A Lapsed Southerner

2 Jan

I have lived in New York City for almost 13 years. I don’t say “y’all” much anymore, but hubby tells me that he still likes my Southern accent. Other things have faded somewhat. For instance, I never plan ahead for our New Year’s Day meal. Black-eyed peas just should not be that hard to come by, right? But on New Year’s Eve day, I went to 2 neighborhood grocers, and neither had any black-eyed peas. Dried or canned. I was willing to make compromises. But I ended up getting a bag of 16-bean soup mix (black-eyed peas were included in the 16-beans), so I figured this was better than nothing.

The store actually did have fresh collard greens. Surprise, surprise!

The black-eyed peas are supposed to guarantee luck and prosperity in the new year. I have read that you need to eat at least 365 black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. Yikes. We didn’t even get close. This does not bode well for us.

The collards represent paper money – cold, hard cash – so maybe we’ll be okay after all.

Interestingly enough, most of my Southern cookbooks suggest cooking the collards for a long time; up to 3 hours. I hated collards when I was a child, so I don’t have a long history of making them. This year I took Mark Bittman’s recipe from his classic book “How To Cook Everything”.

A little olive oil, a lot of garlic, saute the greens for a few minutes, add some liquid (I used a ladle of soup liquid), cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Then take off the lid and reduce the liquid until the pan is just about dry. Add some more garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice – and voila! VERY tasty collards in under 20 minutes.

The bean soup was quite delicious, too. I made 2 batches: a bit of salt pork in mine, and vegetarian for hubby.

Fingers crossed about the prosperity part.




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