First, you should note that this post is not going to end with a recipe. In fact, this post may make recipe followers angry. This is the post that will challenge you to think about food flavors and experiment in the kitchen!
The Philosopher and I decided to sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (http://www.localharvest.org/csa/) share this year. This means that every Saturday morning, beginning in May we saunter down the street to our local farmers market to embark on another week’s adventure in cooking. We never know what will appear in our bags, but a common theme keeps arising-Greens! Kale, beet greens, swiss chard, spinach…the list goes on and on.
Good things about having tons of greens
- They are great for you (Vitamin A, C, K…)
- They are simple to prepare
- They have been so plentiful that we only begin to reduce our supply before the next Saturday rolls around
Potentially scary things about having tons of greens
- Eww-healthy stuff!
- What am I going to do with all these greens?!! Yikes!
- What if we get tired of eating greens?
This is why I challenge you all to allow your creative cooking juices to flow. Think of all the things you know about delicious flavors. What things do you and your family love together? How about salads with raisins and feta cheese? I can make greens with those flavors! Does your family love Italian? Basil and tomatoes love greens! What if your family is filled with meat eaters? Pork (bacon, sausage, etc) and greens are as classic as bread and butter.
My first greens dish was simple, but resounded in my taste buds. You can make this too. Proportions are going to depends on the number of people you are feeding, personal preferences and if this will be the star attraction at dinner or if this is a side dish. Remember, this is highly forgiving. I used a mix of kale and baby spinach for this, but any green would be fabulous. Begin with heating oil in a pan and sautéing an onion. Throw in a few garlic cloves. When the pan is filled with fragrant goodness add the stems from the greens. I covered the dish to allow for a little steaming action. When the stems were soft I threw in a good handful of baby portabella mushrooms and added a healthy splash of white wine. Throw in a handful or so of raisins and again cover, allowing the mushrooms to begin cooking and the raisins to plump up with wine goodness. When the mushrooms are looking nearly cooked (this should only be a few minutes) add the greens. I also added a dash of kosher salt and pepper. I then cook uncovered (allowing the wine to completely cook off-leaving a lovely, tangy aroma) until the greens have wilted. Take off the heat, add a generous portion of feta cheese and the juice of a lemon. Serve immediately to the houseful of people salivating at the lovely kitchen smells! This dish is also great the next day cold for lunch-trust me, I know!
OK-I can hear you now. But my kids hate onions! Leave them out. Add more garlic or throw in veggies that they do love. I don’t like raisins! Try Craisins. Mushrooms make me sick! How about some summer squash instead? Basically, I am granting you permission to stop thinking about cooking in the form of rules and to start thinking about it as an adventure. Use this as a stepping stone to other things you know you love. Are there herbs that would likely be lovely in this? Sure! What about other cheeses? What about no cheese? What about garbanzo beans as a protein source? What about the leftover chicken from last night? Toss it all in! What’s to lose? When you know that the flavors all work well together, you can’t mess up dinner. I promise!