Good-Luck Gifts

Martha Stewart Living, January 2006

Dish out some serendipity to family and friends by giving them lucky New Year's foods. In Italy, lentils are thought to bring prosperity when eaten on January 1 because they resemble little coins. In the South, eating black-eyed peas shows humility and thus invites good fortune. Both are delicious with ham or other pork roasts. For a gift, package dried black-eyed peas or lentils in a jar with a bouquet garni of dried herbs, such as bay leaves, oregano, savory, and thyme. Attach a gift card with handwritten cooking instructions.

Black-Eyed Peas
Serves 4 to 6

You can buy a bouquet garni or make one by tying dried herbs, such as oregano, savory, thyme, and bay leaf, in a piece of cheesecloth.

2 cups dried black-eyed peas
Dried bouquet garni
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Soak peas overnight. Drain. Bring peas, 3 cups water, bouquet garni, salt, and pepper to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until peas are tender; begin checking after 15 minutes (cooking time will vary). Discard bouquet garni.

Lentils
Serves 4 to 6

2 cups lentils
Dried bouquet garni
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Bring lentils, 3 cups water, bouquet garni, salt, and pepper to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are tender; begin checking after 20 minutes (cooking time will vary). Discard bouquet garni.

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