New Year’s Brunch

If good luck and prosperity are on your list for 2019, you are likely planning to indulge in a plate of collard greens and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. Because brunch is one of my favorite meals and I love to embrace southern food traditions, I created this New Year’s Brunch dish that will leave you with a happy belly and hopefully a prosperous year ahead. If you prefer to eat your greens and peas like your grandmother prepared them, leftovers would be delicious in this brunch recipe the next day. Cheers to a healthy, happy and successful year ahead.

Ingredients for Gouda Grits:
2 cups water
½ cup grits
½ cup gouda cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon half and half
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Ingredients for Sautéed Greens and Peas:
2 cups water
1 bunch collard greens
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 ounce) can of black-eyed peas, no salt added
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Ingredients for New Year’s Brunch:
¼ serving of Gouda Grits
¼ serving of Sautéed Greens and Peas
4 eggs, fried to preference

Directions:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add grits, stir and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add gouda, half and half, salt and pepper. Stir until cheese melts and set aside on low heat to keep warm.
  2. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, wash the collard greens and remove the stems. Add greens to the boiling water, reduce to low heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain greens in a colander and use the back of a wooden spoon to gently press out any excess water.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add collard greens and sauté for 5 minutes, until tender. Add peas to the skillet of greens and stir to combine. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes until peas are warm. Add, salt, pepper and vinegar, and sauté for another minute, stirring to evenly coat.
  4. Add Gouda Grits to the center of four plates and top with Sautéed Greens and Peas. Top each plate with a fried egg and serve.

Servings: 4

Quick Kale Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and grits are one of my favorite southern duos. This dish is often prepared with heavy cream and can take some time to make with slow cooking grits. I created this lighter, quick-cooking version, which is ideal for summer evenings when you want a delicious homemade meal in less than 15 minutes. Fast meals like this one free up time to dine on the patio and enjoy warm summer evenings.

After dinner, I love watching the sky change colors as the sun sets and fireflies start to shine, listening to birds singing and reminiscing of summers spent outside as a child. I may have an ice cream cone or watermelon for dessert, something that takes me back to fond summer memories. Oh how refreshing and relaxing it can be spending outdoors. Cheers to spending less time in the kitchen, while still making delicious and nutritious meals this summer.

Ingredients:
½ cup quick cooking grits
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ ground black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons half and half

Directions:

  1. Prepare grits according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for about a minute, until fragrant. Add kale and continue cooking for about 2 minutes, until wilted. Add bell pepper and stir to combine.
  3. Push kale and pepper mixture to the edges of the skillet, creating an empty space in the middle. Add shrimp to the center of the skillet and sprinkle with salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice. When shrimp becomes pink on the bottom, flip and continue cooking until both sides are pink and shrimp is cooked through. Stir vegetables and shrimp together to combine.
  4. When grits are done cooking, remove from heat and add grated parmesan cheese and half and half. Stir until cheese is melted and grits are thick and creamy. Add grits to serving plates and top with shrimp and kale mixture.

Servings: 2

Note: For the roasted red bell pepper, you can use freshly roasted bell pepper or jarred roasted red peppers rinsed and diced.