ZOOB revisted

By December 29, 2007thoughts

Back in 2005, Bob and I actually wrote a note on all the holiday cards we sent out. My handwriting is angular and choppy, and when I wrote “best wishes for all good things in 2006” about 100 times, Bob pointed out that it actually looked like it said “best wishes for all good things in zoob.” Which it did.

This year we didn’t actually personalize all our holiday cards (apologies to those of you who received them and felt slighted by the impersonal pre-printed generic holiday message), but the few I did said something along the lines of “here’s hoping for all good things in 2008.” And don’t you know it looked suspiciously like “here’s hoping for all good things in ZOOB.”

Which means, of course, that this year is going to be a lot like 2006, but in ALL CAPS! Awesome!

To launch it for you, I’m going to post, again, in case you didn’t record it the first two times, the recipe for the WORLD’S BEST collard greens, which, if you didn’t know, work in tandem with black eyed peas to bring you wealth and luck in the COMING YEAR (see what I mean? All caps! And in a run-on sentence no less!).

This is reblogged from last year and the year before but I promise the recipe is just as good. And please understand, when I say that these greens are the WORLD’S BEST, what I mean is that people who swear they hate collards/cabbage/spinach/kale/ have been seen going back for seconds of these greens.

Here you go:

Braised Collards

  • 4 bunches of collards, long stems and tough ribs removed
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup Brown Butter (recipe included)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dried chipotle
  • Pepper vinegar (recipe follows)

Wash the greens thoroughly in a whole lot of water (I fill my sink and wash them in there). Place the dripping wet leaves in a pot of water, add salt (to taste). Cook the greens for about 10 minutes (until they’re all wilted and reduced down quite a bit). Remove to a bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Heat 1/4 cup unsalted butter on medium-low until it turns brown and nutty. Strain off the milk-fat solids. (This is something I make a big batch of ahead-of-time and keep in the fridge.) Increase the heat to medium. Add the onion, garlic, pepper flakes and chipotle, stirring occasionally until the garlic is lightly colored and onion is soft. Add the greens, their reserved cooking water, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook for 30 minutes and taste again for salt (they can use a lot). You can continue cooking until the greens are “within an inch of their life” or you can stop here. The longer they cook, the better they’ll taste.

Serve with pepper vinegar on the side.

Recipe for Pepper Vinegar: 1 cup white vinegar + 4 oz serrano chiles. Drop the washed and dried chiles into a bottle that has been freshly washed in hot, soapy water. (A narrow neck bottle is preferable so the vinegar can be drizzled rather than poured, but it doesn’t really matter.) Bring the vinegar to a boil in a small pan, then transfer to the bottle (via a measuring cup or some other easy-pouring device). Let it sit uncapped until cool. The peppers will absorb some of the vinegar. Add more vinegar to fill the bottle, then cap and set aside in the cupboard. The vinegar will be best if you make this about 6 weeks ahead. But you can speed the process by using sliced peppers rather than whole. Fwiw, whole peppers makes the finished bottle a little more artistic looking, but the main goal is spicy vinegar for your collards, so taste trumps all.

(Thanks to Deborah Madison for the original base recipe, and especially for the brown butter secret. You have been helping me for many years to make people’s New Years just that much luckier and fortunier.)

———–

Happy New Year everyone! Hope ZOOB is, for you, all that it promises to be. Filled with luck and fortune and lots and lots of love. And all those other things you’re hoping for as we hit this annual reset button.

GO O8!!

+ + +

The GO O8 art is from our New Year’s Day party invitation. Planning to be in or near Charlotte on Tuesday? Email me for directions!!

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Happy ZOOB to you, too, Laurie! Here’s wishing you and your family all good things in 2008.

  • Go ’08 to you and yours too!

  • Betsy says:

    Happy new year! By the way, can this recipe be adapted for spice wimps?

  • Laurie says:

    Betsy – these greens aren’t spicy at all. The spices essentially work to replicate the flavors usually created by [insert fatty pork product here]. As you know, the vegetarians have me surrounded, so I make my greens sans pork. So, sure, you can reduce the red pepper flakes. Won’t affect taste too much. But don’t leave out the chipotle. And most importantly, don’t omit the brown butter. That’s the midas touch.

    Happy New Year sweetie. Wish we were throwing down together on E. 66th tomorrow night!

  • kyran says:

    I bought five bunches of greens, got them home in the sink, and thought, we are going to be eating greens for a week.

    Our guests practically licked the skillet clean. What a hit. This one’s a keeper. Thank you for sharing.

    xo

  • Happy New Year, Laurie. I’m so exited to try this recipe as I’m not a huge collard fan, but the idea of overflowing greens in 08 is a good one.

  • ruth Cohen says:

    Laurie Dear, I just can’t do it!

    Let’s face it, I’m Jewish, raised in the Bronx, Kosher home, not a risk taker, and last but not least OLD. You know what they say about old dogs.

    Thanks for the onfo anyhoo, I will pass it on to more apprreciative audience!

    Love, love love!!!!!!!!!

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