« Green onions | Main | KALE »
Thursday
Nov032011

Greens

We grow a variety of greens, for salad and cooking.  I won't tell you how good-for-you greens are, because you know that.   Most of the greens we grow are either lettuces or Brassicas--that is, related to broccoli, cabbage, and mustard.  Eating greens used to feel like a duty to me; since I discovered all these possibilities, they are one of the joys of eating.  Look under variety names for more detailed descriptions and ideas:  Arugula, bekana, mizuna, tat soi, kale, lettuce, endive, collards, radicchio.

 

How we eat greens:

1. Salad.  Chop and add dressing of your choice.  If I'm feeling creative (or hungry) I might add toasted sunflower seeds, a poached egg or cheese or sardines, sliced apples, and/or homemade croutons.  The dip under "piracicaba" makes a nice creamy dressing, with a little more water.  Chop kale in thin ribbons and wilt it with a hot vinaigrette, then add toasted sunflower seeds. 

2.  Cooked.  We saute delicate greens briefly in a little oil.  For kale and collards, add a little water and cover the pan, cooking until they are tender.  Or half and inch of water to a boil, add your greens, cook until tender, and drain.  ("Tender" is a matter of taste--so taste, and learn what is tender enough for you!)  We dress our greens with vinegar, salt, and pepper, sometimes a little honey.

3.  Pesto.  You can make pesto with any kind of greens--anyway, all the ones we've tried have been good.  Just remove any long stems, which might turn out stringy when ground.  Tat soi is our favorite at the moment--lots of flavor--but I'm thinking that tat soi and arugula might be good together.  A bonus is that, unlike basil, greens STAY GREEN after grinding.  So your pesto is still gorgeous after an hour, or even the next day.  Just use a basil pesto recipe, and put the result on pasta or--better yet--boiled potatoes.

Member recipe for greens with pecans

A CSA member told me how to make this, and it sounds great:  Saute onions in olive oil; add chopped turnip and radish greens (or any kind, probably) and some red wine and vegetable broth; cover and simmer until tender; serve topped with toasted pecans.

Greens smoothie

I cook most of the greens I eat, since raw ones are hard for me to digest.  But this smoothie is easy on the tummy and delicious.  I drink one every morning for breakfast.  Really.  It's good.

In a blender, combine 1 1/2 cups of milk or "other milk" (see sunflower milk, below), 2 T honey, a pinch of salt, a couple of sprigs of fresh mint, and around 1 1/2 cups (if you packed it down) of raw green veggies.  (I've been using lettuce and piracicaba mostly, but anything mild would be fine.  Experiment to get the sweetness and mintiness you like.)  Blend on high speed until the green stuff is tiny specks.  Drink slowly.

Sunflower milk:  This is what I use in my smoothies; it's cheap, nutritious, and yummy, but it's a little more trouble than something ready-made.  Soak about 3 T raw sunfower seeds overnight in water.  Drain and put in the blender.  Add enough water to make 1 1/2 cups, then blend at high speed for a while--two minutes?  The longer the better, but it's loud.  Pour the result through a wire-mesh strainer, stirring and pressing with a spoon (this is optional, but it makes the smoothie smooth). 

Greens in soup:

We steam greens and add them to our potato soup when we serve it.  This lets family members decide for themselves how much they want; it also means that leftover soup doesn't end up full of overcooked greens when it's reheated.  Greens pesto (see above) can also be spooned into hot soup--this is good in potato soup too, and in tomato-based veggie soups. 

Preserving greens:

Greens are very good frozen.  Bring water to a boil, and drop in chopped greens (you can do about a quart of greens at a time, loosely packed, in a gallon of water).  Cover the pan and keep the heat on while you wait three minutes.  Spoon the greens out in to a bowl of cold water, let them cool at least three minutes, and then drain them.  These are handy to use if you pack them tightly into a muffin tin or ice-cube tray, freeze them, then take them out and store them in a freezer bag.