Another wet weekend! When will I stop being surprised? Last week was full classes. I graduated my third class after 6 weeks full of learning and cooking. All the women really enjoyed the course and wrote great things on their evaluations. They talked about how they learned to read labels better, pick healthier foods and cook things, such as quinoa, which they had never cooked before. In the other classes I shadowed, we made peanut noodles, salmon patties with mango salsa and orange walnut pancakes- all scrumptious!
In giving the grocery store tours these past few weeks, I’ve noticed that there is not a lot of produce that is really fresh and in season. We still have apples from fall and oranges from winter, but what is really in season now? Greens! Greens, such as kale, collards and Swiss chard are in season now. We introduced kale to the women in one of my classes this week. They had never seen or heard of it before, but after tasting sautéed kale with garlic, red pepper flakes and balsamic vinegar, they were sold. Many people have seen greens and heard about how fantastic they are nutritionally, but do not know what to do with them. My aunt loves to send me yummy recipes she has seen in the newspaper and tried out. Last week she sent me Swiss Chard and Chickpea minestrone from Margaret Shulman’s Recipes for Health from the New York Times. It looks so beautiful with all of the colors and textures it features.
Not only are greens beautiful, they also provided lots of vitamins and minerals. Margaret Shulman says in her article on Swiss Chard, “It’s the most versatile of greens, and an excellent source of calcium and potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A and beta-carotene.” 1 She also provides a great tip on how to preserve the nutrients in greens when cooking: “Some of you have asked why I blanch greens before using them in dishes. I find it’s the most efficient way to wilt them quickly and evenly, and they aren’t boiled so long -- just a minute or two — that the nutrients are depleted.” 1
You can see some of her recipes and read the article in full if you follow this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/28/health/nutrition/28recipehealth.html?ref=nutrition
You can also make this simple side dish to incorporate more greens into your meals:
Brazilian- Style Sautéed Greens
By chef Jessica Grosman, Boston, MA
Serves 4, ½ cup per serving
1 pound collard greens
4 medium cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons canola oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Remove stems from each collard green leaf.
- Stack the leaves on top of each other and roll them tightly into a tube shaped bundle of leaves. Make multiple stacks if there are too many leaves to roll into one bundle.
- Use a sharp knife to slice the bundles into ¼ inch wide strips
- Place all cut greens in a large bowl and fill with cold water, allowing any dirt to settle to the bottom of the bowl. If greens are very dirty, repeat this step.
- Peel and mince garlic.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add canola oil.
- Lift greens out of the bowl, shaking off any excess water and place in hot skillet. Use caution as the oil might splatter when the damp greens are placed in the hot pan. If the greens can’t all fit in the pan at once, cook in two batches.
- Stir the greens to cook evenly, about 1-2 minutes
- Reduce heat to medium and add garlic. Sauté until all greens are fully evaporated cooked, about 5-7 minutes and any excess water has evaporated. If garlic starts to brown or burn, reduce heat to medium low until greens are fully cooked.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
- Try chard, kale or any other leafy greens instead of collards.
Enjoy your vitamins and new way to cook seasonal greens.
1A Versatile Vegetable for a Chilly Spring. Martha Shulman. The New York Times, Health Section. Mar 28, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/28/health/nutrition/28recipehealth.html?ref=nutrition