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Recipes from our New Year's Day Open House

I made this soup, bread and punch for our New Year's Day party and they were big hits. Along with the leftover ham, you should be set for a few days if you make a batch of soup and a batch of bread, and both recipes are super-easy, though not fast. Start soaking your beans the night before for a meal the next day.

If you make a full batch of the champagne punch for yourself, you will be too drunk to care about eating, but try it for your next adult get-together.

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STEWED BLACK-EYED PEAS WITH HAM

Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 8 hr 0 min
Cook Time: 55 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 cups roughly chopped ham pieces (I buy one of those big uncured spiral cut hams at Trader Joe's, use 2 cups for this and make sandwiches on buttered bread with avocado with the rest, or just eat it straight. Mmmm, ham....)
1 pound dried black-eyed peas, soaked in cold water overnight and rinsed well (if you use a slow cooker you don't have to presoak - see below)
1 quart low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup cold water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
(1/2 package of Trader Joe's precooked bacon, cut with scissors into little strips)

In a medium stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and country ham. Add the black-eyed peas, chicken stock, and 1 cup cold water. Bring the liquid up to a boil, partially cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the peas for about 25 minutes, uncover and cook an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until the peas are tender. Season the peas with salt and pepper as needed.

Alternatively, you can throw everything into a slow cooker and let it go on low for 7-8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours.

If you got the bacon, you can throw that in right before serving. If you put it in too far ahead of time it gets a little too soft.

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SPEEDY NO-KNEAD NYT BREAD

3 cups bread flour

1 packet ( 1/4 ounce) instant yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Oil as needed. (Spray Olive Oil from Trader Joe's is the easiest)

1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy. Cover bowl with a plate or with a larger bowl placed upside down on top. Let dough rest about 4 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Lightly oil a work surface and place dough on it; fold it over on itself once or twice. Clean your original bowl, oil it, and put the dough back in for about 45 minutes to rise again.

3. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6-to-8-quart heavy covered pot or dutch oven (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats.

When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Dump the dough from the oiled bowl directly into the hot pot. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.

4. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 10 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: 1 big loaf. You can easily double this recipe, just make sure that you use a bigger bowl to mix it in and let it rise. You can use the same amount of yeast, just double the flour and salt.

When you go to do the second rising, split the dough into two equal pieces and put each in its own oiled bowl. Bake one, and then when it is done, plop the second one into the already-hot bread-baking pot.

This is my slightly edited version of the NYT bread recipes from Mark Bittman.
See http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/08mini.html for the original article and
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/08/dining/08mini.html?ref=dining for the faster updated version and all the details, plus photos of how it should look at each step.

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CITRUS CHAMPAGNE PUNCH

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup superfine sugar
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup limoncello
2 teaspoons vermouth
1 (750 ml) bottle chilled dry Champagne or sparkling wine
Ice
Lemon twists, for garnish

Combine the lemon juice, sugar, vodka, Limoncello, and vermouth in a large nonreactive bowl and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, 1 to 2 hours. Add the Champagne and stir to combine.

Serve over ice in highball glasses, garnished with lemon twists.

Yield: about 1 1/2 quarts, 8 to 10 servings

Comments

No-knead bread?

Sounds delicious, but also like a potential Abbot and Costello routine.

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