Happy happy everyone. Hope your days have been full-up with good stuff like gingerbread men, raffia, pine needles, chanukah candle wax, reindeer hoofprints, toys that have “off” buttons, friends from far away, family that makes you smile, ham, latkes, gooses, wine and all the trappings of whatever holidays you’re celebrating these days. We’re in the home stretch now, 2007 a mere 27 hours away and let me tell you, I’m ready. 2006 has been a lot. of. work. And I’m not one bit sad to see it move on into the history books.
To celebrate a whole new year, we’ll be rockin our annual New Year’s Day party on Monday and I want to encourage any of you who might find yourselves in or near Charlotte to please drop by. We started the NYD party concept when we realized that NYE was pretty much over for us until Zoe and Lucy get a social life. But we have a history of lovely happy and sometimes hard core new year’s eves and we just felt like we needed to continue to celebrate, even if we didn’t have the wherewithall to stay up drinking champan-ya til the wee hours (thanks to the wee ones). It won’t be quite the same here in Charlotte what with so many of our favorite loved ones still in Durham, but we’re forging ahead in the hopes of crafting new traditions around this holiday of renewal and hope.
So come on by and say hello. I’ll be servin up collards and black eyed peas all day and I’d love to put some wealth and luck into your tummy too.
And if I don’t see you, I offer you the world’s best recipe for collards (reblogged from last year) so you can put wealth into your tummy all by yourself if you want.
- 4 bunches of collards, long stems and tough ribs removed
- 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 recipe, which has been helping me for many years to make people’s New Years just that much luckier and fortunier.)
Happy New Year to you all. I hope it brings you everything you wish for, and then some.
See you on the other side.