I have made a few resolutions thus far in the new year. Not many, and not necessarily difficult ones either. Yesterday I wanted to ring in the new year with some traditional good luck cooking, and I was tempted by the multi-cultural take in this recipe from the New York Times. To be honest, one of the things that isn't on my resolution list is to become a better cook, though maybe it should be! I woke up yesterday morning thinking that I would start my dish to serve for lunch, only to discover that I should have soaked my black-eyed peas overnight. Matt asked me why I just hadn't bought canned ones anyway, but I had only seen dried ones at the store. After a bit of research about whether there were any accelerated ways of soaking beans and peas, we came up with the idea to boil them and then let them sit for a few hours in the heated water, and have the whole thing for dinner instead. Good plan! The boys and I headed off to church with some parting words from Matt to "say hello to God for me". Cue awkward moments a few hours later when, at the vicar's house where everyone had been invited for post-service New Year's Day drinks, Blake decided to remind me what Matt wanted us to tell everyone. "Yes, sweetie, I did that already...now let's go see if we can find you a cookie!"
Yesterday's weather was really miserable, and at around 3:30 there really wasn't a creature stirring in the house as all of us were in the middle of naps. This was glorious at the time, and then not such a good idea when later in the evening, Blake had absolutely no interest in going to bed. Anyway, the house was still smelling vaguely of the black-eyed peas which Matt had cooked earlier, and which he'd taken off the heat a few hours before. Or so he thought. Turns out that after our naps, there was no water left in the pot and the peas were, well, thoroughly cooked! They resembled more like refried black-eyed peas than whole kernels. But amazingly they were still edible! This twist presented a problem with my executing the original recipe, which involved boiling the peas in the onion and bouquet-garni'd flavored broth. Although as the quote goes, "within every problem lies the seed of its solution." As it turns out, I didn't have any clue how I was going to make that bouquet garni anyway, given that I didn't have any thyme or a parmesan rind. So we improvised and got out some miso soup packets and had soba noodles in miso, with a garnish of wilted spinach and black-eyed pea paste. It was pretty far from delicious - and probably miles from the intended taste from the original recipe - but it made me feel extremely virtuous, industrious, and innovative in my improvisation. Noah had gone to the door with his wellies in his hands, so we took that to mean that he wanted to take a walk, so we went off in the early evening for a walk around the neighborhood. The boys splashed in puddles, and it was nice to look in on people's lingering Christmas decorations.
I then headed off to the Ritzy to kick off another resolution: to go to the movies once a month (not counting any partial visits, attempted with Blake). I saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I thought was excellent and pretty true to the original novel, with a few key exceptions which you can read about online if you don't mind spoiling it. The violence was hard to watch but Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara gave great performances, I thought. I couldn't believe what she looks like when out of the Lisbeth Salander character - those make-up people deserve some awards for her transformation! I was in bed before midnight, another resolution, and all in all, it was a good start to the new year. If it turns out to be a good year, it could be the start of a new tradition for the good luck that comes with turning black-eyed peas to sludge.