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Oct 11, 2012 11:35 AM

What do you do with winter greens?

Our CSA is in full swing with winter greens (we're in AZ). We will be getting peppery arugula, baby mustards, collards, mizuna, purple mustards, and kale. I'm curious what you do with your greens. I'd like some new ideas this fall/winter. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Kale or Collards: Slice into julienne strips and saute in olive oil with garlic, onion, pre-cooked and diced potatoes and lot of herbs. Delicious.

    Cut into strips or squares and add to fall vegetable soups instead of cabbage. You can also use blanched collard leaves instead of cabbage when making cabbage rolls.

    And don't forget, they are also great just cooked on their own as a side dish.

    10 Replies
    1. re: MmmDatGood

      Great ideas! I'll try the collards with potatoes tonight! Are red potatoes ok?

      I've thought about adding to soups before. I never do because I'm concerned that the bitterness or peppery-ness of the greens will make the soup too bitter or peppery for the rest of the family. Have you ever ruined a soup by adding greens?

      1. re: pagesinthesun

        I often use kale in soups, and it only improves it! Never a bit of bitterness. Just a few minutes right at the end.. don't boil them down to nothing.

        Now, I don't think I'd dare to try that with collards, but I'm happy doing the bacon, onion and vinegar thing with them.

        1. re: pagesinthesun

          I would encourage you to try everything raw to gauge the bitterness first. The greens I get from my CSA now are much different tasting than those in Spring even though it's the same things. Cold weather and freezing makes them sweet vs. bitter, but perhaps that does not apply in AZ!
          Longer cooking times tend to tone down or eliminate bitterness, but not every type of green will hold up to that. Collards, big varieties of Kale and mustard are all long cooked soup friendly, IME. I also don't think any residual bitterness would confer itself to the soup broth, so if you've got green haters they should do OK with just picking them out. OTOH, adding a handful of a more tender green to your individual bowls of soup at the last minute would be an option, too.

          1. re: splatgirl

            My most difficult green to use over the years has been the arugula. It is so peppery and bitter. The farm grows it full size (not tender baby arugula) It is usually too peppery and bitter to eat raw, even for me. I've even thought about making a pesto with it, but again, afraid to use up expensive ingredients to end up with something inedible. Maybe I should just give it a try and see how it turns out.

            1. re: pagesinthesun

              Doesn't it seem like arugula is the beet or cilantro of the greens world--people either love or hate it. For me the more bite, the better. Pish to baby arugula--not enough flavor or texture to make it worth my while. You could try blanching it first for pesto to see if that takes away some of the bitter. I always do that anyway to keep from turning black.
              Have you tried it with a creamy dressing? Watermelon is another good pairing to offset the bitterness.

              1. re: splatgirl

                That just reminded me of a great sandwich - arugula, quick pickled beets with red onions and goat cheese.

                1. re: jammy

                  Yum! I do love arugula...there isn't a veggie that I don't love. It's just this specific arugula...I don't know?! I have talked with other friends who get veggies from the same CSA, some LOVE it and some feel the same as I do. I wish I had a chicken coop, then I would know what to do with the arugula ;)

                  1. re: pagesinthesun

                    I know what you mean about arugula--what sprouted in my garden over the summer was far too spicy for me, but now that it is fall, I am in love again. I like arugula pesto much more than basil pesto, and this recipe from Jack Bishop, the only one I've even needed, may be enough to tame the heat because of the pecans and nutmeg:
                    I am also a fan of kale salads, but when it gets cold out I make a stew with kale, sausage (veggie in my case), and tortellini that is based on this recipe:

                    1. re: valadelphia

                      I love both recipes! Thanks for taking the time to recommend them to me. I think I'll give the pesto a whirl and see how it turns out. The reviews on tthe scratch holidays blog convinced me. As for the soup, my family will LOVE it! It's on my winter menu without even tasting it! Thanks again!

        2. re: MmmDatGood

          For collards, I do something similar. I slice into julienne strips, and saute in olive oil with garlic and pre-cooked onion. Then I add a bit of water, as well as a bit of fig jam (other jam would work if you don't have fig). Sometimes I add a little bit of vinegar too. I have never added potatoes, but I like that idea!

        3. A great way to use up A TON of winter greens is this recipe for braising them with country-style ribs: Read down, you will see variations and elaborations. For my crowd, a minimum of one bunch of greens per person (plus a bunch of scallions per each two people) is mandatory.
          If any of them seem bitter to you, they can be vastly improved by blanching them in huge pot of boiling water for 2 or 3 minutes before proceeding with your recipe.
          Many greens preps benefit greatly from a bit of acid stirred in at the end: lemon juice, vinegar, etc.
          Last night I made creamed kale (as you would make creamed spinach) and that was fantastic. I blanched the kale first.
          They are all good stirred into pasta sauce too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: GretchenS

            Sounds like a great Sunday dinner! I will make this recipe for sure!! Thanks

          2. I ADORE greens of any type.
            I would never cook with mizuna or arugula (well, technically I do use arugula as a pizza topping). In my book those are strictly salad greens but ymmv. I love them both in any incarnation of salad, but this time of year pears, beets and squash are my go-to pairings. With blue or goat cheese and a nut of some sort, salad bliss. Apples are another good hot or cold pairing with greens. Beef, arugula and blue cheese is a no brainer.
            Baby mustard could go both ways. If you don't like it in salads, it goes well cooked with cheese and potato anything. Try it raw first and see what you think. It varies a lot by variety and growing conditions.
            Kale: julienned and marinated raw as a salad depending on the variety. Baked kale chips. Also good sauteed/braised and added to a fritatta or pasta dish. I could eat pasta with Italian sausage, sauteed onions and greens every other night. I usually just make a quick pan sauce by deglazing and maybe adding a bit of balsamic or whatever and then a drizzle of evoo and some parm.
            Same for adult mustard.
            Collards--just ate a huge pile for dinner last night with cornbread. Braised with some bacon, ham is good, too.
            Kale and collards, depending on your desire for chewy vs. not, can be done either as a quick saute or a longer saute+braise. I would stem both but there are some varieties of kale that have thinner more edible stems.
            Chard, if you've got it takes less cooking but has more edible stems. I usually start the chopped stems a couple of minutes in advance and then add the leafy bits. Again, in fritatta or pasta, yum.

            1. Joe Beef's "Kale for a Hangover" recipe:


              It's so good you'll want to keep it all for yourself.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jammy

                Any recipe with bacon and topped with a fried egg is a winner in my book!

              2. Greens are a great complement to sweet potatoes. Two winters ago I discovered a recipe online for a sort of galette with thinly sliced sweet potato rounds, sauteed greens, and goat cheese. That was delicious, and started me on a round of variations, of which one of the most successful was a gratin with regular and sweet potatoes, onions, and sauteed greens.

                I also make a batch of kale and potato soup (nice simple recipe in Alice Waters' Art of Simple Cooking) about every other week in the winter; that uses up a big bunch.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ellabee

                  Sweet potatoes! I have been getting those from my CSA, as well. I love goat cheese! I'll have to try the galette. Do you use a mandoline to thinly slice the sweet potatoes?

                  1. re: pagesinthesun

                    No mandoline here, but if I were going to get one this would be the dish to justify it. Sweet potatoes are one of the stiffer, tougher veg's to slice.