Friday, December 23, 2011

2012 Here We Come!!!

My mom always reminds me to eat collard greens and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. It is a Southern tradition to ensure luck and prosperity for the New Year. I wanted to class them up a bit for the special occasion so we are doing a Black-eyed Pea “Caviar” which I think is a Texas thing and a soufflé with the greens. Souffles can be daunting but they are so much fun and very impressive. My friend Maureen Petrosky, author of The Wine Club, has paired a wonderful bubbly to go along with these holiday traditions.

Black-eyed Pea “Caviar” - Serves 4-6
1 can black-eyed peas, rinsed, about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup diced tomato, about 1 medium
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup diced orange bell pepper
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1 tablespoon chopped celery leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 small jalapeno, diced (optional)
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients and allow to sit for at least a few hours before serving. This can be made the day before, it actually improves the longer it sits!

Collard Green Soufflé  - Serves 4-6
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3 pieces of bacon, diced, about 1/2 cup
8 big collard leaves, stemmed and chopped pretty small
Pepper vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
6 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/2 cup grated Gruyere
Special Equipment:
Stand mixer or hand mixer
1 1/2 quart soufflé dish or round stoneware dish

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter the soufflé dish with 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the Parmesan and evenly coat the inside of the dish with the cheese.  In a large straight sided pan cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy, about 8-9 minutes. Add the collard greens and cook just until they turn bright green and soften a bit, about 4-5 minutes. Add a few splashes of the pepper vinegar, a bit of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Remove them to a bowl and set aside. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan and add the onions. Cook until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Using the end of the whisk, add about 1 tablespoon at a time, of the milk and onion mixture to the egg yolks, mixing completely, doing about 3 tablespoons total, then add the yolk mixture to the pan with the rest of the milk and onion mixture. Add the Gruyere and stir until melted, and then add in the bacon and collards. In the mean time, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar in a stand mixture to stiff peaks. Fold in 1/4 of the collard green base to the whites. Then gently add the rest of the egg whites to the collard green base. Pour into prepared pan and cook for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top but still a bit jiggly in the center. Serve immediately.

Bubbles that Won't Break the Bank 
Typically on New Year's Eve I bust out bottles I've been saving all year, but since this one past required I drink them prior to the ringing in of 2012 I had to head to the wine shop along with the zillions of you seeking sprtiz for your special occasion.  Never seeing myself as a wine snob I usually look for affordable and delicious sips to serve.  I know Champagne, from Champagne France, is always a fave in my house but I wasn't looking to spend more than $20 a bottle. When it comes to bubbles this can be a risky venture. I didn't want something flat, or sweet or lacking finesse.  In order to find this diamond in the rough I had to start taste testing and after a few sad little sips I found my shining star.  Trapiche Sparkling Wine NV (non- vintage) ringing in at $15.99 a bottle is a stellar bottle of bubbly from of all places Argentina. Argentina has been pumping out delicious still wines at awesome prices and now I can say they are kicking it on the bubbly side too.  This pour is full of vibrant bubbles that taste fresh and will make your mouth happy this New Year's.  It's versatile enough to go with lots of different dishes or you can simply sip it all by itself.

Maureen C. Petrosky
The Wine Club, A Month- By- Month Guide to Learning About Wine with Friends

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