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We’re Up All Night Sorting Through Black-Eyed Peas to Get Lucky

Photo by Kankana Saxena

There is an old saying in the American South: “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars and cornbread for gold.” True to the saying, hoppin’ John, prepared with black-eyed peas, is served with collard greens and cornbread for a triple dose of good luck on New Year’s Day in the American South.

Chef Teddi Wohlford, co-author of The Sweet Magnolias Cookbook (Harlequin, 2012), recalls eating black-eyed peas and crowder peas for prosperity and good luck. “Although black-eyed peas can be purchased in the canned food section or in the freezer section of almost every Southern grocery store, there is something special and time-honored about going through the black-eyed peas (or any other dried bean), sorting and removing any bits of debris, pebbles or small dirt clods,” she says. In her family, this process of going through the dried legumes was known as “looking the beans.” Once the looking was done, the dried beans were soaked overnight to speed up the cooking process.

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Feast for Luck in 2011

Michael Symon's dish pairs two lucky foods: Pork and cabbage. Plus, his decadent pan sauce is spiked with Champagne.

Coming up short on ideas for a creative and delicious New Year’s Eve menu? You’re in luck, literally. We’ve comprised a mouth-watering menu of dishes from Cooking Channel chefs, each course showcasing foods that are believed bring good fortune for the New Year. Every January we vow to eat better, exercise more, be kinder, or give up whatever our worst vice may be. That all takes work—so a little extra luck can’t hurt.

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