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Advice from a Reader: Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens

I'm such a lucky fellow to have such smart customers and readers. Paula was reading about my adventures with our new Black Eyed Peas and sent the following. You'll want to take notes and make plans to head straight to the market and pick up some collard greens after you read this:
Hey out there in bean land!
I was thinking about your article on Black Eyed Peas and wanted to
share a couple more things with you. First, black eyed peas make
fabulous hummus. Use them instead of garbanzos in your favorite recipe
and substitute balsamic vinegar for the lemon juice. Put some parsley
or cilantro on top for color and you have something good, especially
with corn tortilla chips.


Also, part of Southern tradition on New Year's Day is collard greens.
Whereas black eyed peas are reputed to bring good luck, collard greens
bring prosperity (money) in the new year. Now even though I grew up in
the South, I can't stand those overcooked greens cooked with half a
hog's worth of fatback. For one thing, they smell up the kitchen, for
another all the food value/vitamins go out the window with the awful
odor. But I had some great collards at a South American restaurant in
DC once and am now a convert to this method of preparation:

First, get the freshest, tenderest bunch of collards you can find.
Strip the leaves from the stems. Cut up the stems into small pieces.
Stack up the leaves, roll them up and with a sharp knife, cut the roll
into thin slices making a chiffonade of the leaves. Heat a little
olive oil, sauté some garlic and maybe some sweet Vidalia onion, when
that's transparent, add the stems for a few minutes and finally the
leaves. Toss to cook until the greens are bright green but definitely
not too limp. You may need to cover the skillet for a few minutes
until you the greens can be brought under control, they will seem
huge. Salt and serve for a delicious, nutritious green vegetable, and
if served on Jan. 1, the promise of great riches---OK, maybe not great
riches but it's a good thought.


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