flag on this struggle. It’s time to make them my allies. It’s time to send those old habits packing, for good.
So, with a lot of determination and a little luck, I am hoping for a very cleansing new year. But, I’m gonna need all the help I can get, so some Lucky Peas and the Hair of the Dog that helped me wave goodbye to 2015 last night are in order. I have a funny feeling, you may need a little help too…
To keep with Southern tradition and in observance of National Bloody Mary Day, I am throwing out two recipes for you today.
Hopping John with Crispy Rice Balls
Bloody Mary’s for Two
Hoppin’ John with Crispy Rice Balls
Time: 1 Hour
-These crispy rice balls add wonderful texture to this delicious black-eyed pea and ham dish
-Excellent topped with fresh jalapeño and cilantro or chopped tomato
- 1 large or 2 small ham hocks
- 2 slices of bacon
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 tsp. thyme
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp. cajun seasoning
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 cup diced ham
- 3 cans black eyed peas
Crispy Rice Balls:
- 3 cups cooked rice
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- oil for frying
For Hoppin’ John:
- Add ham hock(s) to small pot, add enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Do not drain.
- Dice onion and jalapeño
- Mince garlic
- Measure out seasonings
- Dice ham
- Rinse and drain black eyed peas
- Once the hock is cooked, remove from pot and reserve any meat. Discard any remaining hock parts.
- Cook bacon in a large, deep skillet over medium heat until thoroughly cooked. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Roughly chop and set aside.
- Add onion and jalapeño to bacon fat in skillet, sauté over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes
- Add garlic and seasonings to skillet, cook for 1 minute
- Add ham, hock meat and bacon to skillet, cook 3 minutes
- Add black eyed peas and 2 cups of reserved ham hock broth. Bring to a boil, cook and stir until broth is reduced by half *see notes
- Cover and keep warm while preparing Crispy Rice Balls
For Crispy Rice Balls:
- Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a wide, deep pot over medium high heat
- Add 2 cups cooked rice to a large bowl
- Pulse 1 cup of cooked rice in a food processor until a thick paste forms. Add to bowl with 2 cups rice and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Add eggs, salt and pepper to rice and mix until thoroughly combined
- Shape the rice into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on a plate
- Add rice balls to oil a few at a time and cook until golden brown, turning to cook on all sides. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Repeat until all rice balls are cooked.
- Serve with Hoppin’ John
*The consistency of the dish can be adjusted by the amount of broth added. For a soupier consistency, add 3 cups. For a drier consistency, add 1 cup.
Bloody Marys for Two
Time: 15 minutes
-Shake up this classic beverage in a large mason jar and serve over ice
-Mix up the traditional garnishes and go with green olives and cilantro
- 1 medium tomato
- 2 cups low sodium tomato juice
- 5 oz. vodka
- 2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. lime juice, divided
- 2 tbsp. brine from olive jar
- 2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp. cocktail sauce
- 1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
- 1 tsp. salt *see note
- 1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper (about 10-15 turns on a grinder)
Garnishes: coarse salt, cilantro, green olives
- Chop tomato into large chunks and place in blender or food processor. Blend until completely liquefied. Place a strainer over a bowl and drain tomato juice from the pulp. Reserve juice, discard pulp.
- Add strained tomato juice, tomato juice, vodka, 2 tbsp. lime juice, olive juice, worcestershire, cocktail sauce, hot pepper sauce and seasonings to a large mason jar or small pitcher. Shake or stir until combined.
- Add 2 tsp. lime juice to a plate or bowl wide enough to dip your glass rim in
- Add coarse salt to a separate similar sized dish
- Dip glass rim and swirl in lime juice, let drip upside down to remove excess juice
- Swirl dipped rim in coarse salt
- Add ice to rimmed glasses, serve
* If using regular tomato juice, start with 1/4 tsp of salt and add more to taste
Hoppin’ John and Bloody Marys by whisk&flip