The Evolution of Dinner

This weekend, I decided it was time to pick some of those collards we’ve been growing all winter and figure out what to do with them. Not being from the South originally, collards aren’t something I grew up cooking. However, I had a handy expert at my fingertips: Paula Deen, whose recipe card set I had bought in Savannah last year, one of which was her recipe for collard greens. So armed with shears, I headed to the garden to cut down my dinner.

Collards

Into the house they went, where I cleaned the leaves from the stems like Paula said to do, by hooking them between my first two fingers and pulling toward the top of the leaf. It works like a charm, though I got a little red spot on the web of my fingers–gotta build up those collard callouses!

Collards on counter

Next I piled the leaves up and cut across them, turning them into ribbons. The stems went out to my compost bin, so they can help create next year’s crop of collards. I put a bunch of water in a pot, and some side pork and the spices Paula recommended (hot sauce being chief among them), and turned it up to heat. It was a little tricky that she called for her House Seasoning, which you can buy at her store or online, but a quick search of the internet showed me that was just equal parts salt, pepper and garlic powder, and I had all of those on hand, so I was in business. Once it had boiled for a while, I dropped my collards into the pot likker (love that!) and let them simmer on the back burner for an hour.

Collards in pot

While they were bubbling away, I put some country style ribs and a giant sweet potato from the farmer’s market into the oven to roast.

Stove

Mr. L made some corn muffins, and an hour later, voila! Dinner. And I grew at least some of it myself.

Dinner

For the collard recipe, go here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/collard-greens-recipe/index.html. I never thought I would be a collard fan, but these came out really well. Now I am contemplating the same preparation for kale, mustard greens, chard…

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