Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Supper

It's a Southern tradition to eat two things on New Years.  First, is black-eyed peas, because they bring good luck in the new year.  Second is collard greens because they bring money in the new year.  I haven't gone without eating these two things on New Years Day as long as I can remember.  I was born in March, and by the next January, I was eating table food, so I'm sure I had my peas and greens as a 10 month old.

Usually we eat roast pork, or leg of lamb with our greens, but this year, I decided to do something a little different.  We had shrimp and grits, collard greens, and Texas caviar.  If you've never had Texas caviar, it's basically a dip made from black-eyed peas. 

If you THINK you don't like collards, I BEG you to try this recipe.  Most people do not know how to cook this gem of a vegetable.  They don't cook them long enough, and they add too much liquid.

Southern Collard Greens: 

You need to get a big bunch of collard greens. One large bunch serves about 4-6 people, depending on what else you're serving (and who'll eat them, of course!) Then, before you wash them, strip them of their stems and chop.  I usually roll them up like a big cigar and slice them.  Please, please don't leave the stems on.  They are just tough and gross.

Put the chopped greens in a sink full of cold water, swish them around a bunch, and then drain in a colander.

Then, in a big pot (I use a cast iron dutch oven) put about a tablespoon of either butter or bacon grease, and fry up some salt pork, or bacon at med-high heat.  We bought a half-pig this year, and I had some uncured bacon (basically side meat) and I used that.

Fry until crisp.

Then, put in your greens.  You'll have to put in a few at a time, and stir them up to wilt them.  If you put them all in the pot at the same time, you won't be able to stir.

Then you're going to put in the following:
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock (homemade or store bought, whatever)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar (I use a natural sweetener like sucanat or maple syrup)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • Salt to taste (my chicken stock is homemade, and unsalted, so I used about 2 tsp.)
  • Red pepper flakes (just sprinkle on to taste; I probably used about 1/4 tsp or a little more)

Stir all that up and put the lid on.  Let cook on med-med/low heat for about 30-45 minutes.  When the greens are dark green, tender, and they've absorbed most of the liquid, they're done.  My hubby eats these with extra vinegar on the side.


Texas Caviar:
This recipe is a Rachael Ray, and I thought it was "delish."  I found the BEST tortilla chips to serve with this.  They came from Sam's Club, and they're whole grain, organic, and yummy!

You need:
  • 4 cups cooked black-eyed peas, drained and cooled (I used a frozen bag, and cooked them about 30 minutes in about an inch of water.)
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced red onion (I used all yellow onion; just a big one)
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
You just mix everything together and then put in the fridge for 12 hours, or until you get tired of waiting, and open the chips. :)

Shrimp and Grits: 
This is really a breakfast food, but we always it for supper, ha ha.

First, you need to cook some delicious, creamy grits.  Now, usually, grits are just made with water, but these are outstanding. Ever since I found this recipe, I make grits this way.

You need:
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grits
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup half and half or cream, divided
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Boil the water and butter.  Add the grits and salt.  Cook on med-low heat, until they're creamy, and absorbed a lot of the water, about 10 minutes.  Then add 1/2 cup half and half, and cook 7-10 more minutes.  Add last 1/2 cup half and half and cook until done (about 5-7 minutes).

(Isn't this measuring cup pretty?  It's depression glass!)

Add cheese and stir until all melted.


Shrimp with Gravy:
You need one pound of shrimp for this.  I used the frozen, pre-peeled and deveined kind (DON'T get the pre-cooked kind-blech!) and defrosted them by putting them in a colander set in a bowl of water for about 15 minutes.  Pat them dry REALLY well after this.

If you have access to really good, fresh shrimp, then I am really jealous.

Put the shrimp in a bowl with:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 tsp salt
Set aside.

Then fry up 1/4 cup onion and 1/3 red or green bell peppers with about 3T bacon grease (it really is better with the bacon grease!)

Add 2 tablespoons of flour to make a roux.  Let the mixture get golden brown.


Next, add 3/4 chicken stock and your shrimp mixture.

Cook just until shrimp are pink, and gravy is thickened.  If it's too thick, you can add a little more stock.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve over grits.

We were two happy customers, let me tell ya!


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