Thursday, June 11, 2009

Making Collards Taste Great! Plus, a link

A friend of mine linked to this article about making your brown-bag lunches more appealing. Great ideas. 

Last night, we were supposed to go to a baseball game in DC. But we found out that traffic would be appalling in the aftermath of the shootings downtown, plus we assumed that the Metro would be awful due to people avoiding the traffic, and it was also supposed to rain. So we stayed home. 

Unfortunately, this meant that I did not have anything ready to cook for dinner, as most frozen meals need at least some thaw time before you can eat them. I quickly rummaged through what I had and found that the Firecracker Chicken Quesadillas could be cooked from frozen, so score! I also decided that it might be a nice chance to make up some collards since we got a bunch from our CSA.

Two Quesadillas, as expected, fed the three of us quite well, especially with the greens on the side. And everyone loved them. There was just nothing bad about them at all--a clear winner yet again from Dinner Zen.

As for the greens, my friend Liz had given me a recipe that I love. Actually, I completely left out the vinegar and they were still awesome, though I do recall them being better according to the original recipe. This does contain bacon, though you can replace with veggie bacon if you want, or turkey bacon, or, I suppose, Bacon Salt

1 bunch of collard greens, stripped of their hard stems, washed, and chopped coarsely
4 slices of cooked bacon
1 medium onion (I actually used spring onions with their tops because I had them)
1 T wine vinegar (red or white or raspberry or whatever you have)
2 T maple syrup

Spray bottom of a fairly large pot with cooking spray, and cook onions on medium until they are soft. Add greens and about 1/2 to 1 cup of water, and bacon. Cover tightly and cook on medium for about 1/2 hour.  Taste greens to make sure they are soft enough, if not continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Remove from pot, draining any remaining water. Stir in vinegar and maple syrup and serve.

The thing about collards is that they really need a long time to cook in order to taste really yummy. But you can slightly undercook them (as we have done here) and add some yum to them by adding in the syrup and vinegar. I think that, with the bacon and the vinegar and sugar mixed in, you get a really cool blend of different tastes that hit all of your taste buds. The greens are a bit bitter, plus you get sweet, sour, and salty too. They were a big hit. My son didn't eat them, but hey, they are new to him so we'll give him a few more tries. 

Oh and we're down to a quart and a half of strawberries. I forsee the 1/2 quart disappearing by the time we go to sleep tonight, and I double forsee a strawberry smoothie in my future.

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