Monday, April 4, 2011

Vegetable hegemony

We started getting organic fruits and vegetables delivered weekly, on our doorstep.

As a result, I am a slave to kale, to turnips, to potatoes. And to squash. Goddamned squash.

Still, the pressure of a boxful of produce that must be emptied before the next box arrives has its merits. For instance, I’ve made a new acquaintance: collard greens. I’ve also been cooking at home an awful lot more—and rather healthily, I might add.

But while I’m loving the front door box, I still have sweat on my brow. Sure, today is only Monday and the new box doesn’t arrive until Friday. But do you have any idea have what we haven’t used yet? Oranges, apples, kiwis, watercress, arugula, turnips, yams… It’s really a lot. And I’ve got to be creative.

And tonight, I did get creative with those collard greens. It’s a saucy, fragrant and filling dish, and it was a snap to make.

Now, I’m going to be quite wishy-washy with this recipe. Partly because I very loosely based it on a recipe in Simply in Season and didn’t take notes on my changes, and partly—as you can see in the background of this photo—because I was having Bourbon at the time (and I’m having more now…which also helps to explain my lack of commitment to detail)

Collards and tomato in peanut sauce

(Enough for two, adapted from the Mennonite Central Committee’s Simply in Season)

In a sauté pan, heat sunflower oil on medium-low heat, and gently sauté half a chopped onion. When the onions are well on their way to translucence, add one or two cloves of minced garlic. Continue to sauté until fragrant.

Now, add a tomato, which you’ve chopped into large chunks. Stir occasionally, and cook for a few minutes, until the tomato skin is just starting to curl from the heat.

Now add spices. Combine any or all of the following: ground coriander, ground cumin, a pinch of ground clove, maybe some turmeric – adding up to about 1 teaspoon or so. Salt to taste, and cook for an additional two minutes.

Now it's time for the collards. A bunch of six or seven leaves should do it. Discard the tough part of the stem, and roughly chop the leaves. Add to the hot pan, with a small splash of water. Cover, and let the greens gently steam until bright green and wilted. You will want to lift the lid and stir occasionally.

Just before serving, add about three tablespoons of peanut butter, which you’ve mixed with a splash of hot water. Stir until it has dissolved into a nice, creamy sauce that coats the vegetables.

Serve on rice, polenta, or, as I have, on barley.

You’ll notice I’ve got a few shrimp in mine, on that picture up there. That was completely unnecessary. I think the Bourbon made me do it. Don’t do it, it adds nothing.

Though, I bet it would welcome grilled chicken on the side.