My guest today is Rita Bay. Rita’s paranormal novels are published by Champagne Book Group. She will share her recipe for Hoppin’ John, a New Years’ Day must on the Gulf Coast. Check out the blurb for her most recent shapeshifter novella with Champagne, Into the Lyons’ Den.
Promised y’all a family treat. Many folks in the coastal South will be dining on Hoppin’ John this New Year’s Day. Hoppin’ John is a rice and black-eyed peas dish that originated in West Africa. Tradition has it that Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day will bring you good luck throughout the year. Can’t say for sure if that’s true, but I certainly don’t intend to go without to find out. The recipe is flexible but mine ends up a tad gummy–don’t want no soupy Hoppin John. Topped with sharp cheddar cheese and sprinkled liberally with hot sauce, it’s hard to beat, unless you serve jalapeno & cheese cornbread on the side. BTW, this is one of those dishes that tastes better the next day. Enjoy.
1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas that have soaked overnight
8 cups water, divided 2 teaspoons salt
1 tsp black pepper 1 ham hock
5 slices of bacon 1 large onion, chopped
2 cups medium-grain white rice, uncooked
1 teaspoon garlic powder Sharp Cheddar cheese
Directions: Over medium heat, place the dried black-eyed peas, 6 cups of water, salt and ham hock in a large pot. Cook covered over medium heat until tender. While the peas are cooking, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, crumble and set aside, reserving the bacon grease. Sauté chopped onion in the bacon grease until soft. In a large-sized pot with a tight-fitting lid (iron if you have it), add the rice, 2 cups of the pea liquid, 2 cups of water, 2 cups of the cooked black-eyed peas, sautéed onions, bacon grease, garlic powder and crumbled bacon. Cook covered over medium-low heat until rice is done. If needed add more pea liquid if rice gets too dry. Top with cheese and serve with hot sauce and a skillet of cornbread on the side. Enjoy.
INTO THE LYONS’ DEN (A Shapeshifter Paranormal, M/F, R)
Wealthy recluse Anthony Lyons offers a mint to lure Marie Maxwell, Atlanta’s most sought-after event planner, to coordinate a wedding and reception for a “very special couple” on his isolated estate in the mountains of North Carolina. Despite her sophisticated veneer, Marie’s a tough street-smart orphan without a past. Adopted by the owners of the elegant Hotel Maxwell, she’s been raised in the business. Known for her uncanny ability to “make things go right,” Marie accepts the challenge of planning a wedding for 200 guests in 10 days.
Marie soon discovers that an absent bride and groom is the least of her problems. Her arrogant and exasperating employer displays far too much interest in her and her personal life, especially her lost years. Confronted with a mysterious stalker, two thwarted murder attempts, and dark shadows from her shrouded past, she finds an ally in an amorous feline of some unknown species. But who’s got it in for her? And what’s with Anthony and all the cats?
Tomorrow, ______________________________ Rita Bay