Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Southern Snapshot

There's something magical about the fact that it took this very meal to bring me out of blog hibernation. It's unmistakable, it's extraordinary, it's just exactly right. It's perfect that a truly Southern meal - the truest, the Southernest of meals - has inspired me enough to tell you about it.

Collard greens.
Pinto beans.

Nothing fancy. You've heard it before. But for real. For. Real. So good.

Last weekend at the market, I had a bit of extra cash despite being close to the end of the month, so I went all out, buying whatever I felt like. The first winter carrots from David Heeks, beautiful orange sweet potatoes, daikon radishes, broccoli, a stray head of cabbage, and best of all, four glorious bunches of collard greens. FOUR. This is a lot.

Jamie and I ate some as Marie's famous collard wraps with tahini and sauerkraut. Half of one bunch went into an African peanut and pineapple stew over the weekend. Some turned into a breakfast sautee with garlic and fried eggs. One bunch is still waiting to be eaten (but now I have an idea where it might go...)

But tonight, oh tonight. I finally took a dear friend's advice and decided to cook collards the old Southern way, with meat. But still somewhat averse to the traditional bacon-and-grease method, I took a more subdued approach, using a hearty beef bouillon in large quantity to flavor the stock for the collards along with my favorite spice, smoked paprika. And since I was making collards, I figured I'd make some barbecue baked pinto beans. And then, since I was cooking collards and greens and the oven was already on and I had a box of Jiffy mix, I decided to make some cornbread.

What a perfect array.

I'm so thankful that we're still early into collard season. This is the first of many nights of this exact, perfect dinner. Yes.

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