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Good Fortune

December 29, 2010

I was going to write a piece this week about good fortune foods. The spread on New Years Day laid out with promises of abundant wealth, health, and prosperity in 2011. You know, Southerners have the ritual of Hoppin’ John, that I swear by. No joke, I made this exact recipe a week before my husband got his job offer this past summer because I thought, “Hell, it can’t hurt and we’ve gotta eat, forget that it’s June.” And by gosh, within a month he was a badge-wearing employee again with a direct deposit paycheck that arrives every two weeks. So, start soaking those field peas.

I make Hoppin’ John the way my mom makes Mississippi Caviar—a relish laced with black eyed peas piled on crackers every January 1. Italians have chiacchiere, gorgeous pillows of pasta-fried dough drizzled in honey, and in many parts of Spain it’s custom to eat exactly twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight. I was going to explore the ancient cultural and religious significance behind these foods and their relevance in modern times. Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it?

But, I got buried in writing deadlines, shopping, cooking, wrapping, traveling, and so, well, eff it … basically take your pick at eating pork, fried dough, cakes and breads (possibly with a coin baked inside, or nuts, or dried fruits), herring, cod, soba noodles, black eye peas, or collards, and call it a year brimming with possibility.

Instead of this well-researched gem of a piece, will a cocktail recipe do? What’s ringing in the New Year without a little booze, after all? And I particularly like the walk of shame this drink recipe is alluding to, I mean–what’s New Year’s Eve without a bad decision?

Here’s to 2011!

Redhead in Bed
Adapted from Food & Wine

Makes 10 drinks

3 pounds strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped (use frozen this time of year)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons citrus vodka
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup chilled Riesling

In a bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar and let stand, stirring occationally, until the strawberries release their juices, about 10 minutes.

In a blender, combine half each of the strawberries and their juices, the vodka and lime juice with 1 cup of the ice and puree. Pour into a pitcher. Repeat with the remaining strawberries and juices, vodka and lime juice and 1 more cup of ice. Fill 10 Collins glasses halfway with ice. Pour the drink into the glasses, top each with ½ tablespoon of Riesling and serve.