Sole-Ful New Year: Taste - The Spa Party Blog

12.12.2009

Sole-Ful New Year: Taste

This month's Spa Party of the Month Theme is a "Sole-ful New Year", a New Year's Day brunch that kicks off the year the way it should be with friends, family and foot massages. For the scoop on pulling together the spa portion of the party visit the first post in the series.

In this post I'll be sharing some recipe tips that provide a new twist on traditional New Year's soul food favorites.


Menu
Black-eyed Pea Caviar
Warm Turnip Greens Dip
Grits Bar
Mini Pecan Pies 
Gratitude Cake


In the South it is customary to eat black eyed peas ( which symbolize luck) and greens (which symbolize money) on New Year's Day. 


Photo: Southern Living Magazine

This "Dixie Caviar" from Southern Living Magazine is a great way to serve black-eyed peas other than the traditional boiling them in a pot with your choice of smoked meat. I've made this before using a slightly different recipe and it was very good. The version I made called for a can of Rotel tomatoes, and I chose to use Newman's Own vinaigrette. Instead of using seasoned black eyed peas, which usually contain pork, I added quite a few shakes of liquid smoke to get a nice smoky flavor without the meat (though I've seen some recipes for this dish that call for bacon). We ate ours with Tostitos Scoops but I do like the presentation above with the endive that makes this dish a bit more party ready. 

Since Soul Food Brunch is the theme, a grits bar seemed like the obvious choice. Grits is one of the ultimate Southern comfort foods, but it can easily be dressed up for a party too (especially if you fry them). If you've never had a grit cake, your missing out. 

To make them: make a pot of grits seasoned to your liking (garlic and cheese is a good way to go) and pour them into a glass baking dish while they are still warm.  Put them in the refrigerator to cool and harden for a few hours and then cut them into squares. Dust squares with cornstarch or flour, dip them into an egg wash, and then dredge in seasoned breadcrumbs, and pan fry until golden.


Not in the mood for grit cakes? Try serving grits in martini glasses rimmed with cajun spice

Photo: Food Network

offer your guests these toppers:
Tomato Gravy 
Shrimp & Gravy
Jalapeno Cheese Sauce


I just think these pecan pies are too cute and easy since they use phyllo cups instead of having to cut individual pie crusts. If you want to play with the filling a bit, I can attest that the Browneyed Baker's recipe for Chunky Pecan Pie Bars is very good, especially if you swap out some of the chocolate chunks for the Health Milk Chocolate Toffee.

Photo: Cookie Madness



I love the idea of Deborah Norville's Gratitude Cake linked above, but would go for a Sock-it-to-Me Cake or 7UP Cake instead of a plain boxed cake.

Well that wraps up the menu portion of this Spa Party Series. The next segment would usually give tips for decor, but since so many folks probably have their various holiday decorations up I'll skip that portion for this month. I will however, be rounding out the series with a Sole-ful Jazz playlist for your New Year's Spaliday Shindig. If you've got any suggestions of what songs should make the list feel free to leave them in the comment section.


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