Southern Collard Greens Recipe

Collards greens for major holidays seems to be a tradition among people in the Southern U.S. and African Americans.  Over the course of years, I have been exposed to various forms of preparation and tried my own hand at different ways to prepare collards.  Ironically, even when collard greena are prepared people tend to mix them with mustard greens or kale which broadens the flavor spectrum.  Traditionally, ham hocks are used in the cooking process but now more people opt for various was to flavor the greens including smoked turkey neck, turkey butts, or chicken stock.  Here is a recipe from the chitterling website.- Crystal Johnson, MCCN Editor

– 5 Pounds of Collard Greens

-2 Ham hocks (Don’t add for Vegetarian style)

After boiling ham hocks separately until tender- Take the collard greens and separate the leaves (if fresh) . Now rinse each leaf individually under cold running water. After you rinse the collard greens thoroughly, stack several leaves on top of each other. Roll these leaves together. Then slice the leaves into thin strips using a cutting board and large knife. Rolling them together speeds up the process as you are slicking through several leaves at once.

Next, add your collard greens to the pot. Since this is a lot of collards, you will need to add them until the pot is full. Then allow them to wilt as they cook – then add more. Add you salt, cover and cook for thirty minutes on medium heat. Stir every few minutes to distribute the smoked meat taste evenly. Taste to confirm they are the tenderness you prefer.

*The chitterling website is full of southern and soul food cuisine recipes

Cesar E. Chavez Day

Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday was established by Los Angeles volunteers who organized and led the effort in California that won Cesar Chavez Day, the first legal state holiday and day of service and learning in honor of farm worker leader Cesar E. Chavez.  The legal holiday bill introduced by then State Senator Richard Polanco (Los Angeles-D) was signed into law by then Governor Gray Davis (D) on August 18, 2000. The holiday is celebrated in California on Cesar E. Chavez’s birthday March 31st.  This marked the first time that a labor leader or Latino has been honored with a public legal holiday.

The California legal holiday set into motion a wave of initiatives resulting in optional and commemorative Cesar Chavez Days in nine additional states (Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Rhode Island.)

Cesar Chavez Day brings together hundreds of thousands who engage in celebrations, service and learning projects, and other actions that further the many causes which Cesar Chavez worked for.

*Chávez was a vegan because he believed in animal rights and also for his health.

Hawaii History: Kuhio Day

Kuhio Day (Hawaii) – A state holiday, it celebrates Prince Kuhio’s birthday. He is remembered for actively promoting Hawaiian culture and getting Congress to pass the 1829 Hawaiian Homes Act, providing homesteads for native Hawaiians.

Photo by Multi Cultural Cooking Network

Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole created much of the Hawaii the world sees today. A prince of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Kuhio was next in line to become king when Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown in 1894 bringing an end to the Hawaiian monarchy. Despite the overthrow, Kuhio’s determination and dedication to the people of the Hawaiian Islands never wavered. He served as Hawaii’s second congressional delegate from 1903 until his death in 1922, instituting government policies still in effect today. Because of Kuhio’s influence, we observe King Kamehameha Day each June 11—the only state holiday dedicated to Hawaiian royalty other than Kuhio Day. READ MORE

Behind the Scenes of a Garden Party with Chef Jay

THE CHALLENGE: All Chefs have egos but MCCN Editor Crystal Johnson asked Chef Jay Bonilla of MCCN’s En La Cocina Para Mi Amor to put aside his ego to go where no chef really wants to go…work with food prepared by other people for… a Garden Party event.   He beautified donated items such as finger sandwiches(cucumber sandwiches), cupcakes, teacakes, fruit and Quiche for a Garden Party.  The former executive chef of D’Cache Restaurant in Toluca Lake, CA is a marvel.  Make no mistake he found a way to leave his mark with vinaigrette for the apple walnut based salad which left a buzz among the 70 women served and taste for more of what Chef Jay has to offer.

PART TWO: Teach inexperienced young adult males and teen volunteers the art of presentation and serving.

*Chef Jay talks with MCCN Editor while serving.

Look for up coming interview with Chef Jay about the challenge. 

The Roman History Behind Devilled Eggs

It is now on to the history of those delicious deviled eggs. While eggs themselves have a very mysterious past, it must be supposed the same is true for deviled eggs. There are no specifics on them. Although you can say it was some what invented in Ancient Rome. To the Romans they were known as Andalusia. The term “deviled eggs” was invented in the 18th century. In Ancient Rome they would boil the eggs and then serve them with spices on the top. Anything from wine, pine kernels, celery, fish sauce, honey, white vinegar, and pine nuts were used on the eggs. That is a list of some pretty powerful ingredients.

Stuffed eggs were featured in medieval cookbooks. Inside were raisins, goat cheese, mint marjoram, cloves, and cinnamon. Since all the ingredients were in the same recipe, you can imagine what these eggs tasted like. Wow! By the late 16th century hard boiled eggs were all the rage. Then by the 17th century the hard boiled egg became a staple in households.

It was the 18th century when “devilling” food began. In the beginning it was not usually eggs that were devilled. It is believed that “devilled” food is called such because it is a spicy food and therefore is comparable to the high heat in which the devil lives (in hell). READ MORE

About peeling and boiling Eggs:

Extremely fresh eggs will not peel easily. In fact, an egg that is just a day or two old is almost impossible to peel. As eggs age, the shells will peel more easily. It is advisable that eggs used for hard cooking (including Easter Eggs) be at least 2 weeks old before cooking for easiest peeling. Hard cooked eggs that are cooked slowly over low heat (and not ‘boiled’) will be more difficult to peel. READ MORE

Nominees for ‘Oscars of the food world’

Chefs, writers, authors and architects who excel in food and beverage fields are nominated for James Beard Awards.


— The James Beard Foundation Awards are often referred to as the “Oscars of the food world,” but the honorees are more frequently photographed in chefs’ whites and clogs than tuxes and red carpet couture, and they’re hounded for hot dish from diners rather than the staff of TMZ.

The awards — established in 1990 by the nonprofit that bears the name of one of America’s founding food writers and cooks — honor chefs, food journalists, restaurateurs, cookbook authors, restaurant designers and architects who have achieved excellence in the food and beverage field.

While the journalism, media and cookbook categories call for self-nomination (and an entry fee), anyone can suggest a chef or restaurant via the foundation’s Web site during an open call in the fall.

Though there is no cash reward, a win — or even a nomination — can substantially increase the buzz for business, according to foundation president Susan Ungaro.

“There is no doubt that it elevates standing among peers, and the publicity reverberates through the town or city,” Ungaro said last week. “It excites locals, who then think, ‘I must check that out.’ ”

Of particular passion to Ungaro are the America’s Classics awards, given to restaurants, generally 50 to 100 years old, and of iconic status in their communities.

“These would have been James Beard’s favorites — he loved both haute and down-home. These reflect the best of America’s classic dining. They’re often family run, and they’re special,” she said.

Ungaro also expressed a wish that food fans might use nominee lists as a cross-country, culinary travelogue, noting, “A nomination can help keep a restaurant going during tough economic times. These eateries end up being inundated with customers, and that helps the whole community.”

The nominations for the 2010 James Beard Foundation Awards were tweeted live (@BeardFoundation) Monday morning from New Orleans, Louisiana, and the awards will be announced at events on May 2 and 3 in New York.

To see if your favorite restaurant made the list click here

Profiles of the Iron Chef Hosts We Love

 Takeshi Kaga is most famous role would be that of “Chairman Kaga”, the eccentric and flamboyant host of Ryōri no Tetsujin, a cooking competition show (1993–1999). It became very popular, not only in Japan, but around the English-speaking world. Previously broadcast on the Food Network in the United States and on SBS in Australia, under the name Iron Chef, the show is now carried on the Fine Living network in the US as “Iron Chef Japan.” The host of Iron Chef America, Mark Dacascos, is claimed on ICA to be Takeshi’s nephew, though the stated relationship is actually between the fictional characters played by the two men.-(Wikepedia).  Takeshi Kaga is Japanase.

Mark Dacascos

Mark Dacascos, born in Hawaii and his mixed heritages includes Filipino, Japanese and Irish.   Dacascos, has been featured on Dancing With the Stars and a number of films. 

Bengali Cuisine

Bengali cuisine is a style of food preparation originating in Bengal, a region in the eastern South Asia which is now divided between the Indian state of West Bengal and the independent country of Bangladesh. With an emphasis on fish and lentils served with rice as a staple diet, Bengali cuisine is known for its subtle flavours, its confectioneries and desserts, and has perhaps the only multi-course tradition from India that is analogous with the likes of French and Italian cuisine in structure.


Bengali food has inherited a large number of influences, both foreign and South Asian, arising from a turbulent history and strong trade links with many parts of the world. Originally inhabited by Dravidians and other ethnic groups, and later further settled by the Aryans during the Gupta era, Bengal fell under the sway of various Muslim rulers from the early thirteenth century onwards, and was then ruled by the British for two centuries (1757–1947). It also saw a fair share of immigrants from various parts of the world – most prominently Jews, Chinese and Afghans who settled down in their own distinct communities in and around Kolkata.

Every layer of historical influence endures to the present day; the tribals have traditionally abided as hunter-gatherers in the dense forests of the Sunderbans while the rest of Bengal turned heavily agrarian, farming the extremely fertile Ganges delta for rice, vegetables and cash crops such as jute. -(Wikepedia)