1

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

11231049_10153242163764024_7246084217083177566_n

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.

11245795_10153242163794024_6422342498324998900_n

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.

11855875_10153242163859024_8257515529243642230_n

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.

11880637_10153242163879024_755608915916158594_n

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.

11846620_10153242163909024_8504228110128614773_n

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.

11870782_10153242163964024_3748856167690231834_n

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!

6

I’ve Given Birth To A 10 Month Old Foodie Who Demands Raw Green Onions, Persian Khoresht, And Crab Legs…

crab

crab legs all over her little baby face and in her baby fist

Maisie is a foodie, I can already tell this now.  She has been demanding everything we eat since about 5 months.  So far, there is nothing she won’t eat (except juice and milk). She sneaks drinks of black coffee or tea out of my cup, if I am not looking.

Spicy curries, Persian kebab, Vietnamese pho?  NOM NOM NOM will be her answer.

home made pho for mommy

home made pho for mommy

Pho for Maisie

Pho for Maisie

“Hey, where’s my pho?!”

 

Garlic Okra Pickles?  MORE PLEASE!!

Crab legs?:  Don’t take her to an all-you-can-eat crab leg buffet, they WILL charge you!

Strawberries and raw green onions from the garden:  GOBBLES them up.

 

 
Unless it’s the odd organic veggie/fruit pouch or some baby cereal (rarely), she eats what we eat- in amounts that are astonishing.  She’s been clocking in between 25th-50th percentile for weight- and OFF THE CHARTS in height, consistently.

If I gave her avocado toast every morning, she'd be happy.

If I gave her avocado toast every morning, she’d be happy.

Today’s Breakfast Menu:

Eggs Scrambled with Dill
Sliced Tomatoes
Medjool Dates
Avocado Mashed w/Sriracha, S & P- on toast.
Water (because she seems to dislike juice and milk.  Getting her to drink her bottles is a chore)

Spaghetti, with a side of kale salad

Spaghetti, with a side of kale salad

I generally make enough to feed her, plus enough to throw on her table so she can ‘feed’ herself.  She is 10 months old, so her self-feeding skills are not quite spectacular, but our 3 Newfoundland dogs appreciate her technique.

Make no mistake- these are HER dogs.

Make no mistake- these are HER dogs.

Maisie with 2 outta 3 of our Newfoundlands

Maisie with 2 outta 3 of our Newfoundlands

 

I often wonder if she eats such a varied (and highly spiced) menu because that is what I ate during gestation and breast feeding.  I was RAW VEGAN and juicing prior to becoming pregnant (and during the first month).  I developed an insatiable craving for avocados straight away.  THAT led to a sudden and urgent need for chicken wings, which I despised pre-pregnancy.  Those chicken wings were the death knell to my healthy vegan lifestyle…

I feed her solids 3-4 times a day, not including her bottle feedings.  I am no longer breast feeding because I had issues with milk production due to an earlier breast lift and reduction years ago.

nomm... chicken...

oooh… chicken…

I am thankful that she has no food issues- I went through TWO picky eaters, my middle and youngest son.  My eldest boy was exactly like Maisie in terms of ‘foodiness’.  By the time he was two, Sam was leafing through magazines and asking me to cook him ‘magazine food’.

What IS a first for me is that she’s not overweight.  I thank my lucky stars that she did not seem to inherit my metabolism.