Growing up, my grandmother would beat my greens into submission. Sitting in a big pot on the stove, they would simmer all afternoon in bacon fat, spiced to the max. By the time they were ready to eat, I was looking at a heart attack on a plate. This lovingly described “mess of greens” looked unlike anything that had grown in a field. How could something so beautiful end up, well, brown? I don’t mean to be so simplistic, but as child I was a tad confused.
At the age of seventeen, I was turned on to the world of healthy cooking by my friend Malina, who is a macrobiotic chef. Over the years, I had been cooking and munching my way through life, and my weight was out of control. Although I am not macrobiotic, Malina’s ideas were down to earth, and inspired me to live a healthier lifestyle. For the first time in my life, I enjoyed the honest and delicate flavor of vegetables. Sitting down at the dinner table became a thoughtful way to nourish my body and soul.
Over the years, I have brought my favorite soul food recipes up to date with a healthy twist. Simplicity is key. Have you ever noticed how onions and garlic sauteed slowly on low heat have a heavenly sweetness, but if you cook them fast on high heat, they are bitter? I don’t mean to sound airy fairy, but if you cook slowly and with love, you will be rewarded at the dinner table. I shall now get off my soapbox and share the recipe.
2 bunches collard greens rinsed throughly
1/4 cup onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
juice of half a lemon
sea salt to taste
1. Take the collard leaves and slice the thick veins from the center of each leaf and discard. Fold each leaf in half and slice the length of the leaf, then chop across the width of the leaf into small bite size squares. Set aside.
2. On low heat, saute the onions until translucent, then add the garlic, cooking until soft.
3. Add the red pepper flakes and collards. Stir to incorporate the greens with the onion and garlic. For juicier greens, add a 1/4 cup of water, stir and cover for 20 minutes. If you like softer greens, cook an additional 5 minutes.
4. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt. Serve.
I would like to start off this week by thanking Genie Gratto, the Food Editor of BlogHer, for featuring Food For Vitality. Genie, you have no idea how grateful I am for your support! I cook, write, and take photos for the pure love of it all,...
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