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New Ingredient: Collard Greens

June 22, 2011

Another week, another new ingredient I’m not sure how to cook.

Let me preface this post by saying that Maryland may technically be the South — below the Mason-Dixon line and all that — but it’s certainly not South enough to have meant I ever ate collard greens. I’ve also never picked crabs, which is pretty authentically Maryland, but that’s another blog for another day.

Back to collards.

These fan-like leaves are huge! They sat in the fridge untouched for over a week as I bypassed them in favor of familiar favorites — spinach, romaine, even a little bok choy.

Last night, I knew it was time to face my fears and eat collards. You see, I didn’t know what to do with them mainly because every collards recipe I’ve ever heard of involves bacon or ham. No thanks.

Real Simple’s Garlicky Collards to the rescue. I separated the leaf from the stem

and boiled the collards for 10 minutes. The drained greens went into a large saucepan with olive oil, garlic, S&P, onion and two more CSA goodies, broccoli and zucchini, where everything sauteed for a few minutes.

Served alongside bread from the incredible Canela Bakery and the best Laughing Cow flavor ever, garlic & herb.

As I sat down to eat this meal, Diane Sawyer and World News keeping me company, my first thought was, ‘Is it normal to eat a dinner like this?’ Greens, greens, greens. And literally as I was talking to myself — as you tend to do when you live alone — a commercial came on TV for McDonald’s chicken McNuggets.

Do you know what’s in McNuggets?

Ingredients: White boneless chicken, water, food starch-modified, salt, seasoning [autolyzed yeast extract, salt, wheat starch, natural flavoring (botanical source), safflower oil,
dextrose, citric acid], sodium phosphates, natural flavor (botanical source).  Battered and breaded with: water, enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced
iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), yellow corn flour, bleached wheat flour,  food starch-modified, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid
pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), spices, wheat starch, dextrose, corn starch.

I love ‘food starch-modified’! Yum!

Collard greens may not be part of the Standard American Diet and they may not be my new favorite food, but they’re as American as McNuggets and infinitely healthier. In a contest between the two, I’d pick the collards every time (especially after the image of McDonald’s mechanically-separated meat was burned onto my retinas).

Trying new things is good for you. And rule of thumb: boring veggies can always be spiced up with a few spoonfuls of marina sauce.

How do you cook collards? What do you think of the Standard American Diet? I actually got used to defending the American diet while living in Korea, where many people seemed to think we were all overweight and unhealthy.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. Marie permalink
    June 22, 2011 9:47 am

    I know I told you on Twitter, but in case anyone else is interested, my family usually boils or steams it with garlic, s+p, and we serve it with apple cider vinegar. SO good! Marinara sauce is a fantastic idea though 🙂

    • June 22, 2011 10:23 am

      Love the apple cider vinegar idea — helps cut the bitterness.

  2. June 22, 2011 11:10 am

    Can’t believe you’ve never picked crabs!

  3. June 22, 2011 12:52 pm

    I’ve always been so scared to make collards, but you make them look so good! I’ll have to give it a try. 🙂

    • June 22, 2011 1:07 pm

      Having just finished lunch, I can say that the leftovers are better — all the herbs get a chance to settle in.

  4. June 22, 2011 3:20 pm

    Marinara can make everything tastier. Everytime I’ve had collard green there has been pig fat involved. While I don’t think piggy greens is something I would make at home, they were interesting to try. McNuggets definitely gross me out too. Especially when they take the bite out of the nugget and then show it to you like it’s suppose to look like real meat but it doesn’t at all. Eeek!

    • June 22, 2011 4:02 pm

      I actually was impressed that there’s real chicken in McNuggets (these days, not in the past) but that definitely doesn’t make them a good option. I’ll stick with Morningstar chik’n. 😉

  5. June 22, 2011 5:17 pm

    I have never cooked collard greens, but think they are super yummy. Madam’s Organ makes them as an awesome side dish. In terms of the American Diet, I ate white bread, liverwurst, white pasta, PB&J, and drank whole milk for almost 18 years – and I was thin as a rail! I believe everything in moderation is key, which is what my family definitely encouraged (except when it came to Greek food, where we just ate plates upon plates). I think everything is dependent on your genes, activity level, and what you consume – no exceptions.

    Also try mashed sweet potato as an accompaniment next time!

  6. June 22, 2011 9:25 pm

    Wow time out….you’ve never picked crabs?! And you’ve lived in MD your whole life? That’s a story I want to hear!

Trackbacks

  1. New Ingredient: Collard Greens « Travel Eat Repeat | Desain Website
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