Left — Kale and chard mingle with other garden plants. Right — Spy my lettuce growing among the Columbine. For the first time I put a net over it. This really helped because the birds were ‘giving it a hair cut.’ Photos by: Elizabeth Fiend
You’ve got your spinach, your bok choy (and a zillion other ‘choys’), your soft, dainty salad greens, yer sturdy kales and collards. Dandelion and mustard greens, Chinese broccoli, broccoli rabe, beet and turnip tops — they’re all part of the green family. I also include green, leafy herbs like basil, mint, parsley and cilantro in the green clan.
Lots of cultures celebrate greens in their cuisine, but with the exception of a few Southern favorites, your Standard American Diet (SAD) generally ignores these powerhouses of nutrition, taste and versatility. Still I was pretty surprised when a well-dressed, intelligent businesswoman said to me, “What you GROW kale in your yard?” And then proceeded to ask how I cooked it. I blurted out, “Like every other green” With a “duh” implied. Geez.
The next second I realized what my new column would be.
Greens! Are! Grand! You gotta get with them this fall and winter (and forever).
If you don’t like greens, you haven’t had them prepared properly. Or, prepared in a way you like. Greens go with or in almost everything. What do you like?
Quiche, omelets (and other egg dishes), burgers, chili (or any dish with beans), tomato sauce (or any dish with tomatoes), potatoes, Indian, African, Asian, Italian food? Greens, they go with all of these foods.
Polenta too. A few slices of baked polenta and a mess of greens, a glass of red wine — you got dinner.
Greens are super foods for sure. They have hardly any calories, a negligible amount of fat (if any) and they’re loaded, I mean really loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Greens are even a great source of dietary fiber.