Wednesday, January 5, 2011

HAPPY new year

I realize that this post is coming a little late but we had the good fortune of spending our New Year with some wonderful friends on their farmland on the Tennessee/Arkansas line that has been in this family since the 1800's...
There is something so beautiful to me about the winter skyline out in the country..

I consider myself a "city-girl" in every way, but every once in a while it is pretty wonderful to be smack-dab in the middle of nowhere...especially with good friends and good wine!
It also helps when one of your friends is a fantastic cook and whips up dishes like this...which I might add was a GREAT way to enjoy collard greens on New Years Day! (or any day!)

Frank Stitt's Collard Green and White Bean Gratin

1 pound collard greens, stems and tough ribs removed

5 garlic cloves, divided, 1 crushed and 4 chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 medium onion, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 cups cooked white beans, 1/2 cup cooking liquid reserved

1/2 cup diced or chopped cooked ham-hock meat, sausage, chorizo or bacon

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1/4 cup medium-coarse fresh bread crumbs

COVER collards with salted water, then heat and boil until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well and chop into small pieces. Set aside.

PREHEAT oven to 475 degrees. Vigorously rub the inside of a 10- or 12-inch gratin dish with the crushed garlic. Discard the crushed garlic and set the dish aside.

HEAT 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add collard greens, stir to coat, and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl.

STIR in beans, meat, 2 tablespoons cheese, 1 tablespoon oil and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Add enough of the reserved bean cooking liquid to moisten, then spread the mixture in the prepared dish. Top with bread crumbs and remaining cheese. Drizzle with remaining oil.

COVER dish with aluminum foil and bake until the filling is hot and bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake until the top of the gratin is golden and crusty, about another 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

YUUUUUUUUUUM! Says it serves 8-10 but the 6 of us could have easily polished this one off in one sitting!

Not one for travel by car, the drive was actually interesting..partly because I was playing with my new Christmas present..Nikon D5000..thanks thanks thanks hubs! (now both girls of two cities two girls are shooting with this bad mamma jamma!)

And then there was this bridge...Obsessed. If the hubs would have allowed it, I would have driven through it over and over again. Why? I can't really explain it....

Then it was back to the city..Home Sweet Home!

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