Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Spicy Sweet Collard Greens

Tonight Andy decided to take a turn at fixing dinner for the both of us. What's on the menu? Country style ribs grilled and slathered in barbecue sauce; stewed potatoes and collard greens. The house and yard were smelling good when I got home tonight. The first thing he hit me up with was: "I thought you had our collard green recipe on the blog." Well, I've got pictures, tons and tons of them...for collard greens and more dishes than you can imagine. What I haven't had is time. Let me restate that. We all start out with the same amount of time; I've just been allotting it for other things.

Needless to say, if my husband is going to cook, I need to make sure I have the stuff he likes to fix easy to find. *wink, *wink! There's no sense in him digging in one of the many cook books we have compiled over the years of all our favorites, get discouraged and change his mind!!

It may come as a shock to you that this gal would eat collard greens. Truth be told; I am amazed as I'm more of a turnip green girl, but these are pretty hard to beat. Collard greens are a lot stronger than turnip greens, so this isn't a dish for the faint of heart. We fixed collards as our "green" on New Year's Day so we would have "plenty of folding money" in 2015.

About five years ago, we were watching Big Daddy on one of the cooking shows and he was cooking up a big skillet of greens. Andy had been wanting to fix some and we were cooking them quickly thereafter. Don't let the "sweet" in the name fool you! These greens have a bite!

INGREDIENTS:
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 to 1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 10 oz. bag of collard greens (remove large parts of stems, chop greens)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup chicken broth (we use Chicken Base, Better than Boullion to make our own)
1 Tbsp. Kosher or Sea Salt
1 Tbsp. cracked black pepper

In a large pot, heat oil on medium-high. Saute onions, garlic and red pepper flakes until onions are transparent. Add the collard greens to the pot. Stir frequently to wilt the greens. Add sugar and chicken broth. Mix throughout.
Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat down to low.
Cook for about five minutes. Stir in salt and pepper and let the greens cook for about five more minutes or until liquid cooks away. Stir several times.
Collard greens will cook down and the color will turn a deep, dark green.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Whit's Bean & Corn Dip

This recipe is officially known as "Whit's Dip." My co-worker Joy shared this recipe with me when we had our Thanksgiving Lunch at work. Yep. I know, I'm a little behind as usual. Or, if you look at it this way...I'm just in time for planning your appetizers for Super Bowl Sunday. :-)

You will want to make this the night before and try to stay out of it and save some for your guests. I think this and Frito Scoops are the perfect pairing; but Tostito Scoops are pretty awesome too. Just make sure whatever chip you have will hold some of the juicy goodness.

In a large serving dish, mix the following:
2 cans black beans, rinsed
2 cans whole corn (Joy said she has used cream style a few times and it was just as good)
2 ripe avocados, cut in chunks
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (Joy's addition to Whit's version)
Fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1 tbsp.or more to taste)
Greater Value Zesty Italian Dressing  (Mix more or less to suit you)
4-6 green onions chopped
Refrigerate.

Since "our" team didn't make the Super Bowl, we'll just be eating and having fun!
Happy eating!

The Best Salisbury Steak I've Ever Fixed


How many different recipes do you see on social media daily? Between Facebook and Pinterest alone, the number is mind-boggling. Do you find yourself being captivated by the pretty pictures that lure you in; you follow the directions to a "T" only to be disappointed? Guilty!! Every so often you come across one you fix that is so yummy, you don't even want to mess with. Or, if you do, it's only because you're substituting for a missing ingredient.

Andy was telling me how he loved Salisbury Steak. Most of my previous experiences with it haven't been on the favorable side. This recipe saved me from a frozen food nightmare and had Andy telling me how awesome it was in between bites. If someone says, "I hurt myself eating," you know you "did good!" These were not the flat oval shaped pieces you get in your grocer's freezer. (Please refrain from flattening them out!!) And tender? They were so tender...they'd make you smack yo' Momma! Speaking of which, Momma night is coming up Wednesday night and I'm going to fix some for her. All I changed from the original recipe was to substitute a 10-1/2 ounce can of Campbells French onion soup with a pack of Lipton Onion Soup mixed in water, and used two pounds of 80/20 ground chuck..

Ingredients
1 pack Lipton Onion Soup mixed in 10 oz. water
2 lbs Ground Chuck (80/20)
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (I used Italian-seasoned Panko from the pantry)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ketchup
1 -3 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, to taste
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 cup water


Directions

In a large bowl, mix together 1/3 cup of the Lipton Soup/water mixture with ground chuck, bread crumbs, egg, salt and black pepper.
Shape into 6-7 equal sized patties.

In a large skillet (one with a lid), over medium-high heat, brown both sides of patties.

Pour off excess fat

In a small bowl, blend flour and remaining soup until smooth.
Mix in ketchup, water, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder.

Pour over meat in skillet.
Cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Original recipe courtesy of food.com

Thursday, January 1, 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2015!

Here's the key to a successful year! Happy New Year!! May everything you wish for come your way!
REPOST FROM 2014
If you live in the South, you know come New Year's Day you better have a pot of black-eyed peas, hog jowl, turnip greens or cabbage and corn bread. Otherwise, you are staring the new year down and asking for bad luck, no blessings and a lack of money to come your way. The hog jowl comes from the cheek of the pig. It's pretty fatty and the rind is tough as nails. I personally cut that off, but Andy leaves it on when he's fixing it. The taste is very similar to bacon, but just short of as good.

One of our vendors gifted all of us with a bag of dried black-eyed peas and a chunk of hog jowl to cook in the peas. I can guarantee that I will be cooking that up for all who come to eat with us on Wednesday. Mike shared that his understanding of the tradition dates back to the civil war. He said the South was so poor that the only things they had to sustain themselves through the hard times were dried peas and the scraps off the pig.

There's an old belief that the bigger the pig you eat on New Year's Day, the fatter your wallet will be. Who am I to tempt fate? In the poor South, it was believed that a pig represented health and wealth. One pig could sustain a family through the hard winter months. Another fact is that a pig cannot turn his head around without turning his whole body around...so the pig is forward looking, possibly looking forward to a prosperous year.

During the war, black-eyed peas were considered animal food and not worthy of the Union troops. Therefore there was plenty of it. It is said that eating such a humble food on New Year's day will lead to being blessed.

The cabbage, collards or turnip greens represent your "green or folding money." It is said each bite of greens represents $1000 towards the upcoming year. Again, who am I to tempt fate?

Cornbread represents your pocket money because of the gold color of the bread.

About a week before the New Year, Andy hits the store and starts buying up several pounds of hog jowl. We always have it for breakfast at least once before the big day. We limit it because we know our blood pressure probably shoots sky high.

Hog jowl will curl up like crazy in the pan. Make little slits all down the "rind" side to make it easier to fry. I like to trim off the rind as there is no way to chew that up.
Fry up just like you would prepare bacon. I like to cook this on a medium-low temperature. Just look at the fat content and you can imagine how much grease is created. I also believe the grease from hog jowl is hotter and pops more than bacon. Fact or fiction? I don't know, just don't get "popped!"
Turn until both sides are cooked well. I like mine to be a little on the browner side. If the fat is undercooked, it's just too rubbery for me to eat. Let the hog jowl drain well on a paper towel lined plate.

This batch was served up with biscuits, fried eggs and molasses. On New Year's Day, we will be serving it with black-eyed peas, cabbage and cornbread.