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New Year Traditions

December 30, 2014 - Radio Kitchen -  New Year Traditions

In a matter of hours we'll be turning over a new page in our calendars, as we greet the New Year.  January 1st is a momentous day and many people love to observe it with their own New Year's Day Traditions.  Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Waterfront Kitchen is really down with a lot of these traditions that help us start a new year.

Here are a few ideas Jerry has pulled from his archives.

                Roasted Black-eyed peas

This is a great recipe that allows you to snack on black-eyed peas all day on New Year’s Day for good luck the year to come, especially since you’re supposed to eat 365 peas for that luck to actually happen!

You’re essentially roasting the black-eyed peas to make them crunchy on the outside and coating them in some flavorings. Think of your favorite snack food and go from there. We’ve included a simple salty & spicy recipe, but the sky’s the limit! Have fun and experiment with all sorts of flavor combinations.


2 (15.8-oz.) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 425°. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until crispy and dry, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes.

        Hoppin’ John Salad with Molasses Dressing
               (adopted from an Epicurious.com recipe)

Ingredients for the dressing

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Whisk first 4 ingredients in small bowl to blend; season with salt and pepper.

Ingredients for the salad

1 lb cooked black-eyed peas
2 cups 1/2-inch cubes Andouille sausage (about 12 ounces)
½ cup pickled okra, sliced into ¼ inch slices
1 cup chopped red onion

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl, add enough dressing to coat and toss. Serve on a bed of romaine or iceberg lettuce.

                     New Year’s Day Cookies
        (Adopted from a German Mennonite recipe)

New Year's cookies, also called "Porzelchen" (High German) or "Niejoash koake" (Low German) are traditionally made on the day before New Year's in German Mennonite households. Njejoash koake were served at "Watchnight" services in the Mennonite church and usually finished off the next day.

The name "cookies" is a misnomer; Porzelchen are not cookies at all, but rather a type of fritter or doughnut. The High German name means "tumbling over" because they turn over by themselves when they are dropped into deep fat.

The recipe is pretty basic, and New Year's cookies are fairly easy to make, though they do take some time. Make it a family tradition for New Year's Eve. Kids enjoy helping, though you need to be careful that they don't burn themselves with the hot oil.

NOTE: Before you begin, make sure you have access to a candy thermometer, as this is essential to success.


2 cups milk
1/4 cup melted butter
3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups raisins
1 tablespoon yeast
4-5 cups flour

Scald the milk (heat it until it starts to bubble), then let it cool to lukewarm. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Knead the dough a bit and add the raisins last. Then cover and let rise until double.

Heat oil on medium heat to 350 degrees. Use a candy thermometer to keep the temperature consistent. This is an extremely important step. If you do not have the oil at the correct temperature, the New Year's cookies will not cook properly.

Drop the dough into the hot oil and fry until brown. The Niejoash koake will turn over when they are done.

Drain on paper towels, then roll in granulated sugar.

Option: Make some with raisins and some without raisins.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.