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Good morning GUSanticipators!  Be the first to be prepared for New Year's celebrations!!!  I found some nosh recipes that will accommodate everyone's tastes -- including StateOfGrace even though her special day is now a distant memory.  Excellent flavors and scents to rival flumptytail's perfume collection.  

Black-eyed peas are absolutely necessary to start the new year.  I'll have more good luck recipes in the Tuesday diary.  Add your own favorites in the comments.  If you have any requests for a recipe theme, feel free to suggest.  I've gotten my best ideas from you folks.  I'll be doing a bread making diary soon.

GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are quitting or thinking of quitting, please -- join us!  We kindly ask that politics be left out.  

    You can also click the GUS tag to view all diary posts, or access the GUS Library at dKosopedia for a great list of stop-smoking links. Check it out! GUS library.

    A message to ALL quitters. You don't have to avoid GUS if you have a failed quit.  We won't give you a bad time and we consider the failed quits as "practice" for the real quit.

    Quit Keeper widget which is an outstanding aid for those beginning the difficult path to quitting.  It lets you know how long you haven't smoked, how many cigs you haven't smoked, how much money you've saved.

   Quit Smoking Counter    h/tGDbot.  For those of you who have had a problem with Quit Keeper or want a different counter!


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

New Year's Day Black Eyed Peas for citizenx

I recall in one of the recent diaries citizenx asking for a black-eyed pea recipe from FrugalGranny?  flumpty?  I found this one by happenstance and it looks wonderful.


    6  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
    1    very large onion, finely chopped
    1    very large carrot, finely chopped
    5    garlic cloves, 4 minced, 1 whole
    1  pound  dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and drained (about 2 1/4 cups)
    2  1-pound  smoked ham hocks
    2  quarts  chicken stock or low-sodium broth
    2    bay leaves
        Salt and freshly ground pepper
    1    small baguette, sliced diagonally 3/4 inch thick
        Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving


In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, and minced garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the drained black-eyed peas, ham hocks, chicken stock, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low, cover partially and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Season generously with salt and pepper and let stand for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the bread slices in the oven for about 8 minutes, until golden. Brush lightly with olive oil and rub lightly with the garlic clove.

Drain the black-eyed peas; discard the ham hocks and bay leaves. Transfer the peas to a serving bowl. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve the black-eyed peas with the garlic toasts, passing grated cheese at the table.

Hoppin John with Grits Polenta (also for citizenx)


    1  recipe  Grits Polenta
    3/4  cup  uncooked long grain brown rice
    1/2  of a 16-ounce package  frozen black-eyed peas or one 15-ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
    1-1/2  cups  chopped red, yellow, and/or green sweet peppers
    1  cup  thinly bias-sliced carrots
    1  cup  frozen whole kernel corn
    1  tablespoon  finely chopped shallot or onion
    4  cloves  garlic, minced
    2  teaspoons  snipped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
    1/4  teaspoon  salt
    1/4  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
    1/8  teaspoon  black pepper
    2  teaspoons  olive oil or cooking oil
    2  medium  tomatoes, seeded and chopped
    2  tablespoons  snipped fresh parsley


Prepare Grits Polenta. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until firm.
Cook rice according to package directions, except omit any salt. If using frozen black-eyed peas, cook peas according to package directions; drain.

In a covered 12-inch skillet cook sweet peppers, carrots, corn, shallot, garlic, thyme, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper in hot oil for 6 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir the cooked rice, black-eyed peas, and tomatoes into vegetable mixture. Cook, covered, over low.

Meanwhile, cut the grits mixture into 12 wedges. Arrange wedges on the greased unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until surface is slightly crisp and beginning to brown. Serve the rice mixture over polenta wedges. Makes 6 servings.

New Year’s Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Stew

This recipe is from a wonderful vegan site -- and my only addition to most of her recipes is some salt.  I honestly can't imagine food tasting good without it.

Makes 8 servings


1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1 1/2″ cubes (about 3 cups)

1 cup reduced or no-sodium vegetable broth

1 onion, chopped

2 cups chopped mushrooms

1/2 green cabbage, chopped roughly

4 cloves garlic

3 cups carrot juice (I also juiced a cucumber), divided

2 large bunches of bok choy (about 4 cups chopped)

3 cups cooked black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained


Use at least a 5.5 quart pressure cooker for this recipe. To start, add the butternut squash and the vegetable broth to the pressure cooker and cook at high pressure for 2 minutes. Use the quick release and add the onion, mushrooms, cabbage, garlic and 1.5 cups of the vegetable juice. Bring back to high pressure for 45 seconds and use the quick release again. Lastly, add the remainder of the vegetable juice, the bok choy and the peas to the pot and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes or until the bok choy has wilted. Carefully batch-process the stew in a high-speed blender until the desired texture is achieved. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or vinegar to brighten the flavors.

Creamed Mussels on the Half Shell


    1 cup dry white wine
    1 shallot, coarsely chopped
    1/2 lemon, thickly sliced
    10 thyme sprigs, plus 1/2 teaspoon minced thyme
    5 whole peppercorns
    1 1/2 pounds medium mussels (about 60), scrubbed and debearded
    3 thick slices bacon, chopped
    5 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 medium leek, white and tender green parts only, finely chopped
    3 tablespoons heavy cream
    Kosher salt and black pepper
    2/3 cup coarse dry bread crumbs
    1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


    In a large saucepan, combine the wine with the shallot, lemon, thyme sprigs and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Add the mussels, cover and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard any mussels that don't open. Pull the mussels out of their shells and discard half of each shell. Arrange the remaining shells on a baking sheet in 1 layer and place a mussel in each shell. Strain the broth into a glass measuring cup, leaving any grit behind.

    In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a dish and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet.

    Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in the skillet. Add the leek and cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the mussel broth and cook until syrupy, 15 minutes. Add the cream and simmer for a few minutes. Stir in the bacon and minced thyme; season with salt and pepper. Let cool. Top each mussel with a scant teaspoon of the leeks.

    Preheat the oven to 375°. Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter in a small skillet. Add the bread crumbs and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Sprinkle the crumbs over the mussels and bake in the upper third of the oven for about 5 minutes, or until hot and bubbling.

Fried Baby Artichokes

This recipe is based on a preparation that originated in Rome's Jewish ghetto. It is one of Palma D'Orazio's most requested dishes at her New York City restaurant, Palma. Frying brings out the artichokes' sweetness.


    20 baby artichokes (about 4 ounces each)
    Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
    Salt and freshly ground pepper
    1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    1/4 cup chopped parsley


    With a small, sharp knife, cut off the artichoke stems. Snap off the leaves until you reach the inner leaves. Cut off the top third of the artichokes and trim any tough parts. Quarter the artichokes lengthwise.

    In a medium saucepan, heat 2 inches of olive oil to 300°. Fry the artichokes in the hot oil in batches until richly browned and crisp, about 2 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the artichokes to small plates or a shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle with the cheese and parsley and serve.

Ricotta Stuffed Arancini

I love arancini because they can be stuffed with so many things -- cheese, meat, clams, vegetables.  Use your imagination and personal desires.


    Salt and freshly ground pepper
    4 cups water
    1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying
    1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
    2 teaspoons chopped thyme
    1 1/4 cups arborio rice
    All-purpose flour, for dredging
    1/4 cup dry white wine
    2 large eggs, beaten
    Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
    1/2 small onion, minced
    1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


    In a medium saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately low heat until softened. Add the rice and stir over moderately high heat until it is coated with oil and sizzling, about 2 minutes. Stir in the wine and simmer until evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the rice to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

    Stir the thyme and lemon zest into the rice and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, blend the ricotta with the Parmigiano and season with salt and pepper. Put 2 tablespoons of the rice mixture in your moistened palm. Make an indentation in the center of the mound and fill it with about 1 teaspoon of the ricotta mixture. Fold the rice around the filling to enclose it and pat the rice into an oval. Repeat with the remaining rice and ricotta.

    In a medium saucepan, heat 2 inches of olive oil to 300°. Set a rack over a large baking sheet. Put the flour, eggs and bread crumbs in 3 shallow bowls. Dredge the rice ovals in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip the ovals in the egg, then coat with the bread crumbs. Deep-fry 5 ovals at a time until golden brown, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the arancini to the rack to drain while you fry the rest. Serve the arancini hot or warm.

Make Ahead The uncooked breaded rice balls can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before frying. The fried arancini can be refrigerated overnight and reheated in the oven.

Fried Olives


1 cup canola oil
10 large or colossal green pitted olives
10 large or colossal black pitted olives
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 beaten eggs
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


 Heat canola oil to 350 degrees F. (Drop a very small piece of bread crumb into the oil if it starts to sizzle the oil is hot enough.)

Drain the olives.

Mix flour, garlic powder and chili powder together and place in a shallow dish. Pour eggs into another dish, and bread crumbs with ground black pepper into a third.

Roll the olives in the flour, then roll them in the beaten egg and finally roll them in the bread crumbs. Set on a plate to give the breading a chance to dry and form a crust while the oil heats.

When oil is hot, put half the olives into it, being careful not to drop them and splatter hot oil. Fry until golden brown, then remove and drain on paper towels. Be sure to tip the oil out of the center of the olive.

Polenta Crostini


    4 cups water
    2 teaspoons salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
    1 cup fine grain polenta
    1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
    Freshly ground coarse black pepper
    2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves


In a heavy saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add 2 teaspoons salt and the nutmeg and reduce the heat to the medium. Add the polenta gradually, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk for 5 minutes as the mixture bubbles. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to come away from the sides of the pan, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon thyme and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir to combine thoroughly.

Invert a rimmed baking sheet on a countertop and cover the surface with parchment paper. Spread the polenta out with a spatula into a smooth, even layer. Cover the polenta with another sheet of parchment paper. Place another baking sheet, right side up, on top of the parchment. With 2 hands, press down evenly on the top baking sheet until the polenta is 1/4 inch thick. The idea is to sandwich the polenta between 2 flat surfaces. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Invert the baking sheets together. Remove the top baking sheet and the top layer of parchment paper. The smoother side of the polenta will be facing up. Cut the polenta into triangle about 2 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide. Transfer the triangles to 1 or more baking sheets, spacing them 1/2-inch apart. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of the remaining Parmesan cheese and the remaining thyme on top of triangles.

Bake the crostini until hot throughout and starting to brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and broil the crostini about 8 inches from the heat source until crispy and golden brown on top, about 3 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature

Bacon-Pork Pops on Lemongrass Sticks


    1/2 pound thin-cut bacon, minced
    1 pound ground pork butt
    2 cloves garlic, grated
    1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
    1 teaspoon grated peeled ginger
    1 teaspoon sugar
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
    4 stalks lemongrass, cut into twelve 4-inch sticks
    Sweet chili sauce, for dipping


Preheat the broiler. Lightly mix the bacon, ground pork, garlic, cilantro, ginger, sugar and soy sauce in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Dampen your hands. Form the meat into 12 balls. Thread a piece of lemongrass halfway through each ball; press the meat mixture down the stalk to form a sausage-like shape, leaving some of the stalk uncovered for the handle.

Put the pops on a foil-lined broiler pan and broil until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve with your favorite chili or other sauce.

New Orleans BBQ Shrimp


    2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
    2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
    2 tablespoons canola oil
    6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
    One 12-ounce light-bodied beer
    Juice of 1 lemon
    One 8-ounce bottle clam juice
    1/4 cup hot sauce, preferably Tabasco
    1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
    2 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
    2 dried bay leaves
    1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
    1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into cubes
    1 crusty French baguette


 Toss the shrimp with the Cajun seasoning in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Heat the canola oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once it's hot, toss in the garlic, and sauté until golden, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the shrimp to the pan, and cook until they turn bright pink, about 1 minute more. Remove the shrimp from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside on a plate. Pour in the beer, lemon juice, clam juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, apple-cider vinegar, bay leaves, and peppercorns; bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, until the liquid is slightly thickened.

Whisk the cubes of butter into the sauce, and once it's melted, add the shrimp to finish cooking, about 2 minutes more. Serve the shrimp and sauce in bowls with loads of crusty bread for dipping.

Thyme Gougeres

These ethereal, savory puffs are easily frozen and reheated. Serve half the yield from this recipe at the party, and save the rest for another time. Feel free to mix and match any semisoft melting cheese such as Gruyère, cheddar, or Fontina with any hard cheese such as Asiago, Parmesan, or Manchego.


    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    Large pinch of cayenne pepper
    Large pinch of kosher salt
    1 cup plus 3 tablespoons grated Gruyère
    1/2 cup grated Asiago
    2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves plus more for garnish
    5 large eggs


 Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Bring butter and 1 cup water to a boil in a large heavy saucepan. Remove from heat. Add flour, cayenne, and salt; stir vigorously to blend. Return to heat; stir vigorously over medium heat until mixture forms a ball and a thin, dry film forms on bottom and sides of pan, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add 1 cup Gruyère, Asiago, and 2 teaspoons thyme; beat on low speed to blend. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each egg between additions, and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

Spoon dough into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2" tip or a plastic bag with 1/2" cut diagonally from 1 corner. Pipe dough onto prepared baking sheets in 1"–1 1/4" rounds, spacing 1" apart. Whisk remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Brush egg wash lightly over rounds, patting down to form rounded tops. Sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons Gruyère. Garnish each with a few thyme leaves.

Bake gougères until puffed and golden brown and centers are cooked through but still moist, 20-25 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 month ahead. Let cool completely. Store airtight in freezer. Rewarm in 325°F oven until hot, 10-15 minutes.

Chipotle Guacamole        

Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins
Serves: 4

    3 Hass avocados
    1 Lime, juiced
    1/3 cup Cilantro, finely chopped
    1 Chipotle Pepper from a Chipotle in Adobo can, finely chopped
    1 tbsp Adobo sauce
    sea salt and pepper to taste


    Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and mash with a fork until half smooth and half chunky. Taste and add more chipotle if desired.

Roasted Chick Peas

Can be made in the morning and then reheated prior to serving if you want.


1 15-oz can Garbanzo Beans
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp paprika


Preheat the oven to 400 degree F.

Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans in a large colander. Continue to rinse until all the foamy liquid goes away.

Line the counter with a few sheets of paper towel. Place the drained garbanzo beans on top of the paper towel and let them dry for a few minutes.

Once the beans are dried, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle on the spices. Using your hands, toss the beans around so they are all fully coated.

Place the baking sheet in the oven for 20 minutes and all to roast. After 20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and give the beans a little shake and then place back into the oven for another 20 minutes.

Season with salt if needed once fully roasted and then serve.

Kopanisti (Whipped Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Dip)

Kopanisti is typically a whipped feta dip with peperocini peppers, mint and red pepper flakes.  This recipe is an adaptation.


    10 oz feta
    2 roasted red bell pepper, skin peeled
    3 tbsp olive oil
    2 cloves garlic
    1 tsp Tabasco garlic red pepper sauce
    1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    Salt to taste


    Add the feta, roasted red bell pepper, olive oil, garlic, Tabasco, and red pepper flakes to a food processor. Pulse for about 60 seconds and taste. Season with salt as needed.
    Serve with toasted pita chips or celery and enjoy! Remember, feta is salty so no additional salt is generally necessary.

Spinach Artichoke Cups

24 wonton wrappers
1 1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and chopped
1 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
6 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
4 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray miniature muffin pan cups lightly with cooking spray. Press 1 wonton wrapper into each cup and lightly spray with cooking spray. Bake about 10 minutes until light golden brown. Remove shells from pan; place on a cooling rack and repeat with remaining wonton wrappers.

In a large bowl, combine the spinach, artichoke hearts, cream cheese, sour cream, parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. You can also add 4 tbsp of shredded mozzarella cheese if you’re craving some addition goodness. Mix this together with a fork and transfer to a piping bag or a large zip lock bag.

If using a zip lock bag, trim a medium hole on one of the bottom corners. Pipe the mixture into the cooled wonton cups until the mixture almost reaches the top.

Transfer the spinach artichoke cups back into the mini muffin tin and bake for 8-10 minutes until the wonton wrappers turn a darker golden brown and the spinach artichoke dip is warmed. Remove from oven and repeat with remaining cups. Serve immediately.

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