Sunday, December 9, 2012

What's It All About

So sorry I am late with my weekly post, but I have been doing some restructuring.  I originally embarked on all of this with the intention of talking about African American Food as it relates to where we originated, where we have been and where we need to go as we continually evolve. 

Don’t go click to another page. 

I promise not too be preachy.  I have so much I want to share about African American food—food that originates from a people who left a place of green vegetables, tubers, grains and fruit.  In addition to our history, one that is rich and layered with flavors, textures and colors, I’ll show you new and healthier ways of preparing old favorites.

African American food is one the original fusion foods that melds African, Caribbean, South American, Native American and European influences. As I write these posts, I hope to bring to light the multitude of flavors that embody the African American experience as well and introduce new ones that can be incorporated in our culinary repertoire. 

Before I go any further, I need to thank my friend Karen for reminding me of my focus.
Thank you, KBS!


Collards green have always been among my favorite leafy green vegetables. This phytonutrient rich green is also and good source of calcium.  Growing up many of the cooked green vegetables we ate were prepared with some type of smoked, cured or salted pork.  Mom would prepare them with a minimal amount of water because she said that all of the nutrients would go into the water and since we were not going to drink the water, very little liquid was needed.  She was right!

Historically African American slaves had a strong tradition of eating many cooked greens.  They would boil the vegetables in water and soak up that nutrient rich liquid, which they called pot likker, with corn bread.

Although I still enjoy my greens with a piece of pork, I have made a conscious effort to leave it out.  I have tried substituting turkey but in realizing the fat and sodium content is often comparable to pork, I just assume leave it out.  Caramelizing onions gives the greens the sweetness of a smoked protein and adding a smoked salt or smoked pepper give it a hint of smokiness akin to a smoked neck bone or ham hock. 

1-tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion sliced (10 oz)
2 teaspoons julienne garlic
1-pound bunch of collard greens
1 teaspoon Alderwoods smoked salt
Black pepper to taste

Heat  olive oil in large saut√© pan; add onions with ½ teaspoon of the Alderwoods salt.  
Cover pan and allow to brown stirring occasionally to prevent onions from browning to quickly and burning. 
While onions are caramelizing, clean the collards by removing the thick portion of the stem from the leaves. Stack up the leaves, roll them and cut about ¼ inch thick.  Wash them in cold water; allow draining a bit.
When onions are almost caramelized, add garlic; cook a few minutes more.
Add collard and remaining salt and black pepper to taste.

Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until greens are just tender but not mushy. 

Remove from pan and serve.

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