Curiosity and Greens

I am a curious lad, in a good way. I am wanting to learn as much as I can about things. My most recent adventure was Greens, Collard Greens. For those from outside our area, or over seas, Yes I see our Ireland readers, Greens are the cooked leafy parts of several types of plants. Collards, Dandelion, Spinach, Beet etc. I set out to learn what I cook and “cook me up a mess of greens”.

Growing up in Wisconsin, the closest I ever came to greens was Wilted Lettuce Salad. Not really the same, but go with your experience. Greens have always been one of those, “Okay,   I   Will  Try  It ” dishes. They just kind of cling together in a bitter mass of green vegetation. I know now, whoever cooked those, did not know what they were doing.

I stopped by the grocery store to get vegetables to steam, and there were the collards nicely arranged in bunches. You know those suitcase sized plastic bags in the produce area, they are not for oranges. Those are collard bags. My bunch filled the bag and stuck out the top. I am going to cook collards it seemed to announce as I walked to the cashier. I guess I don’t buy them enough, because the cashier commented on my purchases. “Just making dinner”, I replied. I proudly strolled out to my car and headed to the kitchen.

I had been researching a recipe for my greens and settled on one that relied on a stock base for the Potlikker.   Recipe. The recipe comes from a webpage entitle the Blond Cook. I will say, that since Greens have been a traditional food in the south, going to a webpage called Blond Cook initially gave me a pause. I like the recipe because it used stock, and salt pork, two of the things I had on hand in my kitchen. That is where the spatula meets the griddle, use what you have.

I poured the carton of vegetable stock and a quart of water, along with a handful of coarsely chopped salt pork in my large stock pot. As it came to a boil, I stripped the leaves from the stems and washed them off. Rolling them into a bundle, I cut the leaves into strips. These I dumped into the stock pot.

I knew I needed to cook outside, so I set up a Coleman camp stove and set the flame to keep a simmer going. I set my Iphone for 2 hours and sat on the porch and waited. As I waited, I read on the old culinary traditions of the south. I was fascinated with things I never knew I did not know. I guess it was simple for me to just look as a dish and see just what it might taste like, and miss the time and effort that went into the dish. There is an adage that has been around forever. “I can never get it to taste like my mom’s dish”. Maybe it was the gap between just following the instruction and actually cooking.

My phone signals the end of the time for cooking. I can tell you, my porch is smelling good. I take the pot to the kitchen and scoop out two small containers of greens and then add Potlikker to the storage containers, and in the third, I pour off the rest of the juice. I have a sizable heap on my plate, that combined with my hamburger makes dinner.

My greens make me want more. Dinner tomorrow is going to be fine. If you have a greens recipe you like, or any southern recipe, send them to editor@pantagraph.online



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