gmhTODAY 24 gmhTODAY Feb March 2019 - Page 80

Cathy Katavich Cathy's KITCHEN Cathy received her culinary training at CIA, Culinary Institute of America, at both Greystone (Napa) and Hyde Park, NY. She man- aged Research and Development for Gilroy Foods and in the past ten years she was involved in their frozen vegetable business, heading up Business Development, Sales and Marketing. Dark, Leafy Cooking Greens Dark leafy greens are a versatile cold-weather ingredient! While other produce fades away, they are bountiful well into the colder months. At this time of the year the grocery shelves are stocked with a huge variety of dark leafy greens. I have cooked with many of them, including chard, spinach, broccoli rabe and bok choy but have never cooked with collard, turnip, mustard greens or kale. These, apparently, are the scary greens, the ones shoppers think will be too strong, too aggressive and, most likely, bitter. In fact, I had to admit that I didn’t know much about “greens”, except that they are all considered superfoods, and that its mainly southerners who know how to cook them, especially collard greens! I am always in the mood for soups during the often overcast, cold and rainy days of February so I looked for soup recipes that highlighted use of these versatile, nutrient rich and deeply fl avored cold- weather ingredients. Commonly Available History Mild, tender quick-cooking greens include spinach, chard, bok choy and beet greens. More aggressive varieties are collards, turnip, broccoli rabe, mustard and dandelion greens. Kale is somewhere in between. Many cooking greens, including kale and collards are primitive, non-heading cabbages. This explains the Latin name Brassica oleracea, which means “with- out a head”. These greens probably descended from wild cabbages found in Asia before recorded history. The Greeks and Romans grew kale and collards in domestic gardens over 2000 years ago. The seeds eventually spread through Europe and Africa and traveled to the Americas by ship It wasn’t until the first Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in the early 1600s that America got its first taste of the dark green, leafy vegetable. Collard greens were one of a few vegetables that African-Americans could grow and harvest for themselves and their families throughout times of enslavement. Over the years, recipes were developed that made the greens taste fantastic and ultimately developed into a traditional food. Even after Emancipation, in the late 1800s, their love of greens continued, and their well-developed repertoire of greens recipes were handed down from one generation to the next. This kind of cooking eventually evolved into what we know today as Soul Food, or low braised greens with meat and legumes. Greens are also grown and eaten regularly in many countries across the world. In Brazil, the side dish couve Spinach, Chard, Beet Greens These greens are very close botanically. They cook quickly, are tender and relatively sweet and in most cases can be used interchangeably. Even though chard stems are thick, they are still use- ful in recipes. I like to remove the leaves from the stalk, then dice the stalk and cook it a few minutes before adding the leaves to a dish. Bok Choy and Choy Sum Bok Choy has fl eshy white stems and green leaves and is often used in stir fries. Choy Sum looks like a miniature Bok Choy and can be cooked whole. Collards These are huge, round, fl at leafed greens with a thick, inedible stalk. They can be assertive in fl avor, or milder than kale depending on variety. They do take longer to cook than the other greens, usually 15 to 20 minutes and are excellent in soups. 80 Kale Often used fresh in salads, but it’s most common use is as a cooked green. Its hearty fl avor is enjoyed in winter soups, and it pairs especially well with potatoes, beans and sausage. Kale stems are thick and tough, so be sure to remove before cooking, about 15 to 20 minutes. Kale has enjoyed fad status in recent years, but it’s more than a passing trend. Raw, it adds a pleasant bite to salad and can also be stewed, sautéed, or baked into addictively crispy chips. Mustard Greens Feisty, with a hot, mustardy fl avor. The leaves are tender and can be cooked briefl y to retain the spicy fl avor or can be cooked 20 minutes to soften the fl avor. The stems and ribs are usually tough and should be removed before cooking. Turnip Greens Very assertive tasting with a rough texture but can be delicious with a long cooking time. time. Delicious when combined with turnip roots in soups. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN february/march 2019