Thursday, December 30, 2010

Count Down to 2011

I can't believe that tomorrow is New Year's Eve. Perhaps my disbelief  is caused by not hosting our annual New Year's Eve dinner party for the first time in over a decade. Our Calumet house is just too small to accommodate the old acquaintances that gather to usher in the new year.
Setting the table was always the most fun.
So instead of rushing around taking down Christmas decorations, hauling out wine glasses, plates and silverware, planning a theme and menu for the event and cooking up a storm, I'm left with a simple commitment to bring a wild rice salad and Jack's leftover fireworks and show up at Lynn and Walt's house at 7:30 for the festivities. Jackie and Paul have even offered to be our designated drivers for the evening. How simple. Sounds fun.

I'll save my cooking for the next day. I'll stay in my PJs all day but venture into the kitchen to put together a Reunion Pea Casserole -- really just a pie. It's tweaked from a recipe that was published by Southern Living in 1987 and I've been making it on New Year's day for at least 20 years. It features black eyed peas, a sure source for good luck in the new year. I pretend it is healthy since it also contains squash and zucchini.

Ingredients
1 pound bulk hot pork sausage
2 (16-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried whole oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sliced yellow squash
2 cups sliced zucchini
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 eggs, well beaten
2 cups (8 ounces) mozzarella cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Preparation
Cook sausage in a skillet over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well. Combine with peas, chiles, cumin, oregano, pepper and salt. Set aside. Saute squash, zucchini and onion in olive oil until tender and drain well. Cool 5 minutes. Combine eggs and 1.5 cups of each cheese; fold into squash mixture. Set aside. Place pie crust into pie pan. Layer sausage and pea mixture into a pie crust. Top with squash mixture. Sprinkle remaining cheeses on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. (Make sure crust bakes thoroughly on the bottom). Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Warm wishes for the new year.

 Peace and joy to you and yours.

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