Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Eyes Have It!

The Owlery is getting ready for New Year's, and my annual Seeing-In-The-New-Year party. I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed my "Williamsburg" Christmas, with handmade decorations, pomanders, gingerbread, cedar garlands, bay leaves, pinecones. The house still smells good. The holiday was more quiet and reflective, and a breath of fresh air. I am keeping all of the decor up until January 6 (Epiphany), but adding a bit of glitz to the scene in honor of 2012. I'm planning my menu, with small savory snacks, and more desserts, champagne and the Vasilopita (Greek New Year's/St. Basil's bread) to be cut at midnight with friends and family. Who will get the gold coin this year?!?!

One thing I will be serving is the traditional Black Eye Pea soup, always served on December 31st, as a good luck offering. I started looking up its history, and here goes:
The pea is small and pale beige with its black "eye", (a subspecies of the cowpea). It originally came from West Africa, later widely grown in Asia. It was first introduced into the Southern United States as early as the 17th Century, but took a firmer hold in Florida and the Carolinas during the 18th Century, and reached Virginia in full force following the American Revolution.

The soup, made with the peas, onions, carrots, salt, pepper, vegetable or chicken broth,  (and collard greens and ham, if you like Soul Food, Yumm!), is said to bring properity! Who doesn't want that?!

I have been soaking the peas since last evening, and will be making the soup tonight, to let it mellow a bit, flavors congeal, before serving. It is one of my favorite, tasty, hearty soups, and I say, "The eyes have it!"

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