A Southern New Year’s Day: Must have collard greens

December 29, 2013

Collard Greens

Collard greens is one of those things that I kept trying to like, but for the life of me I couldn’t. It never made sense, because I like spinach, stir-fried mustard greens, kale… so why not collard greens? So when I recently made Hoppin’ John, which almost has to be accompanied by greens, I decided to give it another spin. If anything, my husband loves all kinds of greens, so he could eat them. Lucky for me, this time I hit upon a magical combination of ingredients that made me love these as much as all the other greens I’ve fell in love with over the years. I took the preparation approach of an Italian-stewed kale I love, mixed in my favorite dressing approach from spinach salads, and was careful not to overcook the greens so there was still a bit of bite to them. The result was nothing short of fantastic, and I foresee serving this dish a few more times this winter before collard greens disappear. (more…)

4

Hoppin’ into the New Year

December 28, 2013

Hoppin John

Hoppin’ John is one of my favorite dishes, and it’s something that really shouldn’t be confined just to the first day of the year. For those of you who have never heard of Hoppin’ John, it’s a traditional Southern dish made with rice and black eyed peas, and when eaten on New Year’s Day, it is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity for the year. It is generally served with greens. The black eyed peas are supposed to resemble coins, and the greens add to the year’s prosperity and wealth due to their green color (you know, the color of money). Sometimes cornbread also gets into the action, given its golden color (again, the color of a different kind of money). While I’m not sure about all that, I am sure that creamy black eyed peas mixed with the saltiness of bacon and spiced up with some andouille and pepper makes taste buds happy and fills up bellies. (more…)

0

Summer bounty: Fried squash antipasti

June 28, 2013

Fried Squash

Fried squash is one of those dishes that takes me back to my childhood. I can remember both my mom and great grandmother making fried squash, carefully flipping over each circular slice in the pan, getting an even golden brown on each piece. Back then, it was the only way I would eat squash — probably because it was the only way I had known squash! Fast forward a few years, and we’ve simplified the recipe a bit so you don’t have to tend it so closely. (more…)

0

Southern Favorite with a French Twist: Soup Beans with Red Wine

October 22, 2012

French Soup Beans

At the age of 18, I moved away from Tennessee to the midwest, and I had more than my fair share of culture shocks. Most of these had to do with food. A ham biscuit at Hardee’s was made with deli ham, because no one north of Kentucky had ever heard of country ham. White Lily flour was only sold in Williams-Sonoma, and a small bag would cost you eight dollars. Barbecue was most often beef, most often ribs. And in the self-proclaimed barbecue capital of the world, being invited to a barbecue didn’t mean you were going to get smoked meat, but that you were simply grilling out some burgers and hotdogs. And soup beans… no one knew what these were. How was I to explain it? I had no other words for soup beans – they were soup beans, cooked and served with cornbread most usually. (more…)

0

Pimento cheese, a Southern favorite

July 25, 2011

Pimento Cheese Sandwich

For the past few months I’ve had a craving for pimento cheese. While I’ve found it in the grocery here in the past, I wanted a homemade pimento cheese, because I remember it being so much better than something out of a plastic tub.

A friend had posted about pimento cheese a while back, so I asked for his recipe. I have to say while it sounded wonderful, it missed on one main note for me — it called for scallions, the green parts. I didn’t remember any green in my pimento cheese, so no matter how tasty (or how may scallions I have in my garden right now), it wouldn’t do. So his recipe was my jumping off point, and I started tasting, adding, and came up with this recipe. (more…)

0