All the Recipes Fit to Print
Chances are, if you’re a healthy eater, you cook. Whether or not you LIKE to cook is a different story, but successful healthy eaters know that preparing their own food is not only super nutritious (after all, you control exactly what goes into your food preparation), but also extremely nourishing.
I love to cook. I’m not great, by any means, but I can follow a recipe easily enough. And I LOVE to find new receipes. I own TONS of cookbooks. However, I only actually make about 5% of the recipes I find. For me, it’s more about the hunt of finding the perfect butternut squash soup, the most delictable preparation of kale. Whether or not I actually prepare the dish is inconsequential to me…as long as I know the recipe is out there and exists (for when I actually might want to make it) I am happy. I guess you could call it “recipe porn.” (And if “food porn” is totally your think you absolutely must, must check out Tastespotting.com. Swoon!)
So, imagine my delight when I was trolling the New York Times Fitness & BNutrition section and came across a cornucopia of recipes from the Times. Man, these recipes are AWESOME, plus they’re super healthy, and divided by category, like pantry items, canned tuna, artichokes, and walnuts. Cha-ching, and schwing!
Here’s a recipe for simply preparing collard greens, my favorite leafy green of the moment. (And by the way, the book Greens, Glorious Greens is a MUST for any healthy cook)
Braised Collard Greens by Martha Rose Shulman of the New York Times
The Southern way with collard greens is to cook them for at least an hour, usually more, with a ham hock or bacon for seasoning. This is very nice, but the pork contributes a lot of sodium and some fat to the dish. I find that onion and lots of garlic, along with a little crushed red pepper, are seasoning enough, as collards have a lot of flavor to begin with. An hour of cooking may seem excessive, but you’ll see how their flavor changes from bitter to almost sweet over the long simmer. The greens are nice with a squeeze of lemon.
1 large bunch collard greens, about 1 1/2 pounds, stemmed and washed in 2 changes of water
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, sliced very thin across the grain
2 to 4 garlic cloves, green shoots removed, sliced thin
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice for serving
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the collard greens. Blanch for four minutes and transfer to the ice water with a slotted spoon or skimmer. Drain, squeeze out extra water and coarsely chop or cut in thin ribbons. Set aside the cooking water.
2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a wide, lidded skillet or Dutch oven, and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, and continue to cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the collard greens, and stir together for a few minutes, then add 1 cup of the cooking water and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer, cover partially, and simmer over low heat for one hour, stirring often and adding more cooking water from time to time, so that the greens are always simmering in a small amount of liquid. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot or warm, with a little fresh lemon juice if desired.
Yield: Serves four.
Advance preparation: You can make this dish up to a day ahead and reheat in a little water or broth.