Happy New Year

To kick off 2007 with plenty of good luck and fortune, the family cooked the traditional Southern New Year's Day meal, including hoppin' John with fresh black-eyed peas, collards (both pictured below) and cornbread.

For a new addition to the repertoire, my dad fried leek rings (pictured above). A sort of take on onion rings — but oh so much better — the leeks were thickly sliced with the centers poked out, dipped in seasoned flour, then buttermilk and egg, and back in the flour before a dunk in hot oil. Fried basil topped it off.

Perfectly sized for one bite, the leeks were soft inside with none of the annoying stringiness of onion rings. It's a recipe I'm adding to the "rave reviews" file.

Hoppin' John for luck

Collard greens for fortune