Monday, January 10, 2011

Bacon and ....

You can put bacon almost with any vegetable and make it taste absolutely delicious. The key is to not put too much bacon. Making a meal for 2 people, I suggest using no more than 3 slices. Last night, I made a little concoction with butternut squash, wax potatos, kale and bacon that was absolutely delicious and relatively healthy ---- or not? Who cares. It takes relatively little time to make, tastes delicious and all of the ingredients can be purchased at your local farmers market in January.

Bacon and.....

6 wax potatos (small)
1 butternut squash
1 head of kale
3 slices of bacon
4 tablespoons olive oil (get the good kind if you can)
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons vegan butter
Several sprigs of thyme
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese


1. Prepare your ingredients: Peel the skin off of your butternut squash using a carrot peeler, dice into 1/2 inch cubes and set aside; slice your potatoes about 1 centimeter thick and set aside; slice your bacon into 1/3 inch slices; wash and chop your kale into 1 inch slices and set aside.
2. Heat a pan on medium high and throw your bacon in to cook until it gets crispy.
3. Add your potatoes along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and brown. Add chicken stock and turn heat down to medium. Place lid on pan and let cook on medium for 10 minutes.
4. While potatoes are cooking, add vegan butter to a separate pan and turn stove to medium high. Once butter is hot, add the butternut squash and brown while slowly adding in the brown sugar to help it caremlize.
5. Add the thyme to the butternut squash when they are almost at the end of their cooking time (10-15 minutes - you know they are done when they are soft).
6. Add the kale to your potatoes and add a tablespoon more of olive oil, put the lid on and let simmer for 10 minutes (cooking kale until it is tender).
7. Once kale is almost done, add shredded cheese to top of the kale/potato dish and put the lid on for a couple of minutes until cheese melts.
8. Serve kale/potato dish in a deep bowl, add butternut squash on top with fresh cracked pepper


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Help me out here New Yorkers, what's the deal with NY pizza?

When I was in Rome a few years ago I noticed that the food was incredibly amazing, almost everywhere you went. It was as if it was not possible to get bad pizza, it did not exist in Rome - at it's worst it was OK, but never bad. Is that true for NYC or have I just been lucky? I had this slice today from a pizza place in Penn Station. It was effing amazing!!! How can slice pizza from an Amtrak station be that mind blowing? What's the deal? Help me out here.

A New Year's Tradition - Ham-hocks and Collard Greens

Every year on New Years Day my father cooks up some good old fashioned collard greens, ham-hocks and black eyed peas. As most of you know, black eyed peas are a traditional good luck food for the New Year for reasons no one really knows. There are multiple theories out there but no definite conclusions. This recipe, my father has had for as long as I can remember and I'm pretty sure goes back in his mind as long as he remembers - back to his time in Mississippi as a young boy in the 40's. Yes, my father was born in 1940, but he doesn't look a day older than being born in 1960. It's quite annoying really.

Anyway, point is - this is a family recipe and one that I'm quite proud of. It is a recipe that my father makes with fresh collard greens from his own garden, smoked ham-hocks that we'll just say come from the family ranch down the street called Raley's, and black eyed peas that come from a place called a can (or you can use dried beans if you wish).

You are lucky this year, this 2011 that we now inhabit, because I am sharing this simple recipe with you without anything demanded in exchange. Now, I'm not so naive as to think that this recipe does not exist out there in the universe without me putting it up on this blog. I'm just saying, it's cooler when you can cook this recipe in your kitchen while envisioning Senior Mr. FoodSnob DC making it throughout the years. We'll call him Mr. Greens for the purpose of this post. I don't want to reveal his actual identity for fear of over-popularity. He has enough of that already.

So, the recipe goes like this:


6-10 collard green stalks
1 can of black eyed peas (purchased from the market by your eldest daughter)
2 ham-hocks (instead of Raley's, let's do this upscale style and purchase them from your neighborhood butcher market, ours is called S&S)
6 cups water
1 whole yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons soy bean paste (optional)
1 jalapeno


  1. OK! Now! Turn the football game on! Do it! Get comfortable and put a big smile on your face.
  2. Get your bathrobe on! It's cold out there! Go pick some collard greens - about 6-10 stalks!
  3. Fill a large soup pot with your 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add your ham-hocks and lower the stove temperature to medium. 
  4. Let the ham-hocks cook in the water for about 45 minutes. During those 45 minutes do the following:
    • chop up your onion in thin slices
    • mince your garlic
    • wash the greens - put the greens in a big pot and soak them in water with 2 tablespoons baking soda (this supposedly helps wash the dirt off the greens more easily)
    • chop up your greens in 1 inch slices
    • wash the canned black eyed peas and drain
    • sit down, relax, and watch the game
  5. Add the onion, greens, garlic and bean paste (optional), cook on medium for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  6. Tell your daughter to stop asking about when dinner will be ready, tell her to relax! 
  7. Add the beans. Break off the meat from the ham-hocks with a large spoon. Cook on medium for half an hour.
  8. Now, get some big soup bowls and your family and dig in!
  9. Happy New Year!!!!
Ta da!!!!