Eat Your Greens

The tomatoes are waning and the summer garden is spent. Fall is the perfect time to consider cooking with the often misunderstood greens family! I bet you too have stood in front of the produce section with a perplexed or even fearful look in your eyes as you stared at the mustard, kale, and collard greens. You’re not alone, as I too began my cooking career with a complete lack of knowledge of proper greens cooking techniques. Have no fear because they are actually quite simple to prepare, and can be enjoyed in many different ways.

In recent years, the greens category has been dubbed by the foodie world as super food. Celebrity chefs everywhere are rhapsodizing all things greens on TV, in top restaurant menus, and all over the internet. But not everyone is a foodie expert. We live real lives, so how do we embrace one of autumn's perplexing treasures while still putting a meal on the table in 30 minutes or less?

My favorite thing about greens is that there are countless ways to enjoy them. Raw, sautéed, poached, pan seared, as a main dish, or just a topping. The possibilities are endless and they all can be cooked in no time flat.

I have included a few simple ways to prepare greens, so that you can start slowly integrating them into your everyday cooking.

Greens can be earthy and bitter when raw, but when paired with sweeter or acidic combinations in the kitchen they become the perfect base for an amazing salad or side dish. Just remove the ribs (leaves on either side of the stalk) and tear into bite size pieces or cut leaves into ribbons.

Greens once cooked can then be paired with the bright flavors of autumn such as cranberry, apple, pear, oranges, ginger, or nuts. Throw on a cranberry vinaigrette, and voila you have a beautiful and delicious side salad.

They can also be cooked and made into a side dish by once again removing the ribs and slicing into strips and then sautéing with olive oil, salt and pepper. This scrumptious dish showcases the greens and can be eaten by itself or used later inside of soups or stews.

Some lightly sautéed ribbons of greens can also be used to top cooked pizza or crostini. Just remember to balance the bitter greens with a sweet note and you’ll be a success.

The beauty of greens is once you have them figured out, they are relatively hard to mess up again. Just be sure to taste test as you’re going along to be sure you enjoy the flavor combination you are creating. Greens pair well with just about anything, so remember you are only limited in the kitchen by your own creativity!