The greens of winter reach their peak during the frigid months of the year. Collard greens, kale and cabbage are all in season right now. We drove to the panhandle of Florida for our New Year’s celebration with friends and the backroads were lined with fields of greens. Workers were bent to the task of picking the leafy foliage. These inexpensive, calcium and vitamin A rich vegetables add a vitality to our winter fare. I plan to make full use of them in my meal planning this month.
Every year, we get together with our friends of many years for a New Year’s celebration. We have met at each others’ homes, but have also rented houses or condos in interesting places. Last year we rented a house on Tybee Island. This year we rented a condo in Destin, Florida. The above picture is the view of the Gulf of Mexico from our balcony. The locations may change, but the food is always the same for New Year’s Day.
We roast a pork butt long and slow until it falls apart. We have garlic mashed potatoes, collard greens, black-eyed peas, pea salad and Rosa’s cornbread. This year we made corn muffins because Jackie forgot her iron skillet and the condo kitchen had only a muffin tin. It was a fine meal. The best ever. You can find some of the recipes in one of my previous posts here. David has taken over the making of the collard greens. He loads them up with two ham hocks and cooks them for hours. The recipe came from his secretary Rosa, who also gave us the cornbread recipe. I wrote about her in this post.
David made such a big pot of collard greens that we came home with leftovers. Not one to waste a good thing, I made a pasta dish incorporating the greens. The original recipe came from Gourmet Magazine. Since my greens were already cooked, it was easy to throw together. We loved it. I will give you the recipe as written in Gourmet and Rosa’s recipe for collard greens. The Gourmet recipe did not call for a long cooking of the greens. Either way, I think you would enjoy this. Happy New Year everyone.
FUSILLI WITH COLLARDS, BACON, AND GARLIC ( Adapted from Gourmet Magazine )
1 pound collards, coarse stems discarded and the leaves washed well and chopped coarse
1/4 pound sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 large garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 large onion, sliced thin
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 pound fusilli (spiral-shaped pasta)
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
freshly grated Parmesan as an accompaniment
In a kettle of boiling water boil the collards for 10 minutes, drain them in a colander set over a large bowl, and return the cooking liquid to the kettle. In a large skillet cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until it is just browned and transfer it with a slotted spoon to a small bowl. Pour off the fat from the skillet and in the skillet cook the garlic, the onion, and the red pepper flakes in half the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened and the garlic is golden brown. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil, in it boil the fusilli until it is al dente, and drain the fusilli well. To the skillet add the collards, the bacon, the fusilli, the remaining oil, and the vinegar and toss the mixture well. Season the fusilli with salt and pepper, divide it among 4 bowls, and sprinkle each serving with some of the Parmesan. Serves 4.
ROSA’S COLLARD GREENS (This is a very loose recipe)
Put your ham hocks in water and cook on top of the stove.
Then cut the greens up, cut bottom stems off. Do not cook stems, then wash greens 4 times in the sink.
Then put more water in the pot with the meat, add the greens.
Add hot peppers, salt, pinch of sugar.
Let cook about 1 hour and 1/2.