So, I’ll be honest with you. I was feeling pretty gloomy yesterday. Maybe it was the cold snap here in the Northeast. Maybe it had to do with the Week of Soup being so much fun that my creative mojo was sapped. Maybe it was the realization that I only have about three locally grown fresh vegetables left in my fridge and no source for getting more now that we’re about to hit February bang on the nose. Whatever it was, I was pretty low, and I needed some inspiration.
My collards were starting to languish in a similar fashion. It was crucial that I buck up my lagging culinary juices and figure out something to do with them before their slightly yellowing leaves lost all appeal. I owed it to these hardy greens to make something of them instead of letting them go to waste. After all, they’d stuck it out in my crisper drawer for three months, perky and lovely green up until about last Friday. I guess every vegetable has its breaking point too.
I scoured my cookbooks for ideas. Nothing. I turned to some of my favorite online resources. Nothing. Don’t get me wrong…there were plenty of recipes to be had but nothing was appealing to gloomy lil’ ol’ me. I was looking for something with a little more umph that the standard soup (hey, one week of nothing but soup was enough for a while) or sauteed or braised greens just didn’t have.
In the end, I hit up good ol’ Google and came upon this recipe for Creamy Collards and Rice on about.com, of all places. I don’t know how traditional it is when it comes to southern cuisine, but this recipe was just the ticket to get my wooden spoon wielding again. Turned out that preparation was so fast and easy, my inner cook was somehow unsatisfied. I decided to add the coconut milk to jazz it up a bit. That addition of the creamy sweetness was, if I dare say so, downright inspired! This preparation is by far the best I’ve ever had for collards.
Yea, baby! The mojo’s back!
CREAMY COLLARDS & RICE
Adapted from Southernfood.about.com
1 c. stock
½ c. uncooked rice, long-grain such as jasmine
½ T. margarine
Generous pinch of salt
2 c. chopped collard leaves, loosely packed
¼ c. coconut milk
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring stock to a boil. Add rice, margarine and salt. Stir while adding collards a small handful at a time. Bring the mixture to a boil again before reducing heat and simmering for 10-15 minutes or until the broth is absorbed. Stir in coconut milk and let sit for five minutes. Fluff with a fork, season generously with pepper and serve.