Archive for the ‘Sides’ Category

Runner’s World Chickpea Salad

May 3, 2018

I’m a runner.  Not a fast runner.  Not a good runner.  But a runner.  So, of course I have the Runner’s World Cookbook.  I haven’t made much from it, but this seemed like a good option for a long week that’s turned hot!  And for those of you who, like me, are always on the lookout for something new to take to cookouts and potlucks, this is a fantastic choice.  No mayonnaise so it can sit out.  Vegetarian and gluten-free, so workable for almost everyone.  And for the runners out there, it’s listed as “recovery” food.  It also takes about 15 minutes and one bowl to make so hard to beat all around.

If I had to describe this dish in one word it would be, “Zing!”  There are a lot of sharp flavors in here:  red onion, raw garlic, raw ginger, and jalapeno.  Those will wake you right up!  Fortunately there’s a lot of sweet to balance them out:  dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, and parsley.  And then the salt:  feta, smoked almonds, and salt.  In the background, really as the delivery vehicle, are the chickpeas.  Creamy and neutral.  This is good stuff.

And it’s beyond easy.  Drain, grate, dice, chop, dump.  Then for the dressing, measure and shake.  That’s it.

Image result for tip  Do read the directions carefully.  And this applies to every recipe.  There’s a difference between “1C chopped parsley” and “1C parsely, chopped.”  In the first one the measuring happens after the chopping (which means you need more than a cup to start with).  In the second one, you measure first and then chop what you have.

Here’s what you need:

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  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 C smoked almonds, chopped
  • 2/3 C chopped dried cranberries
  • 1 jalapeno, veins and seeds removed, chopped fine
  • 1 C chopped parsley
  • 4 oz feta crumbles
  • 2 T cider vinegar
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper

Here’s what you do:

  • Dump everything chickpeas through feta crumbles in a large bowl and mix together gently
  • In a small jar, add oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Put the lid on the jar and shake until well combined.
  • Pour over salad and mix gently.

Here’s how it turned out:

This is a wonderfully balanced salad.  And good for you!  Eat it as a main dish or as a side.  It would pair very nicely with steak or with grilled shrimp.  I bet it will be even better the second day!

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Lamb and Bulghur Meatballs

May 1, 2018

It’s finally a warm Spring day in Central Virginia!  So, time for dinner that’s a little salad-y and still a little hearty.  I adapted these from a recipe in Nigella Fresh.  I’m not a huge fan of hers on TV, but the cookbook has some winners.

Meatballs take some time, but they’re super easy; super versatile; make ahead and/or freeze and user later.  They make sandwiches.  They top rice and pasta.  They add protein to a mezze plate.  That’s my choice for tonight.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2-2/3 C cooked bulghur wheat
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 T chopped fresh mint
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

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Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Dump everything in a bowl
  • Mix with your hands until well combined
  • Form into balls, about 1 1/2 T each
  • Press to slightly flatten
  • Bake 12-15 minutes

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Here’s how it turned out:

I got 25 meatballs out of this.  That’s 5-6 servings.  The bulghur wheat helps stretch the lamb a little further.  It also lightens the slightly gamy flavor that some people object to in lamb.  Meatballs are prettier if you brown them on both sides before you put them in the oven.  They’re also a lot more trouble that way.  If you can live with the slightly gray/brown color you’ll save yourself some time.  You could also stuff these with a little feta cheese.  That will also add time to the whole process, but totally worth it.

These are really good.  Mine could have used a little more salt, but I’ll eat every single one!

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Resurrecting Squash

April 2, 2018

This is more of a tip than a recipe.  I knew I was having catfish tonight.  I bought some on Saturday and yesterday being Easter, I hadn’t cooked it yet.  My choices today were to freeze it or cook it.  We’ll get to that in the next post.  What I needed then was a vegetable.  A dig through the freezer uncovered some squash and onions. Perfect.  But there’s a catch.  Check that date out.  8/13.  Nope, not August 13th.  August of 2013!

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I grew these squash and zucchini in my garden that year.  I bought a Food Saver that year too. I’ve had really good luck with things I sealed with my Food Saver and stuck in the freezer.  This might be the biggest test.  Nothing to lose by giving it a try!

First thing is to thaw the block of squash ice.  Put it in a pan over low heat and stir it gently.  You don’t want to tear up squash that’s already pretty fragile from being frozen for 5 years.   Then dump it in a colander to get the water out.  Getting the water out is key.  It looks pretty good, right?  Totally recognizable as squash, zucchini and onions.

Now time to put a little summer life back in.  This requires a cast iron skillet; some olive oil; and a little butter.  Heat the olive oil then thrown in a pat of butter.  Let the butter melt and begin to brown.  Swirl it around to evenly coat the pan.  Spread the squash and onions out in an even layer.  I like my squash a little charred, even when it’s the first day out of the garden.  If you want a little char, let it sit still in the pan for a couple of minutes before you stir.  If you like really even browning stir often.

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I have to say, this turned out better than I had any reason to hope it would.  The edges of the squash actually still had a little bite to them.  A little salt and it was the perfect side dish!  So, an endorsement for the Food Saver for sure.  And maybe a little resurrection luck because it’s Easter Monday! Smiley

Drunken Linguine with Spinach

March 30, 2018

It’s been a crazy week here, but One Woman’s Kitchen has an exciting addition!  I got a new stove!  I finally splurged on a 5-burner, dual-fuel, slide-in range.  I only have a 30 inch space to work with so it’s not super fancy, but I couldn’t be happier with it.  My old stove was gas, which was great, but the burners didn’t turn down nearly far enough.  I was always scorching stuff on the bottom because I couldn’t get the heat down low enough.  No more!  Check it out!

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My first meal done on the new stove was for my book club.  The electricians finally finished the install at 4:00 on Wednesday.  It didn’t leave me enough time to plan anything really fun and I had to make do with food I already had in the house.  And I really needed to use the half bottle of wine that was leftover from making the lamb shanks earlier in the week.  I know, leftover wine?  What’s that?  It’s rare, but when it happens this is a good way to use it!

Years ago I made a pasta dish with kale where I cooked the pasta in wine. Substitute spinach for kale and I was set to go.  Last time I remember combining the wine with water and cooking the pasta start to finish in that.  I like this way better.  You get a creamier finish.  Almost like the wine makes a sauce.

This is an easy one.

Here’s what you need:

  • 8 ounces of pasta (spaghetti or linguine)
  • 1 T olive oil, plus more to finish
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • dash of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 bottle of full-bodied red wine (I used Cabernet)
  • big bunch of spinach, stemmed

Here’s what you do:

  • Boil water in a large pot
  • Salt the water well
  • Add the pasta
  • Cook 2-3 minutes, until the pasta is just bendy

Meanwhile, in a large skillet

  • Heat the 1T of oil with the garlic and red pepper
  • Stir until fragrant
  • Pour in the red wine
  • Bring to a boil

Then

  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1-2 cups of the pasta liquid
  • Add the pasta to the wine mixture.  The liquid will not completely cover the pasta.
  • Stir the pasta frequently as it absorbs the wine.  If it starts to get completely dry add some of the reserved pasta water.  The starch will thicken the wine.

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  • When the pasta is al dente stir in the spinach with just a little more pasta water.
  • Salt to taste, finish with a little more olive oil to help keep the noodles separated

How was it?

Most people at book club had 2 servings!  This is a beautiful dish.  Pretty inexpensive to make.  Really easy.  Vegetarian.  Vegan even.  It would make a nice side for beef or pork as well.

I will say that the kale in the previous version held up better than the spinach here.  Maybe a heartier green is the answer.  Next time I’ll try some chard.

See how pretty it is?

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Sweet Potatoes and Greens

March 11, 2018

In the category of looking for new ways to cook winter greens, this is a nice  option as a side or as a meal.  The story goes that this is a recipe from one of the chefs who served the Obama White House. That’s enough of a recommendation for me!  Whatever you may think of their politics, it’s clear that they are committed to healthy eating and put a lot of focus on the White House kitchen garden.  This is a terrific combination of Fall vegetables that I’d be happy to eat year round!  I may be sorry that I only made half a recipe.

This is an easy one.  Some chopping, roasting, and sauteing. That’s kind of it.  I did my chopping earlier today.  I could  just as easily have saved this for later in the week.  Both of these vegetables will live well in the fridge for a few days even after you’ve chopped them.  So if you’re someone who preps most of your meals for the week on Sunday, you could save this one for Thursday night without a problem.

Here’s what you need:

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  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 bunch of collards, stemmed and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 t crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 T maple syrup

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Toss the sweet potato with half of the olive oil
  • Spread the potatoes on a pan and roast until they are soft (15-20 minutes)

Tip Make sure the potatoes are firm enough to hold their shape.  If you don’t you’ll end up with mashed sweet potatoes and greens.  Which might not be bad either!

Tip  If you have other vegetables to roast for a meal later in the week, throw them in the pan.  Just keep an eye on them and take them out of the pan early if they have a shorter roasting time.  I roasted my broccolini tonight for tomorrow’s soup.

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  • When the potatoes are nearly done, add the rest of the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper to a large pan.
  • Heat the oil and stir the garlic and pepper until it’s fragrant, but not browned
  • Add the collards.  You may need to do this in batches to make them fit.  Stir and cover.  Check and stir them often.  Add the remainder of the greens when they fit in the pan.

Tip  Chopping collards in ribbons as we did earlier works great for the pesto.  It’s pretty hard to politely eat long ribbons of collard greens.  It’ll work better if you chop them.  Roll them into a cigar as before, then slice the roll longways.  Turn the roll a quarter turn and make another longways cut.  Your roll is now in 4 pieces.  Slice it now from the short side.  Your greens will look almost diced.

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  • Remove the potatoes from the oven and put them in a large bowl.  Stir in the cinnamon.  Add salt and pepper
  • When the greens are soft add them to the bowl with the potatoes.  This will take longer than you think.  20-25 minutes.  This isn’t spinach.  Collards don’t so much wilt as they have to cook down.
  • Toss the potatoes and greens with the maple syrup and the juice from the lemon.

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Serve these as a side with chicken or pork chops.  I served mine as a main dish on top of some rice cooked in vegetable stock.

How was it?

I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure about this when I started.  I am pleased to report that it’s really good!  The cinnamon and syrup that you’re used to having with sweet potatoes and the acid from the lemon juice that you’re used to having with collards, mix really well.  The bite of the red pepper goes well with both.  The smoothness of the sweet potatoes is great next to the toothiness of the greens.  It’s a keeper!

Malai Palak (Indian Creamed Spinach)

February 11, 2018

Another recipe from my Rasika cookbook, it’s been on my list for a couple of weeks. I had just a little of the chicken curry left and this was nice to have alongside.  It’s nothing like the creamed spinach you may be used to, served with steak and filled with cheese and cream and butter.  I’m not knocking that, but this is definitely not that.  No cheese and with much less cream.  It turned out slightly more like spinach sauce or soup than I expected.  It tastes good and the onions give it some texture, but it still might be nice for it to be a little bit toothier.

I did make a couple of substitutions.  I used part of a jalapeno instead of a Thai green chili, less heat and a pepper slightly easier to come by.  I looked for fenugreek leaves and fenugreek leaf powder, but no luck.  Of course I combed the interwebs looking for a suitable substitute.  Here’s what’s weird. Some sites listed maple syrup and some sites listed fennel and others celery leaves.  Odd.  Maple syrup seemed kind of out there.  You have to buy a whole fennel bulb or a jar of fennel seeds.  I’m not a huge fan of fennel so I wouldn’t have a lot of use for the leftovers.  That left me with celery leaves.

For the spinach:

  • 1 large clamshell of spinach (10oz)
  • handful celery leaves
  • 3/4 C water

Blanche the spinach in boiling water and transfer immediately into a bowl of iced water.  That’s how you keep the bright green color.  Drain.  Add spinach, celery leaves, and water to a blender.  Process until smooth.

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Here’s the spice/aromatic part of the ingredients list: (my photo disappeared!)

  • 1/4 C canola oil
  • 1/2 t cumin seeds
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 C diced onion
  • 1 T minced ginger
  • 1 t diced jalapeno
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 1/4 C cream
  • salt to taste

Here’s what you do:

  • Heat the oil in a large pan.  When it shimmers add the cumin seeds and garlic. Brown the garlic.  30 seconds.
  • Add the onions.  Cook until the onions are brown. 5 minnutes
  • Add the ginger, jalapeno, and turmeric.  Stir 30 seconds.  Add the spinach.
  • Stir constantly for 5 minutes.  Be careful of the splatter.
  • Reduce the heat.  Add cream and salt.  Bring to a boil  Cook another 5 minutes.

Here’s how it went:

Other than the fenugreek, this recipe is pretty easy and pretty good.  It’s beautifully bright green.  It has a toasty flavor with just a little heat.  I did end up with a green polka dotted kitchen.  There’s a LOT of splatter when you add the spinach.  It’s a great side dish.  I imagine it will be good served over rice.  The cookbook offers adding cubed paneer  or potatoes as good variations.  Palak paneer makes a good entree and adding some potatoes would give some weight to the spinach as a side.  All in all, two thumbs up!  My array of Indian food at home is increasing!

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UPDATE:  This is absolutely a multi-use vegetable side.  It makes a fantastic topping for scrambled eggs and an amazing sauce for pasta!

Chicken and Roasted Vegetables in Lemon Sauce

January 17, 2018

I’m getting a little stir crazy.  I work from home, so it happens from time to time.  It happens especially when the weather is challenging and I don’t get out beyond the dog walking and running in the neighborhood.  Believe it or not cooking helps burn off some crazy.  So today, in between work things, I roasted a bunch of vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower and radishes.  No plan for them, just a way to use up some stuff in the vegetable drawer and something to do.  Then came time for a dinner plan.  I pulled a chicken breast out of the freezer and voila!  Dinner.

Vegetables first.  Roasting vegetables is the easiest way to cook vegetables and add wonderful flavor to them.  There are very few rules.  High heat.  Pieces roughly the same size.  Some kind of fat.  Salt.  If you don’t season them beyond salt and maybe pepper, they’re super versatile.  You can cook multiple kinds of vegetables on the same sheet as long as they have about the same roasting time.  Today I had to take the broccoli off early to keep it from burning.

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The key to adding that amazing roasted flavor is caramelizing.  Put everything in a single layer and don’t stir it.  The contact with the hot pan will brown the bottom and the oven heat will brown the top.  Beautiful.  I always end up eating a good part of the vegetables right out of the pan while I’m doing other kitchen things.

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Now the chicken.  Chicken is scary.  No one wants to give anyone salmonella.  But then no one wants to eat dust dry chicken either.  There is a middle ground.  My favorite way to do chicken to serve alongside vegetables or over rice is to pan sear it and then make a sauce in the same pan.

Cut the chicken breast horizontally.  It will cook a lot faster this way.  You’re also a lot less likely to under or over cook it.  In a cooking class I took once the chef told us that a chicken breast, sliced in half this way, will cook in 3 minutes on either side.  I’ve had good luck with that formula except with the fattest breasts.

How do you do that?  It’s easiest if the chicken is still partially frozen.  It’s less wiggly that way.  But you can do it regardless.  Place the chicken on the cutting board with the long side facing you.  Place your empty hand flat on top of the chicken.  Run your knife down the breast starting at the short end.  Might be best to angle ever so slightly downwards to avoid cutting your hand, just until you get used to it.  Not too much angle because you’re aiming for 2 pieces of equal thickness.  I didn’t do a fabulous job tonight, but the breast was so fat that I ended up with 3 pieces.

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What about the pan?  I use cast iron for almost everything because it holds heat so evenly and so well.  This is the exception.  When you’re making a pan sauce it’s better to use a different pan – copper, stainless steel, etc.    Cast iron leaves little black flecks in your sauce.  I stay away from non-stick for this though.

One tip about searing the chicken.  Once you put it in the pan don’t move it until you’re ready to flip it.  Once it has a good sear on it, it won’t stick to the pan.  If you try to move it around too soon it will stick to the pan and tear.

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Here’s what you need:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 C stock
  • 1 T flour
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 C roasted vegetables per person

Here’s what you do:

  • Cut the chicken into horizontal halves
  • Salt and pepper the top of each half
  • Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of a pan
  • When the oil begins to smoke add the chicken, salt side down
  • Cook 3-4 minutes, depending on thickness.
  • Turn, cook 3-4 more minutes
  • Remove from the pan and keep warm
  • Add stock, less 2-3 T,  to the pan and stir to incorporate all of the brown bits (the fond) into the stock
  • Let the stock simmer until it reduces by half
  • Stir flour into the extra stock to make a slurry
  • Stir into the pan and let it thicken
  • Stir in the lemon juice and reduce by about a third
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the butter
  • Top the vegetables with the chicken and pour the sauce over

Here’s what I thought:

Easy, fast, good, healthy.  Some capers or olives would have made a wonderful addition.

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Red Lentil Dal

January 14, 2018

Vegetarian dinner, day 2!  And another day to use the new bowl cozies I made.  These are a genius invention for those of us who mostly eat while sitting on the couch.  Equally useful for carrying hot bowls back and forth to the table.

So cute!  But I digress.

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I love Indian food.  Love it.  And frequent trips to London have helped me love it all the more.  I didn’t eat dal for a long time.  Let’s be real, they mostly look pretty gross.  And I have some texture issues with food anyway.  But I’ve come around.  There are all kinds of lentils, the base of dal.  Some of them hold their shape and some don’t.  The red ones don’t, but this tastes so good it doesn’t matter.  Keeping your rice a little firm helps balance the texture as well.

One of the wonderful things about Indian food is the layers of spices.  And these are all spices you can find in any grocery store, but some of them you may not keep on hand.  We’ll talk substitutions as we go.  I found the recipe on a site called “The Wanderlust Kitchen” that seems to have a lot of good stuff, so check that out when you have a minute.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 green chili pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced (serrano for spicy, jalapeno for more mild)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • Juice of one half a lemon
  • Chopped cilantro leaves and plain yogurt for garnish

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I think you could substitute ground cinnamon and ground cumin for the stick and the see forms, respectively.  I’d advise against using ginger powder instead of fresh, but if you have bottled, that’s probably ok.  Cardamom is a unique flavor so worth buying a small jar.

Here’s what you do (annotated):

Place the rinsed lentils in a medium saucepan along with 3 cups of room temperature water. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.

I brought mine to a simmer and cooked them with the lid mostly on, but tilted to vent.  Start the rice at the same time as the lentils.  Add some salt to the water for both the lentils and the rice.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cinnamon stick; cook for 60 to 90 seconds, until fragrant.

I broke my cinnamon stick in half to release more flavor.

Add the onion, green chili pepper, garlic, and ginger; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onions are turning translucent.

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Add the turmeric, cardamom, paprika, salt, and tomato to the pan. Cook until the tomato begins to fall apart, about 2 to 3 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.

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Stir the spiced onion mixture into the pot of lentils. Add the lemon juice and stir well. Taste and add salt as needed.

Garnish with cilantro; serve with basmati rice and naan.

I left off the naan and added a dollop of yogurt.  I also added more lemon juice and some salt.  

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Here’s what I thought:

It comes together easily enough to make for a week night meal or as a side.  It took me longer than the 20 minutes quoted in the original, but that could be me.  My technical knife skills aren’t bad, but I’m not fast.  Takes me a few minutes to get all the chopping and measuring done.  I’ve become increasingly appreciative of mis en place – getting all the prep work done before the cooking begins.  It’ll save you time in the end.

It definitely needed more lemon juice and salt.  Lentils are pretty earthy on their own and they take spice very nicely.  This is a rich and wonderful dish.  I chose the jalapeno over the Serrano chili so it wasn’t overly heat spicy.  Just enough to liven up all of the other spices.  An excellent dish for a cold January night. This is one to add to your list of comfort foods.

Greek Butternut Squash Salad

January 13, 2018

Hey vegetarian friends, and those looking for a Meatless Monday dish, and those looking for something to take to a picnic, party or potluck – this is for you!  After the Singapore Noodles debacle yesterday, I approached this with some trepidation.  I’m familiar with all of these ingredients though, so it seemed pretty low risk.

I had a butternut squash in the pantry that’s been here for a while.  Sometimes it takes me a while to work up the energy to cut one up.  But I’m really trying to eat a little better and butternut squash salad is as good a start (re-start) as anything.  And I had half a red onion left from yesterday.  And half a sweet onion left from some other day.  And the ends of a block of feta in brine.  I actually only had to buy a 99 cent bunch of parsley for this.  Everything else I already had in the house.

Roasting vegetables is easy.  Here are the things to remember.  Use high heat.  Cut everything roughly the same size so it will all be done at the same time.  Keep everything in a single layer so that every piece has contact with the pan.  Don’t stir more than once.  It’s the contact with the pan that gives you that yummy caramelization.  Salt the vegetables.

If you’re planning to use your squash (or potatoes or carrots) in cubed format, keep an eye on them.  If you let them roast too long they’ll be so soft that they won’t hold their shape when you stir them into whatever else you’re using.

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What we love about these kinds of salads is that they’re mostly dump and stir, and they can be served as a main dish.  I added some bulgur to this to give it some extra heft and left out the walnuts.  I hate walnuts.

Here’s what you need: (minus the olives, which I did use, but left out of this photo)

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  • 1 small butternut squash diced and roasted with olive oil and salt
  • 1/2 red onion and 1/2 sweet onion, diced and roasted with the squash
  • 1- 1 1/2 C cooked bulgur
    • 1/2 C bulgur and 1 C water or vegetable stock
    • Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 10-12 minutes
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/2 C pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 t red wine vinegar
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 1 t honey
  • 1/2 t dried dill weed
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
    • Whisk the above 5 ingredients (vinegar through oregano) together in a small bowl to make dressing
  • 1/2 C chopped or crumbled feta
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley

Here’s what you do:

Combine chickpeas and olives in a large bowl.  Drizzle with the dressing.  Add cooked bulgur and roasted vegetables.  Stir in feta and parsley.  Salt and pepper to taste.

That’s it!  Easy!

Here’s what I thought:

This is good stuff.  And good for you stuff.  It can be served at room temperature so would be great to take to a potluck or dinner party.  No worries about keeping it hot.  It’s got no mayo or yogurt so good for an outdoor event as well.  It’s good as a single dish meal or as a side for chicken or pork chops. It’s pretty.  It’s healthy.  It’s yummy.  What more could you ask?

Here’s the original recipe.

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I made this bowl cozy today.  This bowl wasn’t hot so I didn’t really need it, but it’s so cute I wanted to use it anyway.

Luck and Money for the New Year!

January 1, 2018

Happy New Year everyone!

New Year’s Day here means few things for sure:  a First Day 5K; the end to 2 weeks of eating junk and drinking too much, otherwise known as the Fat Fortnight; collards and black-eyed peas for dinner.

It’s a Southern thing.  Collards and black-eyed peas for the new year to represent luck and money.  The whole truth is that this is filling food for cheap.

Most years I start these with a pot liquor made with smoked turkey wings or ham hocks.  This year I went vegetarian and I’m not sorry.  These were easy, didn’t make a mess and tasted great.  I’m looking forward to leftovers!

Here’s all the stuff you need:

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1/8 cup canola oil

1 yellow onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 lbs. collard greens, stemmed and chopped

1 tsp. red pepper flakes, toasted. (Toast the pepper flakes in a dry sauté pan over medium heat, tossing constantly.  Leave this out if you’re heat averse.)

1/2 cup white wine

2 cups cooked black -eyed peas

1/2 an onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 C vegetable stock or water (enough to cover the peas)

salt to taste

 

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 T butter

1 tomato, chopped

Hot sauce to taste

If you haven’t worked with collards before just know that this is a sturdy leaf.  They have to be cooked a long while to make them tender and cook out some of the bitterness.  They’re available chopped and bagged at the grocery store.  I don’t buy them that way because they have the stems in them.  I prefer to remove the stems.  More industrious people than I pickle the stems to use as garnishes.  I just toss them.

I like to chop these kind of small.  They work better in soups that way and they mix better with rice and peas.  Place the leaf face down on your cutting board.  Run your knife down either side of the stem and stack the two leaf halves on top of each other.  Set them aside.  Stem all of the leaves before you begin the chopping.

Stack 4-5 leaves on top of each other and roll them up together.  Slice the roll in half longways, turn it and slice longways again.  The roll is now in four sections.  Cut it crosswise in small pieces and you’ll end up with something that looks like a dice.

Normally you cook these in enough liquid to cover them, but this recipe is fairly dry.  The collards are easier to use when you don’t have to drain them.  Just be sure that you use a pot big enough for the collards and then to add the peas to.

Start with oil, I use olive oil for nearly everything, but canola or safflower or whatever will work here just as well.  I sauteed the onions and garlic together.  This saved me the trouble of making the roasted garlic butter that the recipe calls for.  You may need to add the collards in batches to make them fit.  Once they’ve started to cook down add the wine.  If you don’t want to use wine use vegetable broth here.

You’ve got 30-40 minutes to cook these until they’re really tender.  If the collards start to stick to the bottom of the pot add a little water and stir.  Cook them with the lid off the pot.

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While the collards cook, start the black-eyed peas.  In this part of the world you can get fresh peas for New Year’s, so I recommend that.  If you can’t, frozen are the next best thing.

Again, start your pot, a small one this time, with a little oil.  When it’s hot, but not smoking, add some onion and garlic.  Saute until the onions are soft.  Add the black-eyed peas and enough water or vegetable stock to cover them.  Salt the water to taste.  Bring them to a boil and then cut the heat back to simmer.  It’ll take 15-20 minutes to cook these.  I like mine pretty soft, but be careful that they aren’t mushy.  You want them to hold their shape when you mix them into the collards.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the black-eyed peas from the cooking liquid.  Save that liquid for cooking the rice.  Add enough water to the cooking liquid to make 1 1/2 cups.  Add the rice to the small pot with the liquid, bring to a boil, and simmer, covered, until it’s done.  About 15 minutes.

And, back to the collards.  Add the cooked peas and vinegar to the collards.  Throw in the butter and salt to taste.  Cook everything another 10 minutes.  Serve over the rice.  Garnish with a few chopped tomatoes.  Add a few dashes of Tabasco or Siracha or other hot sauce if you like

I had this as my dinner tonight, but later this week it’ll make a great side dish and maybe some breakfast hash.  Stay tuned!

This is based on a recipe from Garden and Gun magazine.  Check it out here!

Hope the new year brings you all the luck and money you need!