Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ring in the New Year with good luck

People around the world eat special food on New Years. In Spain, Mexico and Cuba they eat twelve grapes, one for each month, at the stroke of midnight. The fruits are a predictor of the year ahead. If the grape is sweet, the month will be good one and if it’s sour, a bad one. Martha Stewart suggests adapting the tradition by threading twelve grapes on a wooden skewer and serving them with champagne. Martha knows best, so I followed her lead as you can see. I used pink grapes as well as green grapes.

I grew up in the south and we always ate black-eyed peas to bring us good luck in the coming year. The peas look like little coins when cooked, so they are thought to symbolize wealth. They also swell when cooked, another sign of prosperity. Our recipe for Southern Black-eyed Pea Caviar includes ham for an extra measure of good luck.

Southern Caviar

Easily doubled or tripled. Very pretty served in silver footed compotes lined with soft lettuce.

1 (15.8 oz) can black-eyed peas, drained & rinsed well
¾ cup cubed ham steak
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Pinch of sugar
Dash of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 ½ cups chopped tomato
2 tablespoons chopped scallion including some green tops
2 tablespoon chopped seeded fresh jalapeno pepper
2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley
Jalapeno slices and cilantro sprigs for garnish (optional)

Place drained black-eyed peas in a bowl. Saute the ham over medium heat in a non-stick skillet until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Let ham cool for a moment, then add to the peas. Add remaining ingredients and toss gently. Refrigerate for a couple of hours for flavor to develop. Bring to room temperature before serving. Serve with chips for scooping.

This year of blogging has been so much fun and the best part was getting to know each of you. Thank you for your emails, letters, comments and calls. They all bring me so much pleasure that words cannot express. I hope you have a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year and the best life has to offer.

Cheers from My Carolina Kitchen,

Sam & Meakin


  1. Happy New Year, Sam! Hope 2010 is wonderful for you and your family. We would often eat lentils for the new year - not sure exactly where the tradition came from or if it was an adaption of sorts. Seeing your cocktails, I wish I'd gotten some grapes and skewers before the snow started!

  2. Have a safe and foodie-filled New Year Sam. 2010 is full of possibilities!!!Twelve grapes may become a new tradition.

  3. Its 5 o clock somewhere is one of my most favorite sayings ever, and I love love the song!!

    The southern caviar looks delightful.

    Wishing you the most healthiest and happiest New Years Sam, you are a wonderful lady and deserve the very best of all things!

  4. Oh Sam, how adorable that photo is!

    When we first moved into our house in Dallas, a neighbor came over and brought us a big bowl of Texas Caviar, and a bag of scoops! Now you have me craving that, so I am off to the market before the snow piles up too high!

    Happy New Year to you and yours!

  5. Happy New Year Sam. That Southern Caviar does look good. I love Scoops too. I think I will copy your recipe and make it for the Rose Bowl party we are going to tomorrow. Have a wonderful 2010. I love your blog.

  6. Happy New Year Sweetie...
    It has been a wonderful year in 2009 and I can't wait to see what 2010 brings to each of us.

    Oh Sam this is wonderful sounding and so eye candy appealing. I love it. Thank you for sharing with me. I can't wait to try, and I will be stopping at the store for ingredients on my way home from work today. I will be picking up grapes also. What a fun tradition to start in my family. Thank you so much for the beautiful idea.

    Here's wishing you happiness, love, prosperity, peace and good health.

    Country hugs and much love sweetie...Sherry

  7. this is so cool love it

    Have a great new year Sam

    Love Rebecca

  8. Now that I am in the south, I really must try the black-eyed peas!!! Happy New Year. It has been such fun getting to know you. Looking forward to another year of wonderful postings from you.

  9. Sam, I grew up in the north but have lived in the south for many, many moons now and I always make blackeyed peas and hog jowl, collard greens and from my northern upbringing I make pork and sauer kraut. Don't know what that signifies, but I love it!
    Happy New Year to you too!
    Love the photo of the twelve grapes! What a neat tradition.

  10. I love the twelve grapes idea! And the black-eyed pea caviar is enticing and elegant-- but I still have to have my Hoppin' John and collard greens.

    Happiest of New Years to you!

  11. Happy, happy new year, dear Sam. It's been great.

    Merci encore et encore.


  12. I just LOVE southern caviar. You actually make it look fancy in the picture:)

    Happy New Year to you and the Meakin!

  13. I have not heard about the prophecy of the grapes! I will take some to our celebration tonight!

  14. Hello there:

    Your blog truly is fabulous. I just discovered it and cannot wait to read more posts. Also will be trying that Southern Caviar. Sounds most yummy...

    Fantastic wishes for 2010 to you.


  15. I have been looking for a black-eyed pea recipe for New Years and here it is! I shall be trying this. We did the traditonal Italian lentils. I shall eat myself through good luck! Loving the grapes. Off to get some. Happy New Year - may all good things come to you in 2010!

  16. I enjoy reading your blog so much. Thanks for posting this recipe today. We have so much ham leftover still from Christmas dinner so I am going to make your recipe for this evening. Happy New Year!

  17. Sam and Meakin,

    Happy New Year. I learned of 12 grapes from a Basque excange student named Eva Martinez from Spain some years ago. It looks like that is how I will be celebrating tonight. I'm going to hand-pick my 12 grapes this time, so as not to allow for much sourness in 2010.

    Sam, I also copied your recipie for Southern Caviar
    with Black-eyed peas in case I get to celebrate in
    style in the future. It has to be delicious, and it is 100% southern.

    Hello to Eva Martinez, if you are still out there. I hope you are still writing beautiful poems.Your old teacher is still here, still eating her 12 grapes on New Year's Eve.

  18. Happy New Year, Sam and Meakin,
    May all your dreams come true.

  19. Happy New Year 2010, Sam! Hope this year brings a lot of happiness, love, success and prosperity to you and your family.

  20. Happy New Year Sam! The Southern caviar looks fabulous. I'll file this away to make another day.
    Wishes for happiness and blessings in the coming year.

  21. The Southern caviar sounds (and looks) wonderful. Wishing you a beautiful 2010!

  22. Sam, I'm still traveling, but I wanted to stop by and wish you a Happy New Year. I hope 2010 brings you health and happiness. I'll be back next week and things, hopefully, will return to normal.

  23. Love the idea of the skewer of grapes in Champagne...I'm noting this tradition for next year!

  24. Sam, it's funny you should mention this Spanish tradition. Our next door neighbor in St. Augustine observes this tradition as his grandparents were from Spain and did this all of their lives. I got stranded in Central Florida this year (car trouble), so we weren't able to get to Eddie's annual party which I enjoy so much. Sweet Mr. Magpie was stranded somewhere else. But I enjoyed my quiet New Year's Eve with fattening turkey casserole. I made one with half and half and butter. ;-)

    I love the caviar recipe you shared with us. It looks so good. Will have to be sure and try it!

    Wishing you a very Happy 2010, filled with blessing beyond measure. Your blogging friendship is one of mine!

    Happy New Year...


    Sheila :-)

  25. Happy New Year! All the best!
    Great post.

  26. Looks yummy as always : ) Happy New Year Sam!! I'm glad I met you during 09-and I look forward to getting to know you better in the coming year too.

  27. Happy New Year!!! Loved your post and I think I want to try your recipe. Hubs will love it.

    I am having an APRON GIVEAWAY. Check it out...

  28. We always have black-eyed peas for prosperity and cabbage for luck! This recipe looks so scrumptious and great to make ahead of time. Thanks for sharing it and Happy pink week!!

  29. Happy New Year Sam..and Happy Pink Saturday. Love the grapes in champange..and I always have black eyed peas on New Years. I have leftovers..I will have to make this recipe. Thanks a lot for the recipe..

  30. I almost licked the screen! :-)

    Would you believe that I can't find black-eyed peas around here? Not even complaining about real japapeno and the scarcity of fresh cilantro.

    I hope I'll dream of these exquisite little bites of yours,
    thank you for feeding me at least virtually.

    Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!
    I am so grateful I can come here and pretend to be going South!

  31. Lovely presentation with the champagne and the food looks divine. Thank you for sharing, Happy Pink Saturday and Happy New Year too.

  32. Happy New Year from our house to your house. I never have had black-eyed peas for the holiday but I do like them and include them a lot for dinner. Recipe sounds yummy!
    Joyce, IL, USA

  33. Happy Pink Saturday and Happy New Year, Sam.

    I am 57 years old, and I feel certain I have had black-eyed peas every New Year's Day I have been alive. Additionally, we always have pork, collard greens and corn bread. I suspect that we will be having leftovers today because I am beat.

    I've enjoyed my time off, but it is back to work for me tomorrow.

  34. Happy New Year to you, Sam. By "sauce the hate," do you mean "saute the ham"?

  35. Happy New Year Sam! It has been fun getting to know you this year and I look forward to exchanging thoughts in 2010. You have a wonderful blog. Stay warm. These NC mountains have turned frigid!

  36. I lovethe 1st picture a lot! hahaha,...

    I wish you & your husband a lovely, fun, healthy & apart 2010!!

  37. 12 grapes huh? well, I might have to soak mine in sugar to make sure they're all sweet..hee hee. I too ate black-eyed peas on New Years. I'm not from the south but my dad is and it makes me feel connected to my family when I participate in their traditions from the opposite side of the country.
    Happy New Year!

  38. I really like the Martha Stewart idea of skewing the twelve grapes. i will have to remember that :-)
    Looking forward to your posts in 2010. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  39. I love the southern caviar! What a cool idea! The Champagne is wonderful as well. Happy New Year!!

  40. Wishing you and your family a wonderful 2010!

  41. Super idea for black eyed peas!
    And Martha's idea of 12 grapes is clever too.
    Happy New Year to you!

  42. Happy New Year Sam. Wishing you and yours all the best! Love me some black eyed peas!

  43. Sam,
    I hope you have a Happy New Year with lots of luck. We also had black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. Your recipe sounds really delicious.

  44. Happy New Year Sam...hope you had a nice holiday season...the southern caviar looks delicious...what a treat!


Thank you for stopping by.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.