Friday, January 01, 2021

Hoppin' John for 2021


Not leaving anything to chance for this new year, I actually stayed awake until midnight last night: and made the family eat a spoonful of Hoppin' John. to make sure we have good luck this year.   We are at the lakehouse, so I got some black eyed peas the Keweenaw Coop, which I just joined in preparation for our move north for good in March.    Besides the usual coop stuff, members are able to order in bulk of items they want, even if the store doesn't carry them.   I realized I had to join if I was going to be able to find what I need locally here in the Copper Country.   For example Nueske's bacon.   I've been spoiled by having Nueske's bacon at the ready anytime I want in Ann Arbor.   I was thrilled to discover the Keweenaw Coop carried it.   I also got some dried black eyed peas and the texture was great.   I'm sure they go through their stock quicker than the regular grocery store.   I also added some kale this year because if there was ever a need for kale in the world, now is the time!  And since I had some red onion and hothouse tomatoes, I decided to top it with some fresh vegetables.   My New Years Resolution this year (as it is every year, I think) is to EAT MORE VEGETABLES.  

2021 Hoppin' John 

1 lb. black eyed peas

1/2 lb. bacon, diced

2 large onions, diced

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 t. cayenne pepper (more or less depending on your spice tolerance, we like things spicy)

Ham bone or a smoked ham hock (I used the last of the Dearborn Ham I made for Christmas)

1 bunch (or more) of kale, stemmed and cut into 1 inch  pieces

kosher salt to taste

Optional garnishes:  diced tomato, red onion, bell peppers, etc

Soak beans overnight in enough water  and a couple tablespoons of kosher salt to cover then by a couple inches. In a dutch oven, brown bacon and drain off fat, add onions and saute until soft. Add garlic and saute further until fragrant. Don't burn it. Add cayenne . Add ham bone, beans, and  water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil and then turn stove down to low and cook beans until tender, 1-2 hours.   Remove ham bone or hock and dice up meat and add back to pot along with the kale.   Heat until kale is tender.  Season with salt as needed. Garnish with vegetables.

The start of 2021 is going to be a different one for me.  Usually I spend New Year's Day trying to dig out of work email and getting ready to head back to the office.    I also used to bring leftover Hoppin' John to work for lunches.   But this year, today officially marks the first day of my retirement!  I'm happily free of that typical New Year's Day dread, thinking ahead of all the work that needs to get done.   I would count the days (and they seemed to crawl) until the long MLK weekend.    January was always such a busy time at work because we had to performance reviews and the auto show and getting back to it all.   

It feels odd that there is no longer a winter auto show!  For an automotive engineer, going to the industry preview was the equivalent of attending your high school reunion.  The industry preview days were for us to go in and benchmark the competition.   There was no fancy cocktails and entertainment and tuxedos like the glamorous Auto Show Preview (aka the "Auto Prom"):

Andy and me at the Auto Show Preview aka Auto Prom

Instead it was a lot of laying on the ground under vehicles and taking pictures for us chassis engineers.    It was where you run into everyone you've ever worked with over the course of your career.   It was a nerdy "Old Home Day" for automotive geeks like me.  The auto business gets to be a rather small world after you've done it for 30+ years

Me proud of my work on tires and wheels on the 2015 F150

We'd all end up going out to lunch or a happy hour downtown after and get to hang out with people we don't get to see very often.    Time to catch up and find out who is doing what?  I am wondering now that the Detroit Auto Show is moving outside and in the summer if that will happen anymore?  Regardless, it wouldn't be a part of my life anymore anyway.   

Today's New Year's Day lacks the usual dread!  I've got plans to do a little snowshoeing with old friends and then a New Year bonfire with our lakehouse neighbors.  Happy 2021!


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Congratulations on your retirement, Neighbor. Jim Cikalo