Thursday, April 13, 2006

GREENS

I was over at the "primaryconsumer" blog and saw that she has an abundance of greens, my green with envy side is showing through today ... I'm looking forward to getting some from my garden. I'll be planting some kale and turnip seeds very soon, I'm in Iowa and we have a later growing season than many others. I have really been drooling seeing all the greens other blog writers have been queestioning how to use. I love greens! Did you know they are like a tonic to the body, check out the awesome nutritional value of KALE (link to world's healthiest foods page).

Although I have tried many greens and like most of them, KALE and TURNIP GREENS are my favorite for cooking and storing (frozen) for later use. Cooked beet greens and spinach get to mushy for me, but I love them for a fresh salads (if the beet greens are young and tender). Typically when I get my first batch of greens in the garden I start thinning and adding the baby (1-2 inch) greens to salads, but then when they get bigger and I have my first batch in abundance I make a pot of SPICY SOUTHERN GREENS (link). I have tried to make this twice a year, but I discovered one time is really what I crave and once a year I very much enjoy it. Later as the growing season continues, if I don't have an immediate use or the time for using my fresh harvest (mainly turnip greens) upon picking I steam it until half cooked, squeeze the liquids out of it and freeze it in one cup portions. Then when I am ready to make dip or add green to a soup I have them ready, just thaw chop and wha-la ... my own organic greens ready for use. I typically store away about 20 - 1 cup servings of greens and run out by March because I have always found an abundance of uses for them in stir fries, soups, and other recipes.

In Iowa we have turnip greens in early spring and the best kale crop in the late fall, it is at it's peak in flavor if it gets a good frost before picking. At that time it's perfect for spanish kale and potato soup (i heart this!).

Here's some of my other favorite uses with greens:
(Click on the colored title and link to the recipes)
Veggie Dips: ONIONY KALE DIP and PERSIAN GREEN HUMMOUS
I think that carrots sliced into long ovals are a beautiful compliment to the green hummous, but then I've also been know to put it in a pita. I just had a thought about phyllo dough for non-bakers. Wrap some of the dip into a sheet of phyllo and cook it on a flat griddle on the stove top to brown as desired.... I am almost sure that this would work because it does with thicker wheat based oriental pasta style wrappers, but it would probably be crumbly.

Here's a recipe for a baked greek lasagna using phyllo dough sheets:
KALE SPANAKOPITA (or spinach, but I like kale better)
(Preparation 90 minutes, not counting marinating time for the tofu cheese)
Cottage cheese substitute:
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and mashed
3/4 cup tofu mayonnaise
3 teaspoons finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground dill seed

Feta cheese substitute:
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 cups water
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons finely minced onion
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon ground dill seed

Feta cheese Marinade:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, finely minced

Pita:One 1-pound package frozen phyllo dough
2 bunches (roughly 1/2 pound) kale or spinach leaves
1 large onion, diced
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Start by making the cottage cheese substitute. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands or a wooden spoon. Don't use a food processor, as you want the cheese to be lumpy, not pureed. Can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.To make the feta cheese, combine cheese ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium-high flame, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Drain the tofu and set aside in a bowl.To make the marinade for the feta cheese, whisk all ingredients together in a bowl, then pour over the feta cheese tofu and toss to coat. Cover and chill several hours, stirring occasionally. Once marinated, the tofu feta can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.To make the spanakopita, preheat the oven to 350 F.Remove the phyllo dough from its package and cover with a damp cloth. Wash the kale or spinach, remove any thick stems. Finely chop the leaves.In a medium saute pan, cook the onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent, about 3 minutes. Set aside.Drain the feta cheese and crumble into a large bowl. Add the cottage cheese and mix well. Add the onions and kale, then use your hands to mix everything until very well combined.Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the bottom of a lasagna pan with olive oil. Place a layer of phyllo dough (2 or 3 sheets) over the bottom of the pan, curling the excess up the sides.Lightly brush the phyllo with olive oil and spread a 1/4- to 1/2-inch layer of kale and tofu filling on it. Cover the mixture with another layer of phyllo dough, again layering any excess dough up the sides of the pan.Brush the phyllo with more olive oil and repeat the process until all the kale and tofu mixture has been used, or top of the pan is reached. Cap the pita with a final layer of phyllo dough and brush with oil.Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top of the phyllo begins to brown lightly. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving. Makes 12 servings.

I WISH I HAD PICTURES, no.... I WISH I HAD GREENS. (soon though, very soon)
P.S. Primary consumer, Racheal is welcome to drop off some of those lovely greens at my house.

2 comments:

primaryconsumer said...

Haha! I wish she could drop some greens off. You have no idea how much she brings home! Everytime I get overwhelmed I just have to stop, take a deep breath, and be thankful for all that we get. I do freeze greens but our freezer is getting to full! I'm going to try all of your suggestions.

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