I get the most amazing collard greens from my CSA. Sometimes I get an overwhelming amount of amazing collard greens from my CSA. It’s a challenge I gladly accept. I’m always trying to think of interesting ways to prepare them. This morning I put a Boston Butt pork roast in the crockpot with dinner plans for pulled pork sandwiches on homemade Focaccia bread. I was staring into the fridge and the idea of pickling the collards popped into my head. I have pickled mustard greens before and enjoyed using them as a condiment. Why not collards? Y’all, they turned out so good. They were excellent on the pulled pork sandwiches. I kind of wish I had made a double batch.
These sweet and sour collard greens would also make an excellent side dish. Just cook the collards until tender (about 20 minutes longer than stated in the recipe) and serve warm. I could easily drink the pickling/cooking liquid. : )
Pickled Collard Greens
1 large bunch of collard greens
2 cups water
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Wash and chop the collard greens. I usually remove the center ribs from the leaves before chopping.
In a pot over high heat, bring the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the chopped collards and cook for 5 (for crunchy collards – these are actually better after a few days in the fridge) to 20 (for use right away as a condiment or side dish) minutes. Let the collards and pickling liquid cool and then transfer to a large Mason jar. Refrigerate at least several hours (a couple of days is even better) before use.
I got my first CSA box of the season on Wednesday. Yay! I love being a CSA member! Historic flooding in South Carolina devastated the farm in October, but they are rebounding and expect a plentiful spring season. They are off to a strong start. This week’s box included bok choy, tatsoi, spring lettuce mix, strawberries, spring onions, and mustard greens. I love the challenge of coming up with new ways to cook the produce from the CSA box.
This morning I threw this recipe together to go with my over-easy eggs. It’s a great side dish. I can imagine it would be an excellent side for Teriyaki (or Sweet Bourbon) Salmon.
If you are not lucky enough to get fresh bok choy and tatsoi from your CSA, this produce can usually be found in Asian Markets.
The recipe is written for one. Double, triple, quadruple, etc… it as needed. If you like your greens with a little acid, add a dash of rice vinegar along with the soy sauce.
Wilted Bok Choy and Tatsoi
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small head of bok choy, stalk end trimmed, roughly chopped
2 cups of tatsoi, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon soy sauce
salt and pepper
Heat the sesame oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute. Add the chopped bok choy and sauté another minute before adding the tatsoi. Season with the soy sauce and black pepper. Cook until wilted, just a few minutes. Taste and season with salt, if needed. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
Lentils are a great protein source. They are inexpensive and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Their creamy texture makes them an excellent alternative to chickpeas when making hummus.
There are many different types of lentils, so you can use your favorite for this recipe. I almost always have brown lentils on hand, so that is what I use. Red lentils would be perfect too.
Lentil hummus is great as a dip with pita bread or chips and/or fresh veggies. It is also wonderful as a spread for veggie wraps or sandwiches. I like it on a flour tortilla with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and black olives.
1 cup dried lentils (your favorite kind), picked over and rinsed
at least 2 cups water
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
Cook lentils (according to package directions) in the water until they are very tender, almost mushy. The cooking times will vary depending on the type of lentil you are using. The brown lentils I used took about 35 minutes. You may need to add water to the lentils as they cook. Keep an eye of them. Towards the end of cooking, season the lentils to taste with salt. Once done, take the lentils off the heat and drain off excess cooking liquid. Let the lentils cool.
In a food processor, blend the cooked lentils, garlic, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, and cayenne until very smooth. You may need to add a little water, about 1 tablespoon at time, to help blend the mixture. I let the food processor run for several (4 – 5) minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl and check the consistency of the lentil hummus. Blend in the desired amount of salt. Taste the hummus and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.
Are you a fan of Allrecipes? I am! I have found some pretty fantastic recipes on the site, including this one for Asparagus with Balsamic Butter Sauce. It makes for a nice, flavorful side dish. A perfect addition to your Easter (or any) meal.
Find the recipe here.
Earth Fare has organic broccoli on sale for 99¢ per pound right now. I won’t lie, I’m a little more excited about it than I should be. Broccoli wasn’t a favorite as a kid, but I just love it now. So far, I have made a couple of different soups and a stir-fry featuring broccoli. I also made this salad.
Recipes for Broccoli Salad often feature lots of mayonnaise. It’s no secret that I am not a mayo fan. The slightly sweet vegan dressing in this recipe is a perfect replacement for a mayonnaise-based dressing. Not only is it lower in calories, it also doesn’t mask the flavors of the fresh ingredients. This salad is not drowning in dressing. You could double the dressing recipe if you would like a bigger dressing to salad ratio.
1 large bunch of broccoli (about 2 big stalks), washed, and cut into bite-size florets (save the stalk for something else)
1 large apple (I prefer Fuji or Honeycrisp), cored and chopped
1/4 cup Craisins (dried cranberries)
1/4 cup sliced almonds (or pecans, walnuts, or sunflower seeds)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil
Combine the broccoli florets, chopped apples, Craisins, and sliced almonds in a bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, sugar, white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the canola oil. Alternatively, shake the dressing ingredients together in a sealed Mason jar.
Pour the dressing over the broccoli salad and toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
This salad keeps up to 3 days in the fridge.
A processed cheese product (like Velveta) is often used in making Queso because it melts more smoothly. Using evaporated milk in this recipe helps the “real” cheese melt smoother and makes for a creamier consistency. The results are pretty fantastic. You can use your favorite milder, harder cheese (like Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby, or a Mexican cheese blend) in this recipe, but don’t use cheeses like Mozzarella, Brie, Swiss, or Goat Cheese (or obviously, Bleu Cheese).
This Queso keeps well for several days in the fridge. It reheats very well too. You can just zap it in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until warmed through.
A simple dish of Chile con Queso with tortilla chips is wonderful, but you can take it to greater heights with the addition of toppings. Queso can be serious business. One of my favorite restaurants in Austin, Texas is Magnolia Café. They have the best Queso ever. Their Mag Queso is topped with avocado and Pico de Gallo. It’s amazing! The Kerbey Queso at Kerbey Lane Cafe in Austin is great too. I have also had Queso with shredded BBQ brisket, refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, and Pico that was delicious. There are no limits.
Creamy Chile con Queso
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 -2 jalapenos, to taste, seeds removed, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (mild Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Mexican cheese blend, etc…)
1/2 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes, drained
salt, to taste
dash garlic powder
1 – 4 tablespoons milk, if necessary
fresh cilantro, chopped
fresh onion, chopped
fresh avocado, diced (or guacamole)
fresh tomatoes, diced
pickled jalapeno slices
Pico de Gallo
black beans, warmed
shredded brisket, chicken, pork
cooked ground beef or sausage
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook, stirring often, until softened. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds. Whisk in the evaporated milk a little at a time, whisking well to dissolve flour lumps. Reduce heat to low and whisk in the shredded cheese, a little at a time. Continue to whisk until all of the cheese is added and the Queso is smooth. Add the drained diced tomatoes, salt, and garlic powder. If the Queso is too thick, you can add a little milk, about a tablespoon at a time, to thin to desired consistency. Serve the Queso warm, topped with desired toppings (I like fresh avocado, cilantro, pickled jalapenos, and chopped tomatoes) alongside tortilla chips.
This colorful salsa, eaten with tortilla chips is a tasty snack. It is also a nice addition to tacos, fajitas, or rice bowls. It can even be eaten on its own as a side dish or salad of sorts. It keeps well in the fridge for a week or so.
Poblano chiles (fresh or roasted) can be substituted for the bell pepper and jalapenos.
1 pound frozen corn
1/2 large onion, small dice (red onion looks pretty with corn)
1/2 green bell pepper, small dice (you could also use red bell peppers)
2 jalapenos, or to taste, minced
handful fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
kosher salt, to taste
Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the frozen corn and cook, stirring often, until heated through and starting to char. Cooking it this way really brings out the sweetness of the corn. Let the corn cool completely.
Once the corn is cooled, add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Taste and add more lime juice or kosher salt, if needed.