January 31, 2008

Ode to Winter Greens

They started in before the holidays, reminding me why we started this blog in the first place: to find a way to deal with all the greens. Through most of the summer, I was in a contented state of bliss gobbling up brandywine tomatoes, and the endless supply of easy-to-prepare vegetables that summer brings. No washing mud from crocodile spinach (which beats Polar Bear, hands down to any Eatwell readers!) No figuring out to do with yet more collards.

But now things have settled down, and I've hunkered in to greens again. Here's what you do with collards, Miche knows! There's only one way: chiffonade, saute in bacon fat.

I don't have any opposition to the book Sneaking It In, in fact, I do it all the time for my little ones. But some tasty bacon fat goes a long way to getting little kids to eat greens all on their own!

Almost every night we have some sauteed green. The spinach is really and truly one of the best tasting things I've eaten in my life. And I've ate around. Hot from a saute pan, full of sweetness and flavor, and just enough sea salt, it's one of my favorite treats.

But then!! Savoy cabbage!! I sauteed it in a little olive oil, allowing it to carmelize slightly and sprinkled with sea salt. I served it with short ribs, really good, really tasty, really tender short ribs. Are you following? The cabbage was even tastier than the meat. I made more the next day for lunch.

And there's bok choy, and baby bok choy. I love the way the dense stalks retain the heat from the pan. The soft flavor with the texture. Sigh.

Here's one way I sneak in greens. Last night for dinner I cooked soba noodles and Red Russian kale in homemade chicken stock. The greens cook off nutrients in to the stock. I serve it all in a bowl to my kids, who pick around the greens, ingesting them only by accident. But, the "damage" is done, because the stock is now full of lovely vegetable vitamins! It's an easy, nourishing week-night meal.

I'm going to be sad to see the greens go when we head in to warmer days... but then the fava beans will be there to comfort me and take my mind off the temporary hiatus. I'm really getting the beauty of seasonal eating. Every time of the year (at least here in California!) has some incredible treat to offer... all beyond compare to the others because they are all each the very best version of themselves.


Anonymous said...

I want to learn more about seasonal eating, is there a web site or book that would be helpful? I love your blog. thanks

Ruth said...

Thanks for reading, Shauna!

The easiest place to start reading about seasonal eating is to follow some of the links on our site.

Barbara Kingsolver wrote this great book about her year of eating food that she grew and raised herself or found from a local farmer. That book is: "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle."

"Slow Food Nation" is another good read, it's by Carlo Petrini and Alice Waters.

A more general guide to food is Michael Pollan's latest: "In Defense of Food."

And honestly, the easiest way to start is by shopping a farmer's market or getting a weekly box from a local farm. I tried eating seasonally for a couple years before getting the box and found it a real challenge to only buy seasonal produce from the supermarket. The box is a one-stop-shop of the freshest available!