In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

Dom’s talking about starting a new blog that would be devoted to cooking and all things culinary.
But while I’m waiting for him to get that up and running, I had a few recent culinary experiences to write about.

Collard Greens

Yum! the epitome of southern home cooking. So why is it I had them for the first time in MA? Anyway, they are rapidly becoming a household favorite. My recipe is very simple and lip-smacking good.

First you have to wash and prep your greens (get about two pounds of them, they really cook down). You need to cut out the central vein/stem. This takes some time but goes much faster with two people. The quickest way to wash them is to fill the sink with water and swirl them around. Of course that meant we first had to clean the sink. Now we have a very clean sink!

Once the leaves are washed and deveined pile them up and cut into one inch wide strips.

Now cut six slices of bacon into one inch long bits. Fry these until crisp in a large dutch oven or saucepan with a lid.

Once the bacon is crisp add two dried red chilis. Then add one diced onion and saute. Next, add your greens and stir until they are wilted.

Now pour in water to cover the greens let it get to a full boil, then cover turn down to low and simmer for an hour (or on our stove medium-low because low is below simmer). Check a couple of times during the hour to make sure the water hasn’t boiled off.

At the end of the hour uncover and turn back up to high and let most of the water boil off. I like to have some left in the bottom and serve it up with the greens. This “pot likker” is very tasty and rich in vitamins. I always think of a story I read where a grandmother claimed the secret to her long life was always drinking her pot likker. (Of course, when I read that I had no idea what pot likker was, though it was an alcoholic beverage!)

Add salt to taste and a generous dash of cider vinegar for a bright sharp flavor.

Eat and enjoy!


One of my favorite snack foods. I just found this new recipe which is much easier and very tasty.

Get yellow ripe plantains not the green ones for this recipe.

Cut off the ends and then cut the plantain in half. Peel the two segments and then cut them into quaters lengthwise.

In a medium skillet heat about a half inch of vegetable oil on medium-high. When oil is hot put in plantain slices and fry until golden brown. Be sure to keep an eye on them, they get brown fast. Don’t go wash dishes or water the plants or change the baby’s diaper. You probably want to flip them over at least once so they brown evenly on all sides. I usually fiddle with them, turning them over and over. But that’s just me, I can never leave well enough alone.

When they are brown fish them out of the oil. my tool of choice for this is metal tongs. Let them drain on a double layer of paper towels*. Salt generously. Let them cool until you don’t burn your fingers and then eat while hot. Be sure to share with someone else. Don’t be greedy and eat all but two before offering them to your husband. Cause other people like them too.

* Don’t use cheap paper towels. They stick to the plantains and then you find yourself either eating bits of paper or losing big chunks of the yummy crisp brown skin.

Sparkling Maple Wine

Last summer we honeymooned in Nova Scotia and one of the highlights of our trip was our stay at the lovely Blomidon Inn in Wolfville (with one of the best culinary experiences of my life in their first class restaurant) and our visit to the nearby Domain de Grand Pre winery.

We took a tour that included a wine tasting. The tour was different than other winery tours I’ve done that focused on the wine making process. At Grand Pre they focus on the vinyards, the grape growing and harvesting. Lots of interesting information there because being so far north they have a very short, harsh growing season. We also learned about making ice wine.

All the wines we tasted were great. So we bought a bunch of bottles. And then a few weeks after we got home I found out I was pregnant. Thus we have been sitting on all those lovely Nova Scotia wines.

We did not sample the maple wine at the vineyard, so I was not sure whether we’d even like it when we popped the cork the other night. Wow, what a pleasant surprise it was. The flavor was very, very maple. Not a fakey maple like imitation log cabin syrup. No, this tasted like the finest syrup from Vermont a rich, subtle flavor. This would make a great dessert wine, complementing apple pie, pecan pie, bread pudding, or anything with a vanilla flavor. I had several glasses.

I only wish that they exported. Alas, you can only buy Domain de Grand Pre wines in Canada. Guess we’ll have to go back soon. And get several bottles of the maple wine.

Join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • I actually liked the ukelele piece –

    I diasgree with the other reviewer… in so far as “why are you playing a ukelele”.. is the humble ukelele somehow not worthwhile? somehow less serious? this man plays a beautifully rendered touching song and the instrument sings in response… and that’s beautiful…

    and no less astonishing or worthwhile than someone spending months practicing particular skating or gymnastic routines for the olympics…

  • I’m not sure that you really disagree with him.

    It seems to me that “why are you playing a ukelele” is not his conclusion so much as his initial reaction, his jumping off point, that he then questions.

    Note that he says: “Today I was going to add the ukulele…But now I don�t know. Is a talent at something unimportant thereby an unimportant talent?”

    I think that question implies that just because we don’t value the ukelele as much as we value the violin of the piano or even the guitar doesn’t make it a worthless gift.

    Don’t his comments leave it open to conclude that in fact he’s open to changing his mind? 

    Note his concluding sentence:
    “Our cultivated artistic age is full of skillful musicians. There�s something disturbing about finding strength in a ukulele.”

    I’m not 100% sure what he’s getting at with the word “strength”, but it seems to me that he’s not despising the perfomance at all, though he had set out to mock, but I think he ends up in bemused admiration, not quite sure what to make of a performance that transcends easy categories.

    I read the general tone of the piece as admiring. But Joseph Bottum is a critic and a poet so he doesn’t stop at praise but pushes on to wonder about the broader implications of the performance and the performer’s unusual talent.