On New Year's Day, Nick, Louisa and I headed out to visit Louisa's parents and sister for a New Year's feast. In true Southern fashion, Louisa and her parents prepared collard greens, cornbread and, of course, black-eyed peas. (Black-eyed peas bring you luck in the New Year, and Louisa's mom Jan says that even "one spoonful is enough.")
It was a truly wonderful meal. The peas were sweet and tender, and especially good when topped with hot sauce - we had multiple choices on the table, including Sriracha, Tapatio and Tabasco. This is a family that takes its condiments seriously. The collards - which Louisa made using The Gourmet Cookbook's stupendous recipe - were insane. Chock-full of bacon and touched with cider vinegar, they are luxuriously delicious.
We spread butter and pepper jelly on our cornbread (and then ate the leftovers with local honey the next morning), but my favorite thing of all might have been the incredible pork roast George made. He and Jan wanted to make something out of the Zuni Cafe Cookbook, which I'd given them for Christmas. Judy Rodgers calls this roast "mock Porchetta," and it's easy to see why: the seasonings she uses (capers, lemon, rosemary, fennel) echo the flavors of a traditional Italian pig roast. Jan and George roasted vegetables alongside, and the whole thing was just so good. Tender, rich and full of amazing porky flavor.
There was salt pork in the cornbread, too, which means we managed to pork up all but one dish out of four - a highly auspicious beginning to 2011, if you ask me.