Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year, southern style

Well, I suppose it goes without saying that my new years’ resolutions include: do a better job keeping up with this blog…

But I have to say, despite the grim reaper knocking off the idols of my teenage years left and right, and the mass insanity of the American electorate… 2016 was a pretty good year for me. And 2017 got off to a great start yesterday, with a family dinner at my house that was full of ”pinterest wins” that deliciously satisfied the southern requirements for luck and money in the coming year. 

When my family gets together, everyone contributes. My brother and sister-in-law put their new pressure cooker to use making black-eyed peas (less than half an hour, no soaking, and they were amazing!). Dad and my stepmom brought cornbread, mac and cheese for the kiddos, and Dad baked a pound cake on a whim.

Since I was hosting, I got to try out lots of new recipes:

Of course the Barefoot Contessa made it into the mix. Maybe that means I'll get a little Ina-and-Jeffrey mojo this year. If not, I’ll still have this yummy maple-roasted carrot salad in my life. I could eat a plateful of the carrots just on their own, but they shine in this wonderful sweet-tart–crunchy salad. I used spring mix instead of arugula, which worked well here too.

Pigs were represented by the most amazing slow cooker Cuban pork from Amy at Belly Full. I used a five-pound butt, and upped the ingredients a bit. The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender and really flavorful. I’ll be eating the leftovers with black beans and rice for lunch this week, and its definitely going onto my make-again list.

The greens were collards, cooked the traditional way. I didn’t like collards well into adulthood, then I made an amazing, if blasphemous, discovery. I don’t like collard greens the way my mom cooked them.  One of the very few things I can say that about, I realized that when they are not cooked to a bitter, olive drab death, collards can be pretty tasty. I followed this guideline from Simply Recipes for the most part, although I used seasoning bacon and after reading some other recipes, I added two teaspoons of sugar to the pot to cut the bitterness.   Even the 10-year old ate them, so I must have done something right!

Since I didn’t get around to baking cookies before Christmas last year, I tried two of the recipes I had been eyeing on pinterest. Smitten Kitchen never disappoints, and the “Browniest Cookies” were no exception – Insanely dense, decadent, chewy, chocolaty goodness. But my nephew doesn’t like chocolate, so for him, I made brown sugar cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction that were soft and yummy, with just a hint of cinnamon. Hint: Penzeys ceylon cinnamon has a mild, fruity flavor that was great here.

Obviously, the diet started today! To all of my friends and family out there, Happy New Year and here’s hoping that 2017 is filed with wonderful adventures, good times and lots of love!