A new adventure to start 2016

January 2, 2016

Similar to above illustration, which I stole off the web because I forgot to take one.

Similar to above illustration, which I stole off the web because I forgot to take one.

I have cooked my first turnip greens.

Yes, faithful readers (all 23 or so of you), it’s true. I am 60 years old and, until yesterday, had never cooked a turnip green. In related activity, I did not eat turnip greens, or kale, or collards, or poke sallet, or spinach, or any other kind of cooked green leafy thing.

Not certain how I managed to grow up poor, in the South, in the country, and intensely dislike turnip greens, but I did. When Mama would cook them, I’d find an excuse to be somewhere else. When I couldn’t be somewhere else and they were on the menu, I’d eat peanut butter and jelly.  Or something.

In what I can only explain as a softening of my brain brought on by advancing years, I decided to cook turnip greens for New Year’s Day for Child A, who dearly loves them. So I bought a bag of cut-up, pre-washed greens at Kroger, and wagged them home, along with a head of cabbage so I could make some slaw for myself.

Then I had to Google a recipe for turnip greens. Found one on a blog dedicated to Southern recipes; it sounded reasonable, so I tried it.

Greens, diced bacon (just a couple of strips), a splash of vinegar, a teaspoon each of salt and sugar, a teaspoon of beef  bouillon powder, a quart of water. Had all that. And the ever-faithful Instant Pot, which is becoming more and more a favorite kitchen appliance. I put them on to steam on high pressure for 20 minutes, let them slow cook for an hour and a half after that. Tasted. Not quite as tender as I thought they ought to be. Another 10 minutes at high pressure.

Remarkably, they were pretty good. I wouldn’t voluntarily cook them for dinner because I wanted them, but I could eat them. Child A said they could’ve been cooked a bit longer, and without the bacon, but pronounced them good as well.

I was kinda proud.

We had them with a black-eyed pea cassoulet, a very simple treatment in which some onion and garlic were sauteed in the Instant Pot and the soaked peas added, then cooked at high pressure for 20 minutes (should’ve been a bit less; they got mushy). Then I drained them and added a cup of home-canned tomato sauce and a couple of tablespoons of smoked paprika, as well as some beef smoked sausage I’d cut into medallions and browned briefly. That went into the oven with a topping of bread crumbs.

Scalloped pineapple — pineapple baked in a thickened brown sugar sauce with lots of cheese, and some cherries for good measure — and the cole slaw rounded out the NYD meal.

Latkes with caviar. Apple butter for the ones to the left.

Latkes with caviar. Apple butter for the ones to the left.

Earlier in the day, I’d ushered in 2016 with a fitting brunch, of mini-latkes topped with sour cream and some White River caviar. Just excellent. Purely excellent. I made the latkes about 1/3 the size I’d regularly cook, added a schmear of sour cream atop each, and dipped a half-teaspoon or so of the glistening black hassleback roe onto each.

Sweet Baby Jesus. Made my eyes roll back in my head, they did. Along with a mimosa, they were a most excellent way to welcome the new year. I have caviar left over, so I think I’ll make a few deviled eggs today and use what’s left to top them.

Which may be the only cooking I do today, as I have stuff I’ve made for the last two or three days still on hand that I can eat, and I seem to be trying to come down with a cold or a sore throat. Have called off my regular Saturday night date as I don’t want to get AGC 2 sick, and will cocoon here on the couch and watch football and basketball all day.

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em keep on enjoying 2016. I won’t invite you over, as I don’t want to share my germs.



One Response to “A new adventure to start 2016”

  1. Georgia born and raised. I cook most of the traditional southern greens. I agree with child A – “X” the bacon. Everything else sounds inline with my greens recipe. I add other vegetables on top of my collards while they are cooking (peppers, okra, onions and sometimes celery. That way the greens get a bit more flavor (without adding meat) and I have additional vegetables to eat at meal time. If you want to add the protein use smoked turkey wings. I wouldn’t use turkey drumsticks because of the bone splinters. Most of the time I use organic, low sodium chicken broth when I want to change the flavor away from the vegetable flavor.

    Thanks for sharing.

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