Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 16: More Food

The pinwheel quilt, with borders,

A couple of you commented on yesterday's post that you didn't know what collards were, and I realize now I'm not sure how to explain them. They are a green, leafy vegetable related to cabbage and broccoli. When you cook them, they wilt much like spinach, but when raw they're a lot tougher than spinach. They're popular here in the Southern states, in part because they're cheap and you can grow them in the cool months. They have the same effect on children as cooked spinach--lots of "Ewww, gross" and "Who would eat that?"


I was thinking this morning that my favorite times of year to cook are early winter and early summer. In early summer, you have lots of tender, young vegetables that make you happy to be alive (not to mention strawberries), and in early winter you get stew.

I love stew. I made a beef stew tonight that started--as all great recipes do (see yesterday's post for cross-reference)--with frying up some bacon.* Around step four, you pour in 12 ounces of amber beer, and the smell is divine. The great thing about stew is that it fills up the whole house with its wonderful aromas and makes you feel that life is worth living.


I did something totally out of the ordinary for lunch today. No one in my family but me likes Indian food, so I never make it. But the other day I was going through the humongous pile of recipes I've pulled out of magazines but never actually tried and stumbled across a recipe for chicken thighs in a curried yogurt sauce made in a slow cooker. So this morning, I chopped up onions and garlic, mixed them with some tomato paste, cumin and curry powder, threw in some chicken and cooked it on high for four hours. When the chicken was done, it fell of the bone in that wonderful way chicken does. I stirred half a cup of Greek yogurt into the tomato paste mixture, and wah-lah! Lunch. Wonderful, and no one to complain about the curry smell. Even better, there's enough for at least one more lunch, maybe two.

Well, I better go cook some more bacon; it'll be breakfast before you know it.

*I thought Pom Pom made an astute comment yesterday about bacon, how it makes the house smell marvelous in the morning, but as the smell weakens over time it's much less pleasing. This underlines the importance of cooking bacon at every meal, so that the smell always stays fresh and at its bacon-y best.


Heather said...

The Flying Biscuit Cafe in Atlanta makes the best collards. I have no idea what makes them the best, but they never fail to please me. I think collards are great, but sauteed kale with garlic and olive oil is my all time fave green, anytime of year...or of day for that matter.

Angela said...

Heather's idea of collards with garlic and olive oil sounds brilliant.

I wonder if collards are like the greens we call KALE.

Now I am pondering on the possibilities of a collard/sauasage swap, but I cannot work out how to do it.

Investigations still proceeding on this one.

I like my curry MILD, the man likes his HOT. Greek Yogurt is a wonderful cooling influence.

blessings x

magsmcc said...

I finished Sunday's huge pot of chilli hot butternut squash soup just there now. Sausages, sausages, sausages... The over-riding conclusion was that you would have to come here. Now, could we get Belfast Children's Festival to invite an exciting children's author from the States?

Susan said...

My almost 10-year old daughter loves bacon. Last year around Christmas time, my parents started asking her what she'd like for Christmas. She had no ideas. My mom continued to press her for something she might like. Mary Beth finally answered, "Well, I like bacon a lot." My parents solution? They gave her a certificate for Bacon of the Month Club. Like clockwork each month she gets to see Grandma and Grandpa and get a two-pound stash of bacon.

GretchenJoanna said...

It's convenient to have collards and bacon in the same post, as they are two foods that I love. Well, I love collards if they haven't sat in the fridge for a week waiting for me to cook them; twice that has happened and they mysteriously stank up the whole kitchen every time I opened the refrigerator door. I also like them much better after they have stood in the fields or the garden through a frost, because it makes them much sweeter. Yes, they can be sweet!

I recently had a long discussion with someone about kale and collards. No, Angela, kale and collards are not the same. And there are several varieties of kale one can plant or buy here.

It seems to me that of all the greens, collards have the most mass, that is, when you cook them down they don't reduce to a tiny pile like spinach or Swiss chard. Of the leafy greens I know well I find kale to be the next meatiest after collards.

Gumbo Lily said...

Stew with a bottle of dark beer -- YUM-O! And bacon -- one of our family's favorite foods. Nothing better than a bacon sandwich -- 3 slices of bacon between two pieces of buttered toast. You save the bacon fat don't you -- For other frying or sauteing?


Gumbo Lily said...

The pinwheel quilt is looking lovely!