Greens

It’s fall, full-fledged and fiery on the trees, and as all the leaves turn golden, orange, and crimson, I’ve got greens on the brain.

Armful of greens

When we picture our fall cornucopia, we often think of pumpkins, sturdy winter squash, onions, garlic, potatoes, appples, and looming over all of these is the ominous T-Day turkey. But most of all, I am thrilled by the bevy of greens – swiss chard, spinach, watercress, kale, collards – the southern girl in me is salivating at the thought. The theatre geek in me can’t help but thinking of Bernadette Peters’ vegetable rap from Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Oh Bernadette, how I love you.

I’ve begun studying herbalism this year, and more and more I return to the thought that we aren’t meant to receive our nourishment from pills and vitamins, but from whole foods. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine.” And you can’t beat dark, leafy greens for a healthful meal. I gather them up by the basketful and fling them with abandon into soups, stews, salads, and sautes. The morning after could very well find the remnants in a quiche or omelette. I just can’t get enough.

Here are a couple of my favorite ways of preparing greens, very simple, oh so good:

Greens—Mediterranean Style

1 bunch greens, any kind, clean and dry
1/2 c. raisins (adjust according to taste)
olive oil
champagne vinegar (or your favorite vinager)
salt & pepper to taste

Bring a teakettle of water to a boil on the stove. Place raisins in a heat-safe bowl and pour boiling water over them till they are covered. Set aside.

Heat a glug of olive oil in a skillet or crock over medium heat. Add the greens, toss briskly, sprinkle on a bit of seasalt, and cover. Allow to steam just until softened but still brilliant green – do not overcook. Remove from heat and stir in a tablespoon or two of vinager, salt and pepper to taste. Drain the raisins well and toss these with the greens. Serve.

Greens—Asian Style

1 bunch greens, any kind, clean and dry
olive oil
1 T. fresh minced ginger
1 – 2 T. tamari (soy sauce)
1 T. honey

Whisk together ginger, tamari, and honey, adjusting amount to your particular tastes. Set aside.

Heat a glug of olive oil in a skillet or crock over medium heat. Add the greens, toss briskly, sprinkle on a bit of seasalt, and cover. Allow to steam just until softened but still brilliant green – do not overcook. Remove from heat and toss with the tamari dressing. Serve.

What are your favorite ways to prepare greens?

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