Retro Recipes and Traditional Fare

granolaSo far I have kept my New Year’s resolution to eat healthy. (Okay, so maybe except for the wine and a little chocolate.) This commitment includes a granola breakfast. (Later in the day, the menu gets very green.)

I have been obsessing about making the perfect granola to support my resolution. I have played with ingredients such as coconut (all formats: oil, sugar, shredded), millet, dried apricots, wheat germ, quinoa, etc. and I intend to continue messing with the recipe just to keep things interesting.

But as of today, I’m eating the one described below. It’s tasty, and makes me feel almost good about the fact that I’m not eating a croissant with jam.

Try it, knowing you can substitute almost everything with something else, if you are feeling granola obsessive. (This may not be the case for you if you, say, have a life.)

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“Eat poor that day, eat rich the rest of the year… Rice for riches and peas for peace.” – Old Southern saying for New Year’s Menu

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Collard greens, black eyed peas, cornbread and pork are the foodstuffs of the South, rich in legend, lore, and superstition. Money or not, every Southern family I know dines on these same vittles for their New Year’s supper. Not too poor of eating if I say so myself.

According to this Farmer, the New Year’s Day menu is a Southern supper at its finest. Steeped in tradition, flavored with history, and doused with a touch of superstition, this meal encompasses the South’s ebb and flow of classicism and eccentricity–a meal of our heritage. Here in America’s Deep South, the cultures of Europe, Africa and the Native Americans combine with their respected refinements and sentimentalities making this meal fit to usher in a new year.

Growing up in rural Middle Georgia, we knew our food’s legacy before it arrived on our tables. This Farm to Table movement of late has always been the custom for those of us raised in a more bucolic fashion. We know our farmers and growers. In his blessings before a meal, my brother-in-law’s father always gives thanks for “not only the hands that prepared the food but grew it as well...” whereas our New Year’s meal is of no exception.

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biscottiWhat is the all-time best dunking cookie? Italian biscotti. Whether it's a glass of sweet wine or a mug of steaming coffee, biscotti's firm, crunchy texture stands up to dunking like no other cookie I know.

Biscotti, (pronounced bis-caught-tee), have been around since Roman antiquity. The name is from the Latin biscoctus, meaning "twice-baked," since they were baked twice in the oven. Originally, biscotti was a practical food; because they were dry and sturdy, they were easily transportable for long journeys.

It wasn't until the Renaissance in Tuscany, that biscotti became considered a treat. They were served and often dunked in wine, such as vin santo. Because of biscotti's hard, crunchy texture, people eventually people began dunking them in hot drinks such as coffee as well.

Though original Tuscan biscotti were made with almonds, today's biscotti come in an endless array of flavors. Some are made with anise, others with coffee. Many are studded with nuts and dried fruit while others are dipped in chocolate. There really is a biscotti to please everyone.

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ImageThere is something indulgent about starting the day with a cup of rich dark coffee, (no cream or sugar, thank you), and a big, warm, moist scone that is loaded with dried apricots and a generous amount of big chunks of nuts and maybe, sometimes, still-soft morsels of dark chocolate that melt on the tongue with each bite.

But, the coffee must be aromatic and wonderful. These days, my morning coffee is French press. And the scone, well, it can’t be just any old scone.

The scones I eat must be my own homemade variety. Yes, they are full of fat. That’s why they are pure indulgence. And, that’s why I make them only as a special treat once in a while. But, it is the fat that makes them so moist and flavorful.

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halibuttomsTraditionally this fish would be cooked in parchment paper, and opened at the table (See NY Times article: "The Envelope Please: Cooking En Papillote") but I find the task somewhat tedious and prefer the much easier-to-use aluminum foil.

Haddock or Cod work best in this recipe and the few simple ingredients make it easy to throw together – especially in the summer when the zucchini is abundant and the tomatoes are at peak flavor.

You can make the fish packets ahead and just bake them when you’re ready for dinner.

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