Tag Archives: collard greens

Weekly Menus: New Year’s Edition

Gentle Readers, the end of the year is nigh, and pork is in the air. Well, I am Southern, and that is a capital “S.” It just can’t be New Year’s Day without pork, greens, and black-eyed peas. This year we are going to experience this at scale, more on that later in the week.

A traditional vegetarian New Year's meal: collard greens, black-eyed peas, salad, and cheese pizza.

A traditional vegetarian New Year’s meal: collard greens, black-eyed peas, salad, and cheese pizza.

This past week has been an eating bonanza, but it’s time to buckle down and get back in the kitchen. Here’s what that looks like, with weekly menus:

Weekly Menus: 12/30/2012

Weekly Menus: 12/30/2012

The Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery List: 12/30/2012

The Four-Square Grocery List: 12/30/2012

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Pasta and Salad
Feeding kids, will probably be cheese tortellini with sauce. Side of protein. Extra salad.

Tortellini with Pesto and Tomatoes

Tortellini with Pesto and Tomatoes

Monday: Salmon and Green Veg
Simple and complete. Side of quinoa or couscous for a quick meal before the partying begins.

Salmon Cravings Inspired by This Dish!

Salmon Cravings Inspired by This Dish!

Tuesday: Pork, Black-eyed Peas, Collard Greens
Potentially I’ll do Hoppin’ John for the Jrs, as I can easily make that vegetarian friendly.

Simplified Hoppin' John

Simplified Hoppin’ John

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner
Pumpkin-Apple Pancakes with Fauxsage or Grits and Eggs. To be determined.

Fall Harvest Pancakes: Pumpkin Pancakes with Apples and Pecans

Fall Harvest Pancakes: Pumpkin Pancakes with Apples and Pecans

Thursday: Mexican
Nacho, nacho time!

Friday: Polenta Surprise
This time, major mushroom edition. The Jrs just discovered how many mushroom types there were in the world. Game on.

Saturday: Dine Out!
We’re going to conquer another cuisine of the world. Not sure which one. All suggestions welcome.

What’s on your holiday recovery menu? Post a comment below, or Tweet it out for the world to see.

Send your resolutions, pork, and black eyed peas to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up Wednesday: Three Salad Ideas for the New Year

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Collards Recipe for Haters: Two Ways (vegetarian and omnivorous)

Gentle Readers, as you are hopefully aware by this point, The Practical Cook is deeply Southern, right down to her collard-loving roots. She is aware that not everyone shares this passion. Frankly, they can be too collardy in the wrong hands. Or for our vegetarian friends, so laden with pork products that they more closely resemble green barbecue than a vegetable. Fear not, this recipe will convert the most die-hard collard hater.

Collards No One Dares to Hate: Smoked Turkey Edition

Collards No One Dares to Hate: Smoked Turkey Edition

Collards Recipe for Haters: Two Ways (Vegetarian and Omnivorous)

If you’ve never been able to eat a collard, this is the one recipe for you, vegetarians included. Thanks to the yearly Algonquin Books Holiday Party (a serious culinary event), a colleague won everyone over and shared. Recipe is easily doubled or tripled for the collard converts. Every time I make this for somebody, they say, “those don’t taste like collards.”

1 bunch collard greens
1/2 cup smoked turkey meat (wings or legs), chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (go lighter if you use very fresh pepper or are feeding a younger set)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil

1. Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.

The 8-quart pot I use for blanching a double-recipe of collards.

The 8-quart pot I use for blanching a double-recipe of collards.

2.Remove the collard stems (I cut them out). Roll up 4 or 5 leaves at a time, slicing them as you would a cheese roll or pinwheel, about 1/4 inch wide.

Step 1: Put the collard leaf flat on the cutting board.

Step 1: Put the collard leaf flat on the cutting board.

Using a sharp knife, slice out the collard stem.

Step 2: Using a sharp knife, slice out the collard stem.

Repeat until you have a really large stack of fluffy, stemless collard leaves.

Step 3: Repeat until you have a really large stack of fluffy, stemless collard leaves.

Take a stack of 7 to 10 collard leaves, roll them up, and slice them into 1/4-inch strips.

Step 4: Take a stack of 7 to 10 collard leaves, roll them up, and slice them into 1/4-inch strips.

3. Soak sliced collards in cold water, agitating the water like a collard laundromat, soaking thoroughly and rinsing until they’re clean.

Collards puff up when you soak them!

Collards puff up when you soak them!

4. Once the water is boiling add a healthy dose of salt (at least a teaspoon), add the collards, wait until the water boils again, then turn the head down to medium and cover. Cook the collards for 20 minutes; the timing depends on how soggy you like them.

Chopping the smoked turkey, green onions, and red pepper flakes together helps meld the flavors and make the chunks more uniform.

Chopping the smoked turkey, green onions, and red pepper flakes together helps meld the flavors and make the chunks more uniform.

5. While the collards are blanching, chop the turkey wings (meat only, discard the skin), the onions, the garlic, and the red pepper together. Saute the mixture in a large skillet in the olive oil over medium heat. When the collards are done, drain them and add them to the turkey mixture in the skillet. Mix together thoroughly, cover the pan, and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes at medium heat, stirring often and salting to taste.

Saute collards and taste for seasoning until they're done. The turkey adds saltiness, so taste before adding more.

Saute collards and taste for seasoning until they're done. The turkey adds saltiness, so taste before adding more.

Best served warm with cornbread.

VEGETARIAN COLLARDS VERSION: This delicious alternative turned out so well I’ll have to decide which version I want to make from here on out. Omit turkey and substitute 1 Parmesan rind (if you don’t save them, for the love of pete, start now, wrap ’em up for the freezer), adding it to the pan with the green onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes. No need to chop it up. Add a bit of extra full-flavor olive oil at the end to finish the dish. If you don’t have a rind, grate Parmesan on at the end, but it won’t be as flavorful.

Add the Parmesan rind with the green onions, garlic, and red pepper.

Add the Parmesan rind with the green onions, garlic, and red pepper.

The Parmesan permeates and flavors the vegetarian version of Collards for Haters Recipe.

The Parmesan permeates and flavors the vegetarian version of Collards for Haters Recipe.

Where do you stand in the collards war? Post a comment below! It’s a new year, time to start out with a bold stance.

Email unsolicited advice, blog topic suggestions, and food pictures to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, Simple Seasonal Salad with a Moroccan Twist.

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New Year’s Day Menu

Gentle Readers, right now, The Practical Cook should be cleaning. There are dishes to be washed, floors to be mopped, laundry to be done. However, that will have to wait. Tomorrow is going to show up regardless, and you’ll note there was no resolution at all regarding housecleaning. And I’m distracted by an idea I haven’t had the chance to work through just yet, a black-eyed pea croquette. Why do I have peas on the brain?

My New Year's Meal last year, before I started taking pictures of my dinner regularly. Forgive me.

My New Year's Meal last year, before I started taking pictures of my dinner regularly. Forgive me.

Like many a Southerner, I was wheeling a cart full of collards and black eyed peas around the grocery store today. For as long as I can remember, on New Year’s Day, I’ve eaten black eyed peas, collard greens (or greens of some ilk), and pork. Lots of people go with Hoppin’ John as a way to knock most of that out at once, I’ve done every possible combo, except fried.

Unfortunately, I won’t have the recipe for Deep-Fried Hoppin’ John perfected in time to share it before the new year this year. Thanks for your patience. While you wait, here is my menu:

Black-Eyed Peas, made from Bill Smith’s recipe in Seasoned in the South.

Black-Eyed Peas in the RInse Cycle

Black-Eyed Peas in the Rinse Cycle

Collards for Haters, recipe courtesy of Jet magazine by way of a colleague. (I’ve adapted it some, the secret is smoked turkey wings. Will blog about it next week after I make it!)

It is a joke to try to stuff collards into little grocery store bags. No one puts collards in the corner.

It is a joke to try to stuff collards into little grocery store bags. No one puts collards in the corner.

Pork, sometimes ribs, sometimes pork chops, sometimes ham. This year it will be sausage.

Sausage, greens, and pierogie

Sausage, greens, and pierogie

Cornbread, because it’s cornbread.

Cornbread is the Southern staff of life.

Cornbread is the Southern staff of life.

For those not familiar with the traditions, each item stands for prosperity in the new year. I’m always getting them confused, but I think (or at least was raised to believe, yeah, I’m tossing this one back to The Practical Cook’s Mom) the peas symbolize money (like coins, but I’ve also heard luck for them), the collards luck (I’ve heard money for greens, too, like green), and the pork health. Cornbread is again just because I like to make and eat cornbread and it goes with everything. I really like the part where pork = health.

What are your culinary traditions around New Year’s? Send a picture, post a comment, Tweet! Look forward to hearing from you, because I feel certain several Gentle Readers have resolved to comment in 2o12.

What would you like to see covered in the blog in 2012? Email questions and requests to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, the first Weekly Menus of 2012!

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Filed under Fried, Kitchen Philosophy

Friday Night Lights

Just keeping with the football theme here. In our house, when dinner does not proceed according to plan, we punt. Perhaps an ingredient is missing, has gone bad, or wasn’t quite what was expected. Maybe the Practical Cook just wants to get through the meal without convincing everyone to try something new.

Whatever the reasons are, they are most likely valid ones. The only invalid response is just throwing in the dish towel and walking out of the kitchen forever. No, you must fight back! Drop the phone, do not call for a pizza. It’s time to punt.

On Friday, the meal plan called for a one-skillet meal using sausage, tomatoes, greens, and gnocchi. The tomatoes were still frozen, I didn’t feel like cutting up the sausage, and I was not 100% convinced that the greens that were supposed to be turnip in origin actually hailed from a turnip plant (they had some very collardy characteristics).

Here’s what we served instead:

Sausage, greens, and pierogie

Sausage, greens, and pierogie

The smoked sausage (CSA) took a bath in some beer and then a quick sizzle in the skillet, and the mystery greens (their turnip provenance became more apparent as they cooked) paired with green onions (CSA), garlic, and red pepper flakes for a quick saute. The pierogie arrived courtesy of Mrs. T from the freezer (one day I will commit to making my own, but Friday was not that day) and just boiled.

It was all served with a good quality mustard and homemade applesauce. Good condiments can elevate a simple meal.

Look for more punting in upcoming posts–it happens as often as I stay on plan. Thank you for the feedback, and do continue to share your suggestions for posts and punt ideas.

*******

Quick and Easy Mystery Greens

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb greens, washed and stemmed (collards, kale, turnip, mustard, beet greens will all work)
3-6 green onions (scallions), or sub 1/2 onion of your choice
3 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
salt and pepper

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium to large sized skillet over medium-high heat.

2. While the oil is heating, take the washed and stemmed greens and either A) tear them into bite-sized pieces or B) stack several on top of each other, roll them up like a cheese roll/pinwheel, and slice them thin, about 1/4 inch wide. (Basically a chiffonade.) Smaller cooks faster and that’s what you want here.

3. When the oil is hot but not smoking, saute the onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes for 1 minute or until softened and fragrant. Lower the heat if you start to burn something.

4. Toss in the greens, add a dash of salt and pepper, mix with onion mixture to blend, and cover, stirring frequently. Cook for ~10 minutes or to your preferred level of chew. Add a splash of water if you prefer a softer green or are feeding someone without all of their teeth (from youth, not old age in my house).

5. Serve warm. Vinegar optional. I don’t find greens fixed this way require additional seasoning.

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