HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
January 1st is one of my favorite days of the year because 1) it’s my birthday –HELLLO last year in my 20s– and 2) people have the option to press CTRL+ALT+DELETE on their motherboards. Personally, I’m not into New Year resolutions. I’m not hating on people who make New Year’s resolutions. More power to you. I’m just a ridiculously stubborn person who makes resolutions in the middle of the year, at 3 pm on a random weekday. I’ve quit smoking, consuming sugar, drinking soft drinks, eating meat, and eating gluten because of those boughts of determination–some were dropped permanently, others for at least a year. I started running, food blogging, gardening, beer brewing, and volunteering at various non-profits because of the same impetus. All of which stuck permanently.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am so ready for a bad-for-you-food-exorcism, I don’t know what to do. I’m up to my eyeballs in candy, cookies, and booze. We spent Christmas in Delaware with my brother, his girlfriend, her cousin, my mom and dad, and three pooches of various sizes. It was kind of a big deal, because as I mentioned in the previous post, this was the first Christmas we’ve spent together in many years. We celebrated the only way my family know how to celebrate. We ate and drank. We had ham, prime rib, sausage balls, breakfast casserole, 7 layer salad, roasted duck, fruit tarts, burgers, chicken salad, Mom’s pimento cheese by the spoonfuls, fudge, lady fingers, cheese straws, caramel corn, you name it. Don’t worry; That was over the course of three days, not one. Like three days make our eating all that food any less gluttonous.
Aside from the food, here are a few highlights from the trip:
A southern tradition is eating collards, black eyed peas, and cornbread on New Year’s Day. For each spoonful you eat, the wealthier and luckier you will be in the coming year. Our family eats collards and rutabagas over the holidays, both for their luck and their availability–both are late crops and find their way in winter CSA boxes. Southern superstitions aside, collards are delicious. Kale usually steals all the glory when it comes to nutritious leafy greens (like kale, collards are packed with vitamins A, B, and K and fiber). That, and the fact that collards are so often cooked down to a drab, salty mush that resembles a less vibrant package of thawed chopped spinach, well, it’s no wonder people won’t give them a try. Rutabagas are the same way–they’re boiled until they fall apart and their texture resembles mashed potatoes by the time they’re on the table. I mean, I like both cooked that way because I was brought up on them, but I know many people find them unpalatable. I consulted The Settlement Cookbook to see how they prepared rutabagas/collards in olden-day, and there wasn’t a lot. Here was one of the recipes I did find:
I didn’t heed Mrs. Kinder’s advice by omitting the greens, nor did I use Kohlrabi. I was going for roasted instead of boiled because did I mention I wanted texture?! The combination of roasted root veggies and greens are always a good idea. Here is the product: a skillet filled with collards with a slight crunch, rutabagas, garlic, and bacon. I served this as a side with steak, and it was a hearty meal, perfect for winter. And what would collards be without vinegar?! Vinegar is in the dish, but I added some pepper infused vinegar at the table. It was awesome. Perhaps I would try this again with a diced apple.
- 2 pieces of thick cut bacon
- 4 cups of cubed rutabagas, between ¼ and ½ inches
- 1 bunch of collard greens, chopped
- ¼ cup good apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- Salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In an oven proof skillet or dutch oven, cook bacon on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Once bacon is fully cooked, transfer to paper towel lined plate. Set aside for later.
- Add rutabagas to skillet and coat with bacon grease. If the bacon didn't produce enough fat to coat the rutabagas, add a pat of butter. Leave rutabagas on heat until lightly browned on the bottom. Turn off heat.
- Once rutabagas are lightly browned, add collards, sliced garlic, red pepper,and a pinch of salt. Stir to coat.
- Combine brown sugar and vinegar in a separate bowl. Add to skillet and stir, once again.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until rutabagas are cooked through with a slight crunch. Midway through cooking, give the skillet a good shake or stir so veggies cook evenly.
- Once cooked to your liking, chop bacon, sprinkle on top, and serve immediately.