Monday, December 21, 2009

Closer to Home

Sunday is the day of the week I miss my family the most. 

I long to be cooking and eating a home-made meal together, leisurely sitting around the table telling stories and talking about how my brother will never be able to work his way back into the family will. [OK that last part is true but a long-standing joke.] It seems like a fitting way to recenter myself before getting back to the grindstone on Monday. Unfortunately, since my family is 3000 miles away, our Sunday suppers don't happen very often. As a very poor substitute, I find myself turning to more Southern dishes to make on Sundays. It's not the same of course but I do feel closer to home. 

Yesterday I had a hankering for collard greens and concocted a "beans and greens" soup, finished off with some rosemary studded cornbread. I guess the former dish is kind of my version of chicken soup for the soul. I don't know if it's for everyone. Maybe collard greens are something you have to grow up with to appreciate fully. I have a feeling not many people routinely eat collard greens in Santa Barbara, as I had to go to three different grocery stores before I could find them. The corn bread would never get my grandmother's approval. For one, it's too sweet for her. She calls this yellow cake mix and scoffs at the attempted association with proper corn bread. And the addition of the rosemary may send her over the edge. But if you love cornbread and yellow cake mix (like me), then this is heavenly. The challenge is not to eat half the pan before dinner (like me). I had the best intentions of taking a photo of it but must confess there is none left to photograph. 

Happy Winter Solstice!  

Beans and Greens Soup
Adapted from Southern Living

1 lb smoked sausage
1 large onion, diced
2 16-oz cans cannellini beans, undrained
2 16-oz bags frozen chopped collard greens
1 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
32 oz carton of chicken broth
1 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
Drizzle of honey

Cut sausage into 1/4-inch thick slices; saute in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until brown. Add onion and saute 3 minutes. Stir in beans and remaining ingredients through pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occassionally, 20 minutes or until greens are tender. Before serving stir in vinegar and honey. Yields: 6-8 servings. 

Note: You could definitely substitute frozen turnip greens with diced turnips for the collard greens. Also, almost any kind of sausage and bean could be used. I used white beans and kielbasa but I think black-eyed pea and andouille, for example, would be delicious. 

Rosemary Corn Bread
From Real Simple

2 8 1/2-oz boxes corn bread mix
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 8-oz container of plain yogurt
1 7-oz cans whole-kernel corn, drained
1 Tbsp dried rosemary

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a 13x9 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. Stir all the ingredients together in a large bowl and spoon batter into the prepared pan. Bake 25 minutes or just until golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool. 


  1. Hi Holley!

    I was just wondering where you found the collard greens here in Santa Barbara. I have been to a few places and cannot find them! If you can let me know that would be great!
    I am planning on making a soul food dinner very soon and my boyfriends favorite are collard greens with bacon. So I am going to try to attempt this... Wish me luck! :)

    Thanks and ur recipes look great, will definately keep up with your blog.

  2. Sonya, I don't know if you'll check back here but Trader Joe's sells a big bag of chopped greens (turnip, mustard, collard, etc). They take all the work out of it and it tastes wonderful. You can find it in the bagged lettuce section of the store. Good luck! I hope your boyfriend enjoys it!

  3. Thank u so much for responding! I should have thought to check TJ's! You saved me some time and gas, because I would have been searching the town. So it's much appreciated! Now on to the cooking...

    Have a great day and Happy New Year!