Sometimes in life, you just have to go with what works. That's how we feel about the purple-tinged tree collards we started growing in the backyard last May. Collards are one of the few produce items that grow easily and abundantly in our foggy, Marina environs. As much as we would love to stroll outside and pluck fresh tomatoes, zucchini or peppers; collards are not to be discounted. They are mild in flavor (in a good way) but are rich in vitamins A, C and K, folate, fiber, and calcium.
In all our years of living in the Bay Area, we've never seen collards on a non-Southern restaurant menu, but they are available in local stores (Real Foods, Whole Foods and some Safeways) and farmer's markets, and of course you can call our friends at Star Apple Edible Gardens for a plant of your own.
If you have some extra time to turn this meal into something special, definitely make the Sweet Potato Pie with Cinnamon Meringue
If you don't have extra time, you can use 1 15 ounce can of Trader Joe's pureed sweet potatoes, skip the crust and make sweet potato puddings instead. Just whisk the sweet potatoes and other filling ingredients together and pour mixture into 6, 6 ounce ramekins. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until the middle is set. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Here's how to pull this menu together…
- If making the pie, bake or boil the sweet potatoes (you could serve Orange-scented Sweet Potatoes for dinner that night if you make extra).
- Make the pie/pudding filling. Cover and leave in refrigerator overnight.
In the morning:
- Put chicken in buttermilk marinade and let bathe in the refrigerator for the remainder of the day.
- Bake puddings or pie.
90 minutes before dinnertime:
- Pull chicken out of fridge and let sit at room temperature while you prepare the coating.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Dredge Chicken according to recipe and set aside.
60 minutes before dinnertime:
- Put chicken in the oven.
- Wash and slice collards and chop bacon.
During last 15 minutes of chicken baking time:
- Check and turn chicken.
- Saute and steam collards.
At the end:
- Keep collards warm in a bowl covered with foil while you let chicken to sit for 10 minutes before serving.