Collards are a staple here in the near-south. I say near-south because just over the river is Indiana, which cannot techinically be called the south. So here in Louisville we have our own brand of horse-farmed, bourbon-laced, red-necked Southern charm, spoken with a midwest accent and a tinge of bullshit, bless our hearts.
Back to collards....these humble greens are extremely plentiful right now. Since I've been avoiding sugar and flour, with mixed success, I have been eating my weight in greens. I found a recipe for collard green coleslaw in an old Vegetarian Times magazine and decided to give it a try. I made mine with a decidedly Asian influence.
Collard Green Coleslaw (adapted from a Vegetarian Times Recipe, January 2009)
One bunch of collards, tough stems removed
3 medium carrots, shredded
I green onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 c brown rice vinegar
Generous swirl (about 1/4 c) sesame or olive oil
1/3 c sugar (this was in the original recipe but I omitted it)
1 tbls. shoyu (or to taste)
Finely chop the collards and toss with the dressing and other veggies. Sprinkle the top with black sesame seeds before serving.
Here are some other uses for collard greens:
-spread a nice big leaf with hummus and throw on some veggies and you have an instant "sandwich".
-saute them outright, the old-fashioned way, with fatback. Or better yet, bacon. Eating collards has made me crave bacon, despite the fact that I haven't eaten bacon in some 20 years now.
-do what the raw foodists do and make collard burritoes. You can chunk up some cumin, garlic, onions, almonds, salt and cayenne in a food processor, add a tiny bit of water to hold it together if need be, and add fresh tomatoes, nut cream (fresh cashew butter pureed with lime juice, water, and a bit of salt works too), green onions, guacamole, salsa, etc. Roll it up like a burrito.
-chop it finely and add to your regular green salad. Collards are mild enough to not offend your salad. What? You don't eat a regular green salad? Why not? Salad is a summer staple and helps take the Christmas cookies off your waist.
The other thing I have been making is calzones. I use the calzone "crust" recipe from Enchanted Broccoli Forest, and for a filling, I use mozzarella, canned tomatoes, garlic, local garlic scapes, italian spice blend, salt, pepper, olives, artichokes,a local egg, and local swiss chard or spinach or both. A friend of mine inspired me to make this, and her calzone filling had ricotta, mozzarella, swiss chard, onions, a pinch of nutmeg, an egg or two...it was divine. I always serve this with a sauce. For sauce, I just blend an organic jar of spaghetti sauce, then add lots and lots of extra garlic, a handful of sundried tomatoes packed in oil, oil from the sundried tomato jar, and extra basil. If I'm feeling extra special and chunky, I might even start by sauteing onions and then add the other ingredients, just chopping the tomatoes instead of blending them.
One more thing you must know. I eat a whole bunch of farmer's market kale every day. EVERY day.
What I want to make: Cheese and yogurt and fermented carrots. A stack of library books and two purchased gallons of non-homogenized organic milk and bunches of carrots from the farmer's market will have me on my way in no time. We are also going berry picking for jam. We will see.
Farmer's Market scores this week: kale, collards, green onions, carrots, garlic scapes, cilantro, eggs