New Year On The Praia

We celebrated the New Year by eating grapes, but in the Portuguese style: twelve raisins, one for each toll of the bell at midnight, while bundled up like crescent rolls standing on the sand. That’s Ano Novo in Praia das Maçãs.

This would have been our fourth New Year’s here on the beach, but for two years ago when we spent the holidays in France. From that first ad-hoc celebration, when we took a bottle of espumante and sat on the rocks with a handful of others, to this year’s festivities that seemed to attract the entire town—the beach is where it all goes down.

First, the logisical reasons. While nowhere near as crowded as it was in the late summer to celebrate Nossa Senhora da Praia, the beach can hold a surprising number of revelers. And the wide expanse of sand, even at high tide, makes for a relatively safe place to launch fireworks. (Bonus: all the water you need, right there. And sand, both effective extinguishing agents.) Of course, there’s no crowd line to bother with—I’ve never been so close to such an impressive display. A second salvo shot from the cliff made for a grande finale.

But there are emotional reasons to celebrate on the beach, too. Our beach isn’t only the town’s namesake, but its heart as well. And there’s a lot more love shown to it now. In the past three years we’ve seen so much improvement in the way it’s cared for, that it makes sense for it to form the center of any party in town.

After downing our raisins and toasting the waves with a cup of Filipa Pato’s 3B espumante, we hiked back up the hill to see how the pups fared, that they weren’t too alarmed by the cannons going off. Nope—fast asleep, the lot of them, dreaming of chasing chickens, I’m sure.

We slept in the next morning, then returned to the beach for a more sedate New Year’s Walk. Cleaning efforts had already begun, and were continued by our three canine scavengers. Then, back to the house for a good luck salad of black-eyed peas and greens (sorrel from our magically regenerating pot of it in the garden), and two Bloody Marys, made international style with Compal Veggie Tomate juice, Smirnoff vodka, Cholula hot sauce, and Lea & Perrins Worchestershire, with Old Bay seasoning and lime on the rim. Oh, and a sprig of parsley from the Random Garden. Cheers to 2019!

Festive Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Tuna, Pomegranate, and Quinoa

Salada com Feijãos Frade Cornilles, Atum, Romãs, e Quinoa

1 can black-eyed peas

1 can oil-packed tuna

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (red, preferably)

Seeds from 1/3 of a pomegranate

Handful of sorrel leaves or other leafy greens, chopped

Juice of one lime

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper

salt to taste

  1. Drain the can of black-eyed peas and rinse. Place in medium-sized bowl.
  2. Toss with juice of one lime and a shake of salt.
  3. Take tuna from oil and flake over the top of the beans.
  4. Layer cooked quinoa over the tuna. It’s okay if it’s still warm from cooking.
  5. Toss these together to blend.
  6. Sprinkle over pomegranate seeds and sorrel leaves. Toss again.
  7. Blend oil, vinegar, pepper, and a sprinkle of salt in a separate cup, then pour over the salad mixture.
  8. Toss and season again with additional salt and pepper to taste. About 2 healthy lunch servings.

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