Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Day Collards

We love tradition in the South, and when it comes to New Year's Day, there are a few things Southerners just can't do without: greens, pork, rice, and black-eyed peas.

The lore surrounding the importance of these good luck, prosperity-producing ingredients varies, but here's the basic thought:

- Greens bring prosperity in the form of dollar bills
- Pork represents the future because hogs can't turn their heads to look back
- Rice signifies abundance
- Black-eyed Peas bring prosperity in the form of coins

I always start the new year with a big pot of greens served over Hoppin' John (which is a hearty rice and black-eyed pea combo), hitting all four of the special components.

This recipe's an update to the collards my Mema made every New Year's Day (they were a true childhood favorite). She used a smoked hock, sugar, and hot sauce to flavor her greens.  I get my subtle, sweet-tart flavor from caramelized carrots and balsamic vinegar, and a little heat from red pepper flakes.  I've also made it a tad healthier by using fat-free chicken broth, which gives my recipe a cleaner tasting potlikker, which is just as important as the greens.  (A bowl of creamy grits topped with a ladleful of potlikker and some of the collards is my idea of comfort food.)

Scott's Collards
Serves 8

4 strips center-cut bacon
1 large carrot, diced
1 large Vidalia onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 (1-lb.) packages fresh collard greens, washed, thick stems removed, and chopped
1 1/2 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Cook bacon in Dutch oven until crisp.  Remove bacon, reserving 2 Tbsp. drippings in pot.  Drain bacon on paper towel; crumble and reserve.

Cook carrot in hot drippings over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until carrot and onion begin to caramelize.  Add garlic and vinegar; cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds.  Add collards, reserved bacon, and remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours or until collards are tender.

I hope y'all enjoy the greens.  Let me know what you think.  Happy new year!  Scott


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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Apple Butter-Oatmeal: My new favorite breakfast recipe

Macroom Irish Oatmeal
It's definitely beginning to feel a lot like Christmas and I'm one lucky sucker. Having first been gifted an amazing tin of stone-ground Irish oatmeal from Zingerman's, followed by a big ol' jar of just-made apple butter, dude's riding high.

Both presents came together this morning in a joyous bowl of breakfast goodness. This combo may be old hat to some of you, but for me, after a long run in sub-freezing temps, I was thoroughly convinced I'd created the best oatmeal recipe ever.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Peanut M&M's: Aged like fine wine

Product_peanutmms_4It's that time of year when candy is flowing like the mighty Mississippi.  (Of course, with my two girls, I honestly have to revise that to Amazon.)  I don't know about y'all, but for me, there's only one candy: Peanut M&M's.  There's just something magical about the way the candy shell, milk chocolate, and peanut come together in the mouth that's, well, just perfect.

I thought I'd hit a snag last week.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A gumbo pot of goodness: The SFA Community Cookbook

I woke up this morning with a little extra pep in my step. Why? Because this Thursday kicks-off the 13th annual Southern Foodways Symposium in Oxford, Mississippi.

If you've never heard of the SFA Symposium, it's like Mardi Gras, the greatest family reunion, and the coolest work trip imaginable all rolled into one. For real.

To be fair, while the Symposium always yields plenty of fun, there's also an equal amount of serious culinary scholarship and field study.  This year's topic: The Global South (an especially fresh perspective for those who think of the South as strictly "a land of Native American, West African, and Western European peoples.").

One way to serve up a taste of this Global South at your supper table is by picking up a copy of The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook (University of Georgia Press). This just-released cookbook really does represent the enormous gumbo pot of cultures, foodways, and ingredients that make up today's South. From Sriracha and Citrus Rémoulade, Grape-Leaf Pickles, and Piccalilli to Buttermilk Biscuits, Coconut Layer Cake, and Skillet-Fried Okra.  It's all here.

But what puts the "community" in this gem, is the diversity of Southern cooks who've contributed recipes and personal stories.  From high to low, uptown restaurant chefs to somebody's grandma, everyone is welcome at this grand Southern table.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date with a batch of Cheerwine Barbecue Sauce (one of my favorite recipes in the book) before I hit the road for Oxford.  Happy cooking.

Cheerwine Barbecue Sauce
Makes about 21/2 cups
Best served over grilled bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.

1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 cup ketchup
1 cup Cheerwine (not diet)
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup A-1 sauce
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar

Melt butter in a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Whisk in the ketchup, Cheerwine, Worcestershire sauce, A-1 sauce, cayenne, pepper, mustard, and vinegar.  Bring the sauce to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 20  minutes.  Cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate until chilled.

Sara Gibbs of Taylorsville, Kentucky
The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook
(2010, University of Georgia Press)

© Copyright Jones Is Hungry   All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

White Barbecue Sauce

The color spectrum of barbecue sauce is rich and diverse—one reason why sampling different styles from all over the South is so much fun and delicious. Ask the average person the color of their favorite sauce and you'll likely get answers ranging from brick red to mahogany to caramel. Pose the same question to a resident of North Alabama, though, and you're sure to get only one answer: white.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ultimate Southern Cooking Twitter Party

Join me and Christy Jordan, from, for the Ultimate Southern Cooking Twitter Party on Monday, October 11, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. (CST).

We'll discuss the beloved food traditions of the South and our all-time favorite recipes.  Join the conversation with hashtag #SouthCooks to contribute, ask questions, and win cookbooks!

We will give away a copy of Southern Living Classic Southern Desserts and Christy's new cookbook, Southern Plate, every 15 minutes during the party.

We recommend joining the Twitter party on TweetChat, Simply follow the link and log in with your Twitter name and password. This site will constantly refresh new tweets and automatically add the hashtag #SouthCooks to tweets you write. The site does not count your characters, so you might want to use another tool to do so. 

*Facebook Users: If you are not on Twitter, you can still participate and win cookbooks! To enter to win, post a link to this web page on your Facebook wall, and leave a comment on our blogs with a link to your facebook profile in place of your twitter name. Then, watch the Twitter conversation at starting at 11 a.m. Central on October 11.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Barbecue Sundae: Comfort in a Cup

Despite an uncertain season for this year's Ole Miss football team, I still look forward to each and every trip to Oxford and tailgating in Grove (the iconic spot on campus where tailgating is elevated to an art form).  However, as much as I love the Grove, there's one pre-game tradition I miss from my days as a student: A barbecue sundae from the Rebel Barn.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Scott's Pick Of The Week: 75 Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc

Sometimes things just fall into your lap.  That was definitely the case for me yesterday while attending a wine tasting—a glass of 75 Wine Co.'s super-tasty Sauvignon Blanc graced the table like an angel sent straight from Heaven. (And its sister wine, Amber Knolls Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, is pretty darn special too.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pressure without the stress...

I prefer to eat my crow warm, so here goes.  For the last few years I've been a big ol' pressure cooker naysayer—I just couldn't understand what all the fuss was about.  Plus, they're just so dangerous.  All that bad mojo changed Monday night when I test-drove the new Fagor Duo pressure cooker.  I was 100% wrong about all my preconceived, negative pressure cooker notions.  I've now seen the light.  I've seen the value.  I'm hooked. (That chewing sound is me taking another bite of my crow sandwich.)
Duo 6 qt_sm

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pimiento Cheese: One of Life's Simple Pleasures

Barbecue, catfish, and grits are true Southern culinary icons, to be sure.  Yet despite their humble beginnings, these Dixie-born gems have gone on to become quite popular across the country.  As a result, it’s not particularly difficult to find foods such as Memphis-style barbecue or garlic-cheese grits in New York or LA (and I don’t mean Lower Alabama).

Enter pimiento cheese.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday's Pairing: Shrimp Burgers & Rosé

Rose_2009_Bottle When it comes to grilling, it doesn't get much more Southern than shrimp burgers—and one of my favorite recipes is Shrimp Burgers with Sweet 'n' Spicy Tartar Sauce. This is also the time of year I gravitate toward rosés, which are, generally speaking, super-refreshing and perfectly suited for the kind of grilled seafood recipes I love.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I didn't think boxed wine could get any better. But it has.

The forward-thinking folks at Underdog Wine Merchants have introduced a line of high-quality wines (that are, frankly, a real bargain!) in their Octavin Home Wine Bar collection -- all packaged in stylish 3-liter octagonal boxes.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Beach, Wine, Fun—what could be better?

One of my favorite events each year is the Sandestin Wine Festival in late April.  The weather's always great (read not too hot) and the location is second to none.  This year's event is April 23 to 25.  If you're looking for that perfect Spring get-away, I can't recommend it enough.

Best of all, you don't have to be a wine expert to enjoy the festival.  This year's surprise?  Organizers have added a Culinary Pavilion, where folks can sample everything from cheese to savory nibbles.  The atmosphere is laid-back and welcoming—perfect for the novice and the aficionado.  Advanced tickets are $80/day or $120/weekend (includes Culinary Pavilion).  Check it out.