Monday, January 31, 2011

Some Nights You Need Dessert

Bread pudding is a welcome canvas for leftovers. We have a freezer full of bread, eggs and milk in the fridge, a pile of apples and an unusually (for us) well stocked bar. Since the hazelnut bread isn't James' favorite for sandwiches I figured it was the perfect starting point for a custardy dessert. I removed the crusts and cut the bread into 1 inch chunks and toasted them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350º. Meanwhile I soaked 1/2 cup of raisins in a splash of boubon. Next I melted two TB of butter in a skillet and added about a cup (well a heavy cup) of 1/2" peeled apple chunks, along with 1/4 cup of brown sugar ( we've run out of white sugar and I was determined to make this dessert with what we had on hand). I sautéed the apples until they were tender (about 15 minutes) added 1/2 tsp cinnamon and about 1/4 cup of bourbon and stirred over moderate heat until the bourbon made a sticky syrup (less than a minute). I poured 4 cups of milk (well a mixture of milk and cream -- that is, after all, that's what we had in the house) into a large bowl and added in the toasted bread cubes, the plumped raisins, and the caramel apples. In a separate bowl I beat 3 eggs with 1/2 cup of brown sugar (here I would have preferred white), 1 TB of vanilla, 1/2 tsp of allspice and another pinch of cinnamon. I stirred the eggs into the bread crumb mixture and poured my bread pudding in the making into a baking dish (7" x 11" I think). I drizzled the top with about 3 TB of melted butter and pre-baked the pudding for 50 minutes at 300º, then sprinkled the top with a drizzle of brown sugar and during dinner let dessert heat up in the oven (and crisp on top from the sugar sprinkle) for another 25 minutes or so at 350º. The result was soft and custardy and definitely alcoholic. With a dollop of creme fraiche it was a perfect winter dessert.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Pork Supper With Shari

Mark Bittman is leaving the New York Times, well at least he's leaving the wednesday food section and ending his column (one of my favorites), The Minimalist. The man I've often heard called America's best home cook (does his leaving mean the title is up for grabs?) in a short weekly story taught a vast readership to not be afraid, try cooking at home, or experiment with a new ingredient cooked in a simple straight forward way. He had endless recipes for achievable dinners. In fact -- his incrediblly useful cookbook is called "How To Cook Everything," and it seemed he actually knew. I may not follow his recipes exactly but he always provided a starting point to great dinners. As part of his farewell Bittman published a list of his 25 favorite columns. There staring me in the face was his super easy, crusty brown, crisp skinned pernil, the Puerto Rican slow cooked pork specialty, I couldn't wait to pull that out of my oven. Only one problem. Although I dreamed of crisp skin shattering under my knife's touch, searching several LA markets (gourmet and grocery) not only could I not find a shoulder roast with the skin on I could barely find one with a bone (that took 3 stores). I should have dusted off my very rusty Spanish and headed into the nearest Latino market -- just didn't think of it in time. Anyway with a shoulder roast in hand I mixed up Bittman's not quite traditional seasoning paste of 1 onion, 4 cloves garlic, 2 TB fresh oregano, S&P, 1 TB cumin, 1 tsp mild chili powder, and olive oil. I mixed in 1 TB of white vinegar and rubbed the paste all over the roast (I had made some slits with my knife to help the seasoning seep into the meat). Pork isn't as fatty as it used to be and without the fat cap and skin I feared my roast would dry out in the oven so I popped it in the crock pot and let it slowly simmer all day. Meanwhile I cooked up some long grain rice with chicken broth and a dab of butter, a pot of greens from our garden braised in olive oil and garlic, and homegrown lima beans simmered in water, butter and pepper until tender and finished with a bath of cream and salt. As I laid everything out on the platter Shari and I mixed up an avocado salad with sliced red onion, doused in olive oil and salt. Although Bittman doesn't suggest it, I mixed up a mojo sauce of sorts to pour on the meat and rice -- garlic oil, orange juice, vinegar, cumin, S&P. Once again Bittman was a great starting off point. I'm a little embarrassed to say I'll miss him. He's not hip or local or self-righteously seasonal, but a friendly purveyor of basic recipes. We probably need more like him.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Oyster Pizza At Home

James and I love the oyster pizza at Osteria Stellina in PT Reyes Station. And really, what's not to love? Cream braised leeks, crispy dough, salty oysters -- it's a winning combo I have never seen anywhere else. And today I found the recipe online -- it was once published in Metropolitan Home alongside a cheery article describing the little storefront restaurant as a "culinary beacon . . . as bright as the Pt Reyes lighthouse." A culinary beacon in a virtual promised land of fresh vegetables, bakeries, organic dairy farms, artisanal cheeses, pasture raised meats, and mind-blowingly fresh seafood. Food geek Valhalla. Today, just as we are having another of those, "Why don't we live there moments" I thought I'd bring a little West Marin home. I actually followed the recipe as written, except I thought I had too much of the braised leeks to use on one pie (not that they wouldn't be delicious on pasta or toast or cedar chips or cardboard if it came to it -- these are really good), so I won't try to describe it -- just link to to the master, Chef Christian Caiazzo's recipe. I'm still working on my version.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Raclette Sandwiches

We are working our way through the delicious mound of party cheese. Tonight's dinner shaved a couple slices of raclette off the total. I took thin slices of hazelnut bread, salty Jamon Serrano, butter, a good sized slice of raclette cheese and a thin smear of piquant mustard. I buttered the outside of the bread and popped them in my Christmas present grill pan. The moist cheese melts easily, the hearty bread crisps up just right. I served the sandwiches with homemade zucchini bread and butter pickles from Zuni Cafe's recipe. Cheese and pickles a great Swiss combo.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Outrageous Mac n' Cheese

Driving home form the airport (James and I grabbed a few days away in Mendocino County which turned into a virtual crab eating orgy) I mentally scanned the contents of our refrigerator thinking what I could make for James that was at once homey and special. We still have a load of delicious party leftovers and I hit on the surprising and tasty Beecher's peppered cheddar -- what a great mac n' cheese that could make. I boiled the pasta water and quickly whipped up a cheese sauce (4 Tb melted butter, and 4 tb of flour cooked whisked together over medium heat -- cooked long enough to remove the flour's raw taste, thinned with milk -- about 2 1/2 cups and a splash of heavy cream.) To the thickened sauce I added grated Marco Polo cheddar and for a mellow undertone about 1/2 cup of the buffalo milk quadrello. I stirred in about 2 tsp of finely chopped fresh sage, a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of cayenne and a sprinkle of salt and mixed the sauce with the very al dente pasta (undercooked) popped it in a baking dish and sprinkled the top with more grated cheese mixed with crunchy bread crumbs and a couple slivers of butter. The casserole baked for about 20 minutes until browned and bubbly and crunchy on top. Delicious.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Chunky Celery Soup

We made Bloody Mary's on Sunday and I forgot to put out the celery sticks so now I have a fridge full of celery. Soup. Time for soup. I chopped up one red onion, one yellow onion, 3 carrots, and about 10 stalks of celery and added them to a soup pot with a good dollop of olive oil. I let the veggies cook until the onion was just translucent and added in 3 chopped cloves of garlic, a large pinch of chili peppers, S&P, and a good splash of white wine. The wine cooked down until it was almost evaporated and then I added in about 6 cups of chicken broth, a drained can of pinto beans, and some leftover steamed fingerling potatoes. I brought the soup up to a simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes until the veggies were tender but not mushy. I added in about a 1 1/2 cups of cooked wild rice for the last couple minutes (just to heat through).
Meanwhile I made a quick pesto ( a flavored oil really) with celery leaves, parsley, a bit of fresh sage, hazelnuts, pecorino cheese, and olive oil. Just before serving I laid a dollop of pesto of top of the hot soup for extra flavor.

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Mini" Raclette

Raclette, the dish, like it's cousin fondue, is basically delicious melted cheese (usually plain or even flavored Raclette although Morbier and Appenzeller while not traditional work well too) served with roasted potatoes, cornichons and pickled onions. Crusty bread and slices of cured meats like ham, salami and especially traditional Swiss Bundnerfleisch (the Swiss version of Italian Bresaola -- air dried, cured beef) generally round out a raclette party.
Since we served raclette for our guests I had all of the ingredients in the fridge, but instead of pulling out the raclette melter (we have an electric one although in picturesque Swiss chalets it's reportedly made by leaning a half wheel of cheese near the fireplace) I popped a pile of steamed potatoes in an au gratin dish, added bits of ham, and topped with thick slices of raclette cheese. After a few minute under the broiler I sprinkled on something I have just recently discovered . . . Raclette spice. Apparently a Swiss favorite, the McCormick product is a combination of paprika, peppers, nutmeg, caraway seeds, garlic powder, coriander seed and cumin. Adds a nice hint of spice to the rich cheese.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Post Party Carbonara

I'm not sure they would agree along the Spanish Steps but I consider spaghetti alla carbonara (or any pasta shape) a recipe with infinite variations. As long as it starts with onions and garlic and finishes with raw eggs stirred and turned to a creamy sauce in the heat from the just cooked pasta I call it carbonara.
Tonights version started with shallots (well, almost an onion) and garlic sautéing in olive oil along with chopped, fennel scented salami. I added in a pinch of chili peppers, chopped fresh sage and rosemary. I sautéed the mix until the shallots were soft and translucent but not colored, added in a little pat of butter, and turned off the heat. After I drained the pasta I added it back to the still warm pasta pot, along with the mix from the sauté pan, 2 raw eggs (I usually use 1 egg per person), a good sized dash of fresh ground pepper, and some small cubes (without the rind) of leftover buffalo milk quadrello. I gave everything a good stir until the heat made that familiar creamy sauce I always call carbonara.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Leftovers With Shari

The boys are out of town on business so Shari and I decided to share some party leftovers. Mmmmm leftover oysters.
I decided to toss together some old fashioned oyster fritters. A down home recipe -- I was born a Maryland girl after all. My grandmother usually made "single padded oysters". Individual oysters rolled in milk (or egg) and cracker crumbs (in MD we call them padded for the way the coating is pressed around the bivalve before frying). But tonight I decided on the softer, free form fritters. For fritters -- unlike singles -- several oysters are coated and fried together.
I made a soft batter of 1 cup of flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, a dash of cayenne, and salt. To the the dry ingredients I added 2 eggs beaten together with 1 cup of milk. I gave the batter a quick mix and stirred in the oysters. I dropped the coated oysters by the handful in hot oil and cooked until they were just brown on each side. Back home these fritters would come with a side of puckery tartar sauce. I had some creme fraiche left over and so I whipped up a bright horseradish sauce (creme fraiche, ketchup, chili sauce, horseradish, salt) and served homemade pickles (carrot sticks and zucchini slices) on the side.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Good Time Was Had By All

After much obsessing and worry we decided way back when to move our usual December party into January. After a couple months of planning and plotting, yesterday was the day. It's aways nice to start with a drink. We offered Grey Goose Bloody Mary's, Van Winkle Bourbon Manhattans, Navarro Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat Blanc, Boont Amber Ale, pink lemonade and sparkling water.
One of our hero cheeses. Piedmont made by Virgnia's Everona Dairy, a richly flavored sheep's milk (almost like a Manchego) cheese served with rosemary marcona almond pralines and dried figs.
Bresaola (Italian air dried beef) anchored the raclette table where we scraped the melted cheese off the wheel and served it up on steamed potatoes.
We paired this raw cow's milk Tomme De Crayeuse aged French cheese with a homemade dark kumquat lime marmalade. The cheese alone is creamy and earthy with a buttery mouth feel. With the marmalade topping the already intense flavor just explodes in your mouth. It was my favorite combination of the party.
Ringed by thinly sliced lightly fennel flavored salami is Quadrello di Bufala, a Taleggio style cheese made with buffalo milk. Pickled carrot sticks and zucchini slices are waiting behind.Delicious peppered cheddar from Beecher's Handmade Cheese of Seattle shared a platter with homemade pistachio chicken liver pate. Beecher's makes their cheese behind a glass wall at the Pikes Place Market. You can watch this delicious bandage wrapped cheddar pressed and formed while eating their self proclaimed world famous mac and cheese.
Cheese with a view.
Our secret cheese find. Two wheels of aged raw sheep's milk pecorino aged in a ceramic cask with fresh olive branches. The unusual cheese was slightly dry and almost chalky but with a full grassy flavor and mild herb scent.
Cheese table 2.
A close up from our ham table. This is the cheese James thinks might just be the best in the world, Coach Farm Triple Cream. It's the only triple cream goat's milk cheese I have ever seen and it's creamy and mild and delicious. We served it with homemade blood orange marmalade for a touch of sweetness.
That's our yearly Jamon Serrano (basically Spanish prosciutto -- a favorite at every Tapas bar) waiting to be sliced. This table also featured a creamy salt cod purée (Thanks Martha) and roasted tomatoes.
I went a little mad on desserts (this wasn't the only table) I think there were 15 in all.
James loved these sour cherry and pear tartlettes.
Turkish coffee pots de creme were a big hit with the adults and I loved serving them in the delicate demitasse cups. They combined bold espresso with a dash of fragrant cardamom.
Strawberry mini cupcakes with strawberry buttercream.
The Meyer lemon (from our tree) sablés were one of our five kinds of cookies. The others were chocolate black pepper, Earl Grey shortbreads, cornmeal lemon thyme and rosemary pine nut cookies.
Lavender mini cupcakes with honey cream cheese frosting.
Milk chocolate pots de creme in tiny shot glasses, sitting on the buffet next to Lillet flavored marshmallows.
After all this, the star of the show really are James' grilled oysters with flavored butters. He works all afternoon popping shells and spooning in dollops of Meyer lemon herb, bacon blue cheese, or fennel chili butter. There is always a crowd at the grill -- and not even a picture to show for it. . . Maybe next year.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Just A Sneak peak

I'll post the full report tomorrow, but here's a sneak peak of (post) holiday party 2010 - 2011.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Everyone Does It

Tomorrow is our party and we've cleaned the house from top to bottom -- pressure washed the deck, steam cleaned the drapes, scrubbed out the ovens and polished the glasses. I had to let dinner go for just one night and keep everything tidy.
I dashed over to Dinah's an old LA family run restaurant and carry-out known for fried chicken, apple pancakes (at their west side location), and individually sized pies. James loves fred chicken, and in fact Dinah's is just okay . . . but there is something so friendly and old fashioned about the lace that I can't help but like it. Box for two with pineapple coleslaw please.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pork Fried Tacos

Another night I needed dinner in a hurry. I had already defrosted a bit of slow cooked Cuban pork. I chopped the meat and added it to a skillet with olive oil, chili peppers, marjoram, S&P and cooked over medium high heat until the meat crisped and the edges browned. I layered the meat along with some crumbled feta cheese and chopped red onion into flour tortillas and put the formed tacos back in the skillet (wiped out) to toast in a bit of hot oil. Double fried tacos. James loved them.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lillet Marshmallows

In fact, James is a man and a boyfriend with very few faults. But -- if I were to start a list, somewhere near the top would certainly be that he doesn't like marshmallows. In a cruel twist of fate (okay, it's not quite The Gift Of The Magi) marshmallows are something I LOVE to make. I've been saving this recipe for Lillet marshmallows for literally years now -- booze flavored fluffy candy . . . fantastic.
Lillet is a French aperitif made from blending Bordeaux wines with citrus liquors. It's fairly strong but somehow tastes of honey and flowers and grapefruit all at once. I just love the idea of these grown up marshmallows.
One thing I don't particularly love is the mess that comes with each batch of these fluffy confections. The mixed base is gooey and sticky, the whole kitchen seems dredged in powdered sugar, shiny sugar cobwebs cover my knives and spatulas. But, when I cut the soft little squares and see them bounce lightly on my board like sugary pillows I can't help being charmed and taken in once again. I forget the mess until the next time.
This idea of aperitif marshmallows really has me going -- next up -- lightly pink Campari flavored puffs -- just not for James.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Cheeses Are Coming

The cheeses have started to arrive for Sunday's cheese, oyster and ham extravaganza. First up, delicious, piquant, seasonal Rogue River Blue from the Rogue Creamery in Oregon. Raw cow's milk aged with naturally occurring molds and wrapped in pear brandy soaked grape leaves. We'l be serving it with oregon hazelnuts, Rustic Bakery cherry pan forte crostini and our backyard honey.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Double Grill Pan Dinner

Driving home from work I was dreaming up ways to use my new grill pan and came up with this doubled grilled dinner. First I rubbed the pan with a bit of olive oil and laid in some trimmed asparagus sprinkled with coarse salt. I let the spears color in the very hot pan. They weren't quite as tender as I wanted so when the color was right I splashed the pan with a bit of water and the resulting steam finished the asparagus perfectly.
Next I prepped some sandwiches. The rosemary bread was thinly spread with butter and Dijon mustard. I topped the bread with 1 slice of prosciutto, several spears of grilled asparagus, a sprinkle of nutmeg, and slices of gruyere cheese. I buttered the outside of the sandwiches just a bit and laid them in the grill pan with the Le Creuset panini press (a weighted ridged lid with a handle) on top. Five minutes on a side and we had creamy melted cheese and beautiful Martha Stewart eat your heart out grill marks.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cauliflower Pasta

Honestly I could eat pasta everyday and never get tired of it. There are literally millions of ways to serve it and every sauce makes it seem like a brand new dish. And, it goes really well with cheese.
For tonight's quick pasta dinner I boiled some cauliflower in the boiling water (for just a few minutes) and plopped the par-cooked vegetable in a sauté pan along with olive oil, garlic, pancetta, oregano, fresh thyme, fennel seeds and dried chili peppers. I added the noodles to the same water and as it cooked the pancetta crisped and the cauliflower cooked down into a sweet sauce. I added in a splash of white wine and let it reduce just a bit. I drained the pasta and added the sautéed mix, grated parmesan and gruyère cheeses, a knob of butter and a healthy splash of pasta cooking water, gave it all a good stir and watched the water and cheese form a light sauce for James' dinner.
Dinner in 15 minutes, and I think he might have licked the bowl.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Another "Bean Diet" Dinner

Our friend Eric came to join us for dinner and once again I am stretching culinary muscles trying to make meat free, fat free, dairy free not end up being taste free. We started off with soup. I simmered chunks of zucchini, a chopped onion, and a bag of frozen peans in broth for about 15 minutes until the vegetables were soft and popped everything in the blender along with a large bunch of basil (adds flavor and a bright green color), salt and pepper. First course done.
Not the most picturesque dish but pretty tasty I whipped up some vegan bean burgers. I ground cannelini beans, mushrooms, onion, parsley, garlic, pine nuts, dried chiles, kidney beans and almonds in the food processor and stirred in rolled oats and wheat bran as a binder. After the mixture refrigerated until sort of firm I formed patties and baked them for 30 minutes at 350º, flipped and baked for 15 minutes more. That's more time than I usually take to fry burgers but they held together and boasted a better texture than most bean burgers I've made in the past. I topped the burgers with a quick, zesty guacamole. On the side, a big mixed vegetable salad (dressing: almonds, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, and mustard blended together).
Dessert may perhaps be my biggest challenge. No sugar, no butter, no flour. All that's left is a crisp. I mixed blueberries and pitted cherries with a couple chopped dates for sweetness. For a topping I mixed rolled oats, vanilla soy milk, vanilla extract, apple juice, cinnamon, and 1 egg white. I baked this make-shift sweet for an hour at 350º until the topping was crisp and the fruit bubbling.
Pretty good for a "diet" dinner. Thanks for the pix Eric.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday Night Stuffing

I had a full day of pickling, baking, and candy making and oddly enough none of it was for James. I'm in the throws of prep for our upcoming party. When I finally looked up and realized what time it was I had to get dinner ready in a hurry and went straight to the freezer for a casserole of stuffing I tucked away on Thanksgiving. A nice pork and sausage stuffing and a bright, fresh green and red salad (mixed lettuces, chopped pistachios, pomegranate seeds, goat cheese and a mustard sherry vinaigrette). That's dinner in a hurry around here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Panini Press Plus

Along with my fabulous new grill pan James picked out a panini press that was backordered. It just arrived so I have to give my new pan a full workout. Bacon, Gruyère, and red onion sandwiches dipped in an egg batter (egg, cream, salt and cayenne pepper) and "grilled" (pan fried is more like it) along the non-stick ridges -- pressed with the top weight to toasty, crispy, perfection. "I could live on these," James said as he munched happily.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Clam Standard

I don't know why I ever follow recipes. James loves clams. By now I really know what he likes but I like to try new things, I figured James love clams, James love potatoes how wrong could a Bon Appétit recipe go? I think the crucial turn was following the directions and instead of adding the chorizo at the beginning with the oil and onions and peppers adding it with the clams and missing out on all that extra flavor that comes when the chorizo crisps in olive oil. I should have skipped the red pepper (James isn't a huge fan of peppers and this time of year they are sort of bland anyway) and added some chili peppers at that same step. next time it'll go something like . . . sauté thinly sliced onions (2), chopped garlic, crushed red chiles and chopped chorizo (good sized chunks so it stands up to the potatoes' cooking time) in olive oil, covered, about 5 minutes until the onions are soft. Add in 1 lb potatoes peeled and cut into 3/4" chunks. Sauté over medium heat, partially covered for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are starting to brown and the potatoes are almost fully tender. Add in 3/4 cup of white wine, bring to a simmer, add in clams, a knob of butter and a handful of chopped parsley -- cover and cook for about 6 minutes until the clams have opened. All in all it was an okay dinner (good thing I had a batch of extra gooey brownies standing by) but not up to our "clam standard."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pasta Dinner

"Hamburger Helper, Honey?" James said as he sat down to dinner. I figured he was just trying to rattle me a bit and then I glanced back and well -- it did kind of look like those skillet dinners. Little did he know it was fresh crab meat with pancetta in an olive oil, butter and wine sauce. After that first bite I didn't hear any more about the box from the friendly hand.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ina's Fried Chicken

I felt like doing something nice for James. He has been super sweet lately and I had a defrosted chicken in the fridge, I just didn't feel like dealing with disposing or straining all the oil it takes to make a good fried chicken. So, I decided to compromise with an over fried variation and after a google search came up with a recipe from The Barefoot Contessa. I have to say I laughed out loud. Ina Garten may be a lot of things but her recipes are never short on fats (oils, mayonnaise, etc) -- in fact I generally cut the fat in half when I use her ideas and sure enough, IG's idea of "oven fried" chicken starts with frying the pieces in a skillet with an inch of vegetable oil or shortening. Not exactly a denizen on low fat cooking, Mrs Garten.
But, it seemed like a good technique to try, and a good, slightly less messy compromise for James' dinner. First I soaked the chicken pieces in some salted buttermilk for a few hours (IG said overnight but today was our chicken day). Then I dredged them in seasoned flour (I used salt, cayenne, white and black pepper) and laid each piece into the oil for about 3 minutes on a side, until just lightly golden brown. I used a combination of vegetable oil, olive oil (left over from those braised potatoes) and a bit of bacon grease from James' breakfast. When the chicken was nice and golden I placed it on a rack on a baking sheet and popped the tray in the oven for about 30 minutes at 375º.
Deep fried? No. Oven fried? Not exactly. An easy way to make "fried" chicken for a crowd? Maybe, just maybe.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Last Of The Lemons

One last batch of marmalade and it's good-bye to beautiful Meyer lemons for another year. Sigh.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Good Luck

Every year I make Hoppin' John for New Year's Day. By tradition the black-eyed peas and rice are supposed to bring good luck for the coming year -- for extra measure I usually cook up a pot of greens (also because James loves them). The beans are supposed to bring coins to mind (and to your pocket), the greens (this year it was kale) piles of "folding money."
To cook up our pot of luck I started with some slab bacon cut into chunks and rendered over a low flame. To the the pork fat I added chopped onions, carrots, celery, dried thyme, oregano, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, white pepper, black pepper, and chopped garlic. When the onions were soft but not yet colored I added in some fresh black-eyed peas, a couple of piquillo peppers I had left from James' steak sauce the other night and a good quantity of home made turkey stock (in the freezer since Thanksgiving). I brought the pot up to a boil and let it simmer until the beans were just about tender (about an hour). I added salt to taste and big mounds of shredded kale to the pot and let it cook down in the liquid until the greens were tender -- about another 20 minute or so. I finished the dish with a little swirl of cream to mellow the flavors. This year I served the rice on the side instead of cooking it in the "pot likker." Either way 2011 is looking good -- starting with this dinner.
Happy New Year!