Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Randy Mon

Plus easy cocktails and appetizers for your NYE party

Ellen Fort and Maya Wong  – December 27, 2019 | Updated December 30, 2019

Follow food editors Ellen and Maya as they share what they’re eating, drinking, and cooking each week. Subscribe to The Sunset Pantry newsletter.

Hoppin John
Getty Images

I can’t decide if this year felt long, or short, but since joining Sunset as the Food Editor in August, time has certainly flown. Now we’re looking ahead to 2020 and I can tell you with certainty that it’s going to be a great year—at least within the pages of the magazine, I can’t promise how everything else will go. To usher in the new year with lots of good luck, I like to kick it off with a tradition that’s close to my roots: making Hoppin’ John, the classic Southern combination of black-eyed peas and rice. Fresh black-eyed peas (they’re usually available fresh in stores at this time, otherwise use dried) are simmered with bacon or ham hocks, chicken stock, onion, red bell peppers (sometimes) and chili flakes and served over rice; I like to serve collard greens alongside, cooked down with more chicken stock and lots of apple cider vinegar. Put a Western spin on it if you like by topping it with avocado and cilantro, dropping in some dried chiles, or squeezing some local citrus over top. Either way, eating it won’t give you bad luck. Cheers to a bright 2020!

—Ellen Fort, food editor

Maya’s Corner

Buttermilk Pancakes
Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Randy Mon

The Ideal New Year’s Day Includes Pancakes and Not Much Else

I don’t have any time-honored traditions for actual New Year’s day. Is that boring? I think it’s calming. Most people want to not have a plan on New Year’s, right? Rest, relax, and unwind from all the post-holiday entertaining. Unlike Ellen’s customary bowl of black-eyed peas on January 1—which, for the record, I’d love to be the recipient of any leftovers—I give myself the first week of the month for my very loose tradition of making pancakes followed by doing something outdoors. (Usually it’s a walk with a friend along Land’s End without checking our phones—not even to take a photo of the view.) Hayden Flour Mills’ White Sonora Pancake Mix is a classic in my pantry, but if I decide to make them from scratch this year, I’ll use this Five-Grain Buttermilk Pancakes with Raspberry Honey recipe. And because I like to have my options, multiple toppings are a necessity: Guittard extra semisweet chocolate chips, banana slices, berries, and butter to slather on top. You never know what type of pancake you’re going to be in the mood for in 2020.

—Maya Wong, assistant editor

More to read this week:

Holiday Bubbly Drinks
Melissa Gayle

Looking for more inspiration? Head over to Sunset Recipes for our winter cooking highlights.