Monday, April 18, 2011

storing winter blankets

I'm in the process of putting away the winter blankets and I have a wonderful storage idea. The large zippered bags that come with comforters, mattress covers and other items can be used to store blankets, or anything else. After you wash and dry them and put them in the zippered bag, then put the bag under the bed. One of the best storage places in the house. The bed covers usually come to the floor and no one knows it's there but you. Unused space put to good use.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Poke Sallit

When I was talking about the collards I should have mentioned eating poke salad(sallit, as old folks pronounced it). You know what a poke berry weed is, has the red berries that birds like and it will stain everything. Sometimes comes up in a flower bed, grows wild beside the roads. In the spring folks would gather the young leaves of the poke salad (every part of the plant is poisonous) and cook them. The cooking water(pot likker) would have to be drained off several times so it wouldn't poison you. (My husband says if I ever cooked them (I haven't) that I'd lack one time in pouring off the water and kill him). They cook up sort of like spinach, a little slicky. I've seen my mother-in-law cook and eat them. I've never tried them, thank you very much

spring collards

You can grow collards if you have a flower bed and growing your own ensures they're pesticide free and clean. I grow my plants from seed and put the plants in the ground early fall. They'll make huge leaves that you cut from the plant (leave the stalk, I'll tell you why later.) Get a cutting board in your lap, place each leaf on the board and use a sharp knife to cut down each side of the pithy stem (trust me, that stem will not cook tender), stack 5-6 stems, roll like a cigar and make crosswise cuts, making "ribbons". Much easier to wash this way and already cut for serving. Cook in large pan till tender (the amount will shrink considerably), then can pressure cook with a piece of fatback for ultimate tenderness and flavor. Good with cornbread and mashed potatoes. Leave the stalk in ground for winter, in spring will sprout new tender leaves for more harvest. In early winter before the first hard cold gather all the leaves for cooking; those leaves won't make it through the winter, then wait for spring and more collards. Nothing tastes better!