It's been a while. Honestly, I am suffering from Quarantine Fatigue. It has to be a real thing. I want to get out of the house and do something. But I also want to keep my family healthy. Our days are filled with school and work and not much else after that. We go outside and get attacked by the most ferocious mosquitoes I've ever encountered - even with the use of repellants, candles, and coils! It's insane.
Baby Magic has been filling her days creating new activities for her dolls and avidly avoiding cleaning her room (that ends today or everything is going in the trash). For me, I have finally started reconnecting with the things that I love. Mostly reading and cooking.
I recently finished Children of Blood and Bone and I'm now about halfway through Children of Virtue and Vengeance, both by Tomi Adeyemi. These are seriously amazing books. They are Young Adult novels, but my old ass is thoroughly enjoying them.
As far as food goes, I realized that I hadn't really been preparing meals. We haven't been eating tons of junk, but the essence of family dinner time has escaped us. I'm working on getting that back.
Yesterday, I summoned the spirit of my Ancestors and they took over. I don't usually cook soul food. Mainly because the normal preparation is heavy on salt and pork fat. Both of which I'm trying to avoid. I usually rely on my mom or my oldest sister to prepare some of my favorite items. Since we have been social distancing, we haven't been having our fourth Sunday dinners. I had a strong craving for collard greens. I have a trial to Walmart+ so I ordered what I needed and had it delivered to my door.
Collard greens. One of my kitchen nemesis. Always hit or miss. Thank goodness this bunch was a hit! I know the first frost hasn't hit yet, so the greens aren't at their peak. But I wanted them. I shared a previous method using an electric pressure cooker here. Honestly, I prefer them cooked on the stove. Through a lot of trial and many errors, I don't plan to use the pressure cooker for my greens moving forward.
Clean your greens. This was one of the sandiest bunches I have ever seen. I rinsed and soaked them with the leaves still whole. I sprinkle a little sea salt in the soaking water and about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to make sure to get any bugs out. Once I destem them and cut them up in a chiffonade, I rinse them a few more times. I don't want bugs or dirt in my greens LOL.
RoJo's Quarantine Collard Greens
2 bunches of collard greens, cleaned and cut
5 slices of bacon, chopped + 2 tablespoons of bacon grease (don't judge me for saving bacon grease)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of low sodium chicken broth, divided (you may also use water)
Seasonings to taste (but here is what I used)
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon salt free seasoning (I used the organic blend from Costco)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar (optional, but it cuts the bitterness)
In a large stockpot, over medium heat cook the bacon and bacon grease until bacon is almost crispy.
Add the onions and sauté until the onions are translucent.
Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add 1 cup of chicken broth and bring to a boil. This is affectionately known as the pot liquor.
Add the greens to the pot. Stuff them in there. They will wilt down.
Add the seasonings and stir.
Turn the heat down to medium-low.
Let the greens cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
-If the liquid in the pot gets low, add chicken broth (or water) 1/4 cup at at time. You don't want the greens to scorch.
After 30 minutes, add the apple cider vinegar and sugar. Stir.
Cook the greens until they are tender, stirring occasionally, for about 1 and 1/2 hour (adding chicken broth or water as needed).
Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Enjoy your greens!
I served my collard greens with meatloaf, macaroni and cheese and cornbread. I used Zatarain's Honey Butter Cornbread Mix. I followed the directions on the box for muffins and it made exactly 9.
The macaroni was done from memory...I'll work on a recipe for that. But I will say, the Unexpected Cheddar from Trader Joe's SET THIS MACARONI OFF! It is a must have for future macaronis!
I used a meatloaf recipe from Pip and Ebby, using one pound of ground beef and one pound of ground turkey breast to cut down on some of the fat. It was good, but the next time I will add green bell pepper and a few additional seasonings. It was my first time making a meatloaf in a loaf pan, instead of forming it in a baking dish...I actually like this method! I thought the sauce was going to be super sweet, but it was actually pretty good, and kid approved!
I definitely missed cooking and sharing! I'm always hoping to share more content. As we get used to readjusting to pandemic rules, I'll find a better pattern of sharing ON THE BLOG. If you follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook, you see a little more content. I'm trying y'all!
I hope you all are doing well and staying safe!