Collards, Crostini and Friends

Almost a week has gone by since the last farmer’s market, and it was time to use up last week’s purchases.  Last night our friend, Laura, had made a spectacular vegan meal for me with a collection of dishes, mostly from Marcella Hazan’s Italian Kitchen cookbook.  I’ve had the cookbook for many years, but she was able to find a number of marvelous recipes I hadn’t seen before.  So last night, I just ate, instead of cooked, except for the fact that my CrockPot was busy making a collard green dish with the collards from the market last week.  They were easily the prettiest I had ever seen.

The basic recipe was easy, and since I know almost nothing about cooking collards, I was open to suggestions.  I made a few adaptations.  If I am to vary from a vegan diet, it will be for pancetta, not bacon, so I had two small slices of pancetta from the freezer, diced for this dish.  Second, I read that the broth from collard greens is very nutritious, so I used that instead of the stock.  Finally, I had some very tasty seitan chorizo from the natural foods market, so I added that into the recipe, and I cooked it all in my new $11 CrockPot from

The first course was some whole grain bread I made recently, topped with black bean puree from earlier in the week, made in the CrockPot, and Cavolo Nero, or Lacinato Kale, which had been boiled and puréed.  A few thin slices of red onion went on top of the grilled bread.  The collards were pretty spicy, both from the chorizo and a little of the Puglia red pepper paste I had added to the mixture, not to mention the jalapeños in the base recipe..  So I needed a red wine with body and strength to stand up to the collards.  A Laplace Madiran, imported by my friends, the Hurleys, filled the bill nicely.

grilled bread and bean paste-41 crostini and onions-47 coolards and chorizo-53

Since I had some time to screw around and had just been to the market for resupplying the kitchen, I also roasted some grilling peppers and two Portobello mushrooms — just for the helluva it.  The grilling peppers were easy to obtain the soft meat from and puree, and the mushrooms are ready for tomorrow, when I want to use them.  You can see from the photos that umami won’t be a problem.

Red Pepper Puree-41 roasted portobellos-41 Potrtobello, Pepper Puree and Madiran-41 Laplace Madiran-09

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