Nov 28, 2012

Green Tomato Salsa

I'm participating in the Arkansas Farmshare and in the last few weeks members been receiving green tomatoes.  What the heck is one to do with green tomatoes?  Yes, southerners, we can fry them.  But have you made green tomato salsa?

Thank you, culinary expert and friend HB, for giving me the courage to try it.  She made it first and let me taste.  She knows I hate to try a new recipe only to have it flop.  This one does not flop.  I promise.

1/2 pound green tomatoes, about 2-3
2 serrano peppers or 1 jalapeño pepper*, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
, heaping
1/2 teaspoon salt

squeeze of lime or lemon juice
optional: 1/2 teaspoon cumin

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse to combine and get juices flowing.  Blend on low speed until a coarse puree is formed.  Pour into a dish, taste and add more salt or lime if desired.  Salsa can be thinned with a bit of water if desired.

For a milder salsa, remove the pepper seeds or reduce the number of peppers.

*I still have jalapeño peppers growing in my raised garden!

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Nov 4, 2012

Tips for Tasty Greens {+ Recipe!}

Even though I've been on a real food journey for 8+ years, eating greens has only been a recent thing.  Because they are packed full of vitamins and minerals I know I should be eating them.  Fall is the time of year to snag you some...order on-line, even.

That said (being a newbie here), please feel free to leave comments or email me with your tips for tasty greens.

Here are a few of my tips for tasty greens:

1. Wash them thoroughly.
This will sound like a no brainer for some (but I like to skip steps when I can.  This is a step that I've learned not to skip. *crunch*)  Because greens are grown close to the ground and often in sandy soil, usually you'll find traces of dirt on the leaves - especially if you're buying them from a farmer.  A salad spinner is a great tool for rinsing greens quickly, effectively and efficiently.

2.  Remove woody stems.
Pictured below is kale, but the same method can be used with other greens.  Fold the leaf in half and slice out the stem.  You could use your hand for this, but I like using a knife.  It can be time consuming, especially if you're stemming a huge batch.  For those who are texture sensitive, this is a worthwhile step.

3.  Cut or shred leaves in small bites.
This tip came to me last year after I proudly presented a pot of greens to a friend who had lived in Africa for 20+ years.  Their family ate greens almost everyday.  After her first bite my friend said, in a kind way, "Most people keep their greens in big pieces.  Eating greens is all about the texture." Once I started to shred the leaves it made a HUGE TEXTURE DIFFERENCE. (Shredding could be defined as in 1/2 inch slices then also a cut perpendicular.)  After she gave me that tip, I've been shredding ever since - it does make a difference.

4. Use a healthy, traditional fat - Saute your greens in bacon grease (from pastured pork), coconut oil, ghee, or butter.  As was hammered home to me last year at the WAPF conference, our bodies need healthy fat to assimilate vitamins and minerals.  If you're going through the motions to eat something healthy, be sure that your body can absorb these minerals - eat fat with every meal.  Plus, fat just tastes good!

5. Add salt, pepper and other spices of choice.
Don't be afraid to experiment with the flava!  I have a spice bottle of something like Ms. Dash (21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe's) that I like to add to my greens.  Also, if there is extra broth in my refrigerator, I have added a few tablespoons to the pan for flavor and moisture - not necessary but yumm-o.

6. Boil in salted water for a few minutes.
The recipe below calls for this method.  But as I mentioned above, I like to skip steps so I usually just saute my greens for a bit longer and they turn out just fine.

My husband's birthday was this weekend so we tried this recipe and loved it.  The coconut milk is not too pronounced.  Very delicious, actually.

Braised Greens in Coconut milk
compliments of Katie Short of Farm Girl Natural Foods

- 2 lbs cooking greens, stemmed and rough chopped
- 2 tbl olive oil (or bacon grease)
- 1 small onion, thinly chopped
- ¾ c coconut milk
- 1 tbl lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add greens and cook 2 mins; drain well and set aside
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent, 5-7 mins. Add reserved greens, coconut milk and lemon juice, stir well and simmer until tender, 5-7 minutes more. Salt and pepper to taste.

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