The series of personal firsts continues. Prior to making a delicious side dish with dark, green, fresh, organic collard greens from Happy Boy Farms this weekend, I had never cooked this vegetable. Recipes I had seen on the internet usually took way too long to cook to qualify for a "recipe of the week." However, I did see a simple suggestion that made all the difference and made it possible to sauté the vegetable quickly just like any other leafy greens.
If you can, find a February issue of Consumer's Report and read the article entitled "When it pays to buy organic." Increasingly, you will hear health professionals use the term "evidence based medicine.” We like to know what really works and the best way to take care of people. This article helps with evidence based shopping. It is a good resource to learn about organic food and when it matters most to buy organic. They recommend a website that reports on testing for pesticide levels in almost 50 favorite fruits and vegetables (www.foodnews.org.) While we don't know exactly what health effects result from the cumulative ingestion of pesticides in fruits and vegetables, the facts at least give you the option of making an informed choice. Some of the information was a surprise to me. I had been holding out for organic asparagus only to learn that it had almost non-detectable pesticides, even when grown conventionally. On the other hand, non-organically grown strawberries had the second highest level of pesticides behind peaches, even if washed first. I can hardly wait for VB Farms to come back to our hospital's market for their fourth season with their organically grown strawberries.
A number of you have told me that you forward these emails to friends, co-workers, and family. If anyone is interested, it is easy to subscribe to this weekly email at the shortcut kp.org/farmersmarketrecipes.
I served these greens with blue-cheese turkey burgers. (I am trying to figure out what excuse I can use to share the recipe for these burgers in a farmers' market column. Maybe the scallions in the recipe?)
- 2 bunches collard greens
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Break off the toughest parts of the stems. Wash and dry the greens. This is the cool part. Stack the leaves four or five high and roll them up to the size of a fat carrot. Slice the rolled leaves crosswise no wider than 1/8". This makes it possible to cook the greens quickly. Heat the olive oil over low heat. "Sweat" the diced onions until they begin to soften but not brown. Add the garlic and sauté just until fragrant. Stir in the cumin. Turn the heat to medium-high and sauté the collard greens. They will wilt down considerably but retain their rich green color and sturdiness. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.
Nutrition Information (per serving)