Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Lazy Sunday: Sauteed Collard Greens and Blueberry Lime Buttermilk Pie

It is a beautiful day here in Colorado. The temperature is in the 70s and there's not a cloud in the sky. The only disturbance is a soft cool breeze gently blowing through the Aspen trees in my backyard. In my world all is well and everyone is happy.

There is a serenity in the air on this lazy Sunday. Soon all of the remembrances of that horrible day in NYC 10 years ago will stir our memories and remind us that our happiness is fragile; but today the world is quiet and we are free to savor days like this and appreciate them for the great gift that they are.

On this particular beautiful day I plan to slice some heirloom tomatoes from my patio garden, sauté some collard greens and bake a pie. I will enjoy these blessings with my favorite people in the whole wide world and we will laugh and drink glasses of wine.

Since you can’t be here to share this gorgeous day and good food with us, I’d like to give you a couple of these wonderful recipes for you to make on your own. The first recipe is for sautéed collards. Even if you don’t think you like these greens that can admittedly be a bit bitter, this recipe mellows the bitterness and accents the flavor which results in a savory side dish that everyone on my guest list loves.

For dessert we will enjoy a family favorite, my version of buttermilk pie. I’ve added some blueberries for sweetness and some lime for a bright fresh twist. Please don’t be put off by the buttermilk in this recipe, it adds a tartness that kind of reminds me of cheesecake but it is easier to prepare and no cream cheese is harmed in the making of it. You will LOVE it, I promise.

Sautéed Collard Greens

3 slices bacon
1/2 medium size onion, roughly chopped
1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 pound collard greens (approximately 10 ounces once stalks are removed)
1/2 cup chicken bouillon, water or white wine
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce (such as Tabasco Chipotle)

Place bacon in the bowl of a mini food processor and process until it is finely ground or finely chop by hand. Place bacon in the bottom of a large saucepan that is set over medium high heat. Cook until it is browned, stirring frequently.

In the same food processor, add onion and garlic and process until they are finely ground. Add to the pan with the cooked bacon and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until the onions are soft and transparent, stirring frequently.

While the onions are cooking, wash and dry the collard greens. Remove the large spines from each leaf. Lay the collards in a flat stack one on top of the other. Roll them up cigar fashion. With a very sharp knife, slice the collards in 1/2” wide pieces across, then once in the opposite direction. Add to the bacon and onions in the hot pan and sauté, stirring frequently for approximately 5 minutes. Add the water to the collards. Stir well, reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Cook for an additional 5 - 15 minutes (and up to 30 for softer greens) stirring frequently to prevent burning.

Remove the lid from the collards, add the salt, pepper, vinegar and hot sauce; stir well. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Blueberry Lime Buttermilk Pie

1 – 9” pie crust
3 eggs, room temperature
5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Zest from 1 lime
2/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line prepared pie crust with foil then fill with beans or pie weights. Place in the preheat oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes.

In a large bowl beat eggs with an electric mixer set on medium until frothy. Slowly add the melted butter, then the sugar and flour, beating well to combine. While continuing to beat, add the buttermilk, salt, lime juice and lime zest.

Remove the pie weights or beans and foil from the pie crust. Sprinkle the blueberries over the bottom of the crust before pouring the pie filling over the top.

Place in preheated oven and bake for approximately 45 - 60 minutes (higher altitude cooking like mine may take the full 60 minutes) or until the filling is set in the middle and golden brown. Be sure to check frequently towards the end of the baking time and if the top begins to brown too deeply or burn, cover loosely with foil.

Remove from the oven and cool before serving. This pie is great served warm with vanilla ice cream or room temperature with heavy cream or just plain. I think this pie is best served on its first day out of the oven, so baking any more than a couple of hours in advance isn't advised for optimum flavor and texture.
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