Hoppin' John and Other New Year's Superstitions

Part of the joy of being a part of the food blogging community comes from being exposed to flavors that may be foreign to your own palate, but are mainstays somewhere in the world. This particular recipe for Hoppin’ John Soup is traditionally prepared on New Years Day, to bring luck and prosperity to those who are eating it.

This recipe is a variation of traditional Hoppin’ John in that it is served like a soup. I’m not usually fond of black eyed peas, but I enjoyed this. We usually have pork and sauerkraut on New Years Day, but this may end up as an addition to our holiday table. What New Years traditions do the rest of you engage in?

Hoppin' John

Hoppin’ John Soup
recipe courtesy Saveur Magazine

1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
1 smoked ham bone or two hocks
1⁄4 cup canola oil
1⁄2 cup finely chopped cooked ham
1⁄4 tsp. red chile flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded,
and finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 lb. collard greens, ribs removed,
leaves roughly chopped
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
5 cups cooked long-grain white rice
Chopped tomatoes and scallions, for garnish

1. Bring peas, ham bone, and 8 cups water to a boil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, skimming foam occasionally, until peas are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain peas, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid along with ham bone; set aside.

2. Heat oil in a 12-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped ham, chiles, garlic, jalapeños, carrot, onion, celery, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add reserved black-eyed peas, ham bone, and reserved cooking liquid, along with collards and 12 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until collards are tender, about 1 hour. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Spoon rice into bowls and ladle soup over rice and add garnishes.

SERVES 8 – 10

Roads gridlocked? Have fun close to home

Daily News (Los Angeles, CA) July 11, 2011 The San Fernando Valley’s main gateway to the Westside will be shut down this coming weekend, but don’t let it affect your social life.

Many of Los Angeles’ hottest hangouts – beaches, nightclubs, theaters – might be out-of-reach for Valley residents, but there’s plenty to do here.

Following are a few ideas for singles, couples and families who plan to stay put in the Valley during the 405 Freeway closure period – scheduled to last from late Friday through early Monday morning.

Families Los Encinos State Historic Park’s Living History Day, held on the third Sunday every month, coincidentally falls during the freeway closure. Jennifer Dandurand, park interpretation specialist, said the event still makes Los Encinos a great option for local families to walk to while avoiding traffic.

Costumed volunteers will dress in 1870s garb, play games with children and teach them about 19th century life. The park’s normal self-guided tours of an 1849 abode house and duck feeding will also be available.

Los Encinos State Historic Park is located at 16756 Moorpark St., Encino. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Those who like fresh fare from farmers markets can keep their kitchens stocked and their stomachs full over the weekend with local vendors throughout the Valley. go to website 405 freeway closure

“My co-workers and I were just talking the other day about how people in the Valley should take the opportunity to shop and explore locally,” said Amber Fuellenbach, volunteer and intern coordinator at ONEgeneration, which organizes the Encino Farmers Market.

Encino hosts its market every Sunday on Victory Boulevard between Balboa and White Oak avenues. In addition to food and art vendors, the market has a number of children’s activities, including face painting and a bouncy castle.

Encino Farmers Market is located on Victory Boulevard between Balboa and White Oak avenues. It is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Social Reaching trendy Hollywood nightclubs using the 101 will not be impossible, but heavy traffic could make the trek more trouble than it’s worth. Instead, there are plenty of spots in the Valley to drink and dance the night away. Some are even offering drink specials and planning themed parties in honor of the freeway closure.

Coda Bar and Lounge in Sherman Oaks recently announced its “405 Carmageddon” weekend-long party. Along with the normal late night happy hour from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., Coda will offer three special drinks all night long named after the weekend: The Carmageddon, the Carmarita and the Carpool. Live DJs will be spinning Top 40, 80s hits, dance music and hip-hop, and there will be no cover charge.

“We’re right off the 101, and if you live in any of the closed off neighborhoods, you can just take local streets to get here,” said Farah Casis, Coda’s event manager.

Coda Bar and Lounge is located at 5248 Van Nuys Blvd., Sherman Oaks. It is open from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Page 71 Lounge in Studio City is also hoping Valley residents who normally go into the city will check out the nightclub. Owner Bryan Suckut said he would guess there might a 10 percent to 20 percent increase in business over the weekend.

Before the freeway closure was planned, Page 71 snared a popular Miami-based DJ, Justin James, to play on Sunday night for one of only three shows in Los Angeles. Now, the club will tie promotion of James’ show into Carmegeddon.

Page 71 Lounge is located at 11916 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. It is open from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Theater Valley theater fans will have to plan to see “Les Miserables” at the Ahmanson Theatre or “Shrek: The Musical” at the Pantages Theatre on a different weekend, but venues in the North Hollywood Arts District have a number of shows to tide them over.

“NoHo is pretty active every weekend,” said Pegge Forrest, manager of the El Portal Theatre. “But business should increase because everyone should stay off the freeways if they can.” “Boomermania” at the El Portal is entering its last two weeks before it moves to a larger theater to accommodate sold-out crowds. The musical comedy recaps the fads and events of the 50s, 60s and 70s through six vignettes. Though the show usually sells out, there are still tickets available for the weekend through the El Portal’s website or ticket discounter Goldstar.com.

The El Portal also features a free art gallery open to the public. The current show, “A Passing State of Mind,” displays the work of Lola Scarpitta, whose art is described as ironic and plays with visual cues throughout art history.

The El Portal Theatre is located at 11206 Weddington St., North Hollywood. The show is at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at www.elportaltheatre.com or www.goldstar.com. this web site 405 freeway closure

A collection of seven short plays and musicals by playwright Stephanie Hutchinson called “The Start of Something Real” is showing at the Secret Rose Theatre. Theatergoers can expect a night of light- hearted comedy, said owner Mike Rademaekers.

“The nice thing about a collection of short plays is if you don’t like one, the next one’s coming up in a couple of minutes,” Rademaekers said.

The Secret Rose Theatre is located at 11246 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. The show is at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com.

NoHo Arts Center will feature the one-act comedy “Departures,” which tells the interweaving stories of eight people waiting for their flights in an airport. In one plot line a gay couple is about to leave for China to adopt a baby, and in another a father heads to Iraq to pull his son out of the war.

NoHo Arts Center is located at 11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. The show is at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets can be purchased at www.thenohoartscenter.com or by calling 818-508-7101.

Or …

If none of those Valley locales sound appealing, there’s always what most of the country will probably be doing anyway: flocking to the nearest movie theater to see the final installment of the “Harry Potter” series during its opening weekend.

rebecca.kheel@dailynews.com 818-713-3719

3 thoughts on “Hoppin' John and Other New Year's Superstitions

  1. Twixlen

    For the past three years, I've been making a vat of beans (beps and pintos, in equal parts) and a vat of greens (equal parts collards and mustard), both loaded with porky goodness,and versions of each, veg-style, and inviting over a bunch of folks to partake of New Year's meal. It's one of my favorite meals to cook, period.

  2. Jennie M

    I wish I had seen this version before I made mine this year…it looks so tasty! I like that it's more of a soup and I always love to find new ways to incorporate greens into a dish opposed to just plain boiled with smoked ham (which, don't get me wrong, I love :-p )

    My husband drives me nuts about making it every year because it's a tradition in his family…the problem is that he hates beans! He'll eat like one spoonful and the rest is on me! Last year I smashed up the leftovers and made fried black eyed pea cakes out of them…they were pretty good 🙂

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