Soul Food Fusion Feast: Collard Greens, White Truffle Sriracha Macaroni and Cheese, and the Works!


my mom found the nicest collard greens today at a tiny farm stand run by two little old men

So my mom went to a tiny farm stand today in Benton Harbor, Michigan that was run by two little old men. It was more like a few boxes next to the road with their home garden produce for sale. They had the most BEAUTIFUL collard greens I’ve seen in a long time- clean, no insect holes… and some great sweet corn. She picked up a garbage bag full of greens, another bag of fresh corn and sweet banana peppers and later showed up at my house.


Cleaning and shredding the collards

As luck would have it, R brought home a slab of artisanal hog jowl bacon the day before- delicious small batch stuff. I secretly wondered what I’d do with it- and my mom provided the solution! She cleaned the greens while I sliced up the onions and bacon.


hog jowl bacon and onions at the bottom of the pot

I filled the pot with the washed and torn greens, onions, bacon, chicken stock (to cover), threw in a whole hot pepper, garlic powder, black pepper, a spoonful of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of vinegar.


getting ready to simmer the greens for a few hours

The entire thing was brought to a boil, then covered and simmered for a few hours- it’s done when the bacon is very fork tender.


White truffle sriracha macaroni and cheese ready for oven

In the middle of our cooking, my dad called to tell me that his bestie from Oregon, my Uncle Bill, was in town. I told them to come on over and I’d cook a big spread for everyone. I quickly thought up a menu to go with the greens and rice I’d planned for mom and me.

I decided on homemade macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, basmati rice, cornbread, and two types of cucumber salad (thanks to a box of cukes and zucchini my dad pulled out of the van at the last moment). I did a German type sour cream cucumber onion salad because my uncle was fond of it- and a Malaysian cucumber onion salad with sambal. I fished a few sweet banana peppers out of the garbage bag full of corn- and roasted the peppers. Later, I cut them in strips and dressed them with fresh raw crushed garlic, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper.  When my dad asked where the meat was, I sent R out for a bucket of chicken to go with it all.


though it was pretty, next time I WON’T bake it. It’s MUCH creamier when the sauce is just mixed in with the noodles.

This mac and cheese was quickly improvised- a box of elbows boiled al dente, a white sauce with 3 cups of various cheeses melted into it, spices, sriracha, white truffle oil- easy peasy.

The next time I make it, I will not bake it, even though it’s pretty when baked. Baking dries it out a bit and I prefer the creaminess of the sauce. My uncle wanted the old-fashion baked with breadcrumbs type, so I whizzed up 4 slices of buttermilk bread in the food processor. I mixed those crumbs with butter, white truffle oil, paprika, and a little salt- and topped the noodles with some sliced tomatoes (that my mother dropped off from another aunt’s garden 2 days prior), then covered the thing with the breadcrumb mixture. I baked it at 375 for about 20 minutes (when the bread crumbs were browned).

It was an amazing meal! I am surprised that I was able to pull everything off at the last minute- especially with how chaotic my house has been from renovating!


Beef Rendang with Mushrooms, Basmati Rice, and Cucumber Salad


Beef rendang, basmati rice, cucumber salad

Tonight I made dinner for everyone and did a Malaysian/Indonesian Beef Rendang. I loosely followed THIS RECIPE and a few others I found online. This is the third or fourth time I’ve made this and it’s always a huge hit in my house. We always eat this until we’re sick, I’ve noticed. It’s so good and truly worth the trouble and wait.

The addition of mushrooms was my mom’s idea- I added an entire package of sliced baby bellas right about 10 minutes prior to serving.

CNN called it one of ‘the World’s 50 Best Foods” and I completely agree! Even my father, who isn’t fond of Asian food, loves it.

The beef is slow cooked in spices and coconut milk until it is fall-apart tender. TECHNICALLY, you’re supposed to cook it until it’s dry, but the ones I’ve tasted in Amsterdam at Indonesian places always had a gravy, so this is how I cook mine.

It’s served on a bed of white rice (I prefer Basmati), with a side of sweet and sour cucumber salad with onions and chilis. I made the salad with an English cucumber, small onion (both cut in half moons), bit of white sugar, salt and pepper, Filipino white vinegar, and a half teaspoon of Indonesian sambal (a chili condiment). You mix them all up and let them sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes prior to serving- SO easy!

this is something everyone should have at least once in their lives- delish!

this is something everyone should have at least once in their lives- delish!