Christmas is really easy for me! I typically go to the movies and then out for Chinese food. Easy peasy, right! Also not so healthy. New Year’s, however is a whole other story. A few years ago I wanted to celebrate the New Year with friends in a unique way. I discovered the story of Hopping John’s! Seriously how could you not love something so simple and healthy. Eating this on New Year’s day is said to bring wealth and prosperity to you and your family. I thought it was a perfect new tradition to impart. I called a few friends, who were excited to participate. Each brought something to share, because that is how we roll in Seattle. A couple bottles of wine showed up, some really good bread and a dessert.
Hopping Johns is traditionally collard greens with black eyed peas. I had found the idea and the recipe on Post Punk Kitchen. I found her take to be spectacular. In fact I incorporated the liquid smoke into most of my bean recipes since. Liquid smoke used to scare the crap out of me. What exactly is it? Well depending on brand it could be a chemical concoction or it could simply be smoke rehydrated in a distillation unit. I prefer the latter. What liquid smoke does for any vegetarian’s life is elevate it to amazing! Often beans are cooked with a pork hock or bacon, by using liquid smoke you get the smoking amazing taste without the fat or the pork.
I love this recipe so much that I have included it for you. I will not be able to have this meal with my friends this year, but I hope that they continue to carry on the tradition and maybe I can video chat with them. The best part about this tradition: it stays within the idea of local seasonal diet, if you use sundried or canned tomatoes.