Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Superb New Year's Day lunch

Wow, sorry for the flood of new entries dear reader. Oh wait, I have two readers now! Readers! :)

We had a superb New Year's Day lunch yesterday at our place, re-creating some favourite dishes from Cafe Flora thanks to their cookbook. Their Hoppin' John fritters are one of my favourites and are served with cheesy grits and smoky, spicy collard greens.
Yum Lass was in charge of making most of the lunch and did an excellent job on the grits (who would have though that anything with the word grit in it would taste good?) She also made yummy corn and basil relish and a black-eyed pea salad. (Black-eyed peas are a New Year's tradition in her family).

I was in charge of the collard greens, which required smoked mushrooms. I did these the previous day on our Weber barbecue, using some hickory wood chips we had bought a while back. Smoking the mushrooms was quite easy, actually. Basic steps:

  • Get some mushrooms - about 1/2 lb for this recipe. I used crimini.

  • Make a charcoal fire, spread the coals out once they're covered in ash.

  • Soak the wood chips in water for an hour or two, then make an open dish using aluminum foil (or use a foil pie plate), put the drained wood chips in this, and set it on top of the coals.

  • Put the grill over the foil+wood dish, and place the mushrooms on the grill. I used foil under the mushrooms to prevent them from sticking to the grill or getting too much heat, but this blocked a lot of the smoke that was rising up from the wood - next time a perforated dish under the mushrooms would be good.

  • Put the lid on the Weber, and make sure the holes are open. You should see a plume of smoke after 5-10 mins, depending on the heat of the coals and how wet your wood is.

  • I smoked the mushrooms until the smoke stopped - about 30 mins. They had a nice smoky taste and smell, but were only slightly wilted and not very cooked.

The rest of the recipe is very simple (see the Flora book), and really delicious. If you've never been a fan of collard greens, this might just convert you!


everymoment said...

We can attest to it - deeelicious!
everymoment et al

Joy to the World said...

Hooray for the Cafe Flora cookbook! We need to try some more of those yummy recipes.