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Collard Greens

Collards, also known as collard greens, are a member of the cabbage family. Collard greens have always enjoyed grand popularity in the southern states and lately it's popularity has grown throughout the nation. Collards grow from a main stalk with leaves that grow outward on inedible stems.

Collards store better than most greens. Wrap unwashed leaves in moist paper towels and place in sealed plastic bag. They will stay fresh for 4-5 days in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. When ready to use wash thoroughly. Greens tend to have dirt and grit clinging to the leaves. Swish through several changes of cold water.

The bitter flavor of cooked collards is enhanced when served with vinegar. Flavored vinegar such as chili vinegar or the vinegar from pickled peppers is especially good. Also use onions, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and crushed red pepper to season collards.

How to Cook Collard Greens Quickly

Greens Pastitsio

Greens Pastitsio
yield: 4-6 servings

Notes: Rich and flavorful sauces balance the heartier whole-wheat pasta. Good choices for the greens include collard, kale, and spinach.

Ingredients:
8 ounces dry whole wheat penne pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 dash ground nutmeg
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 bunch greens, about 1 1/2 cups stemmed and chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups thick tomato pasta sauce of your choice - with or without meat

Method:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pan, immediately adding olive oil, parmesan cheese, and nutmeg. Toss to coat. Add egg and toss again.
2. Melt butter in medium saucepan. Over medium heat, saute onions, garlic and greens until well-cooked and soft, stirring frequently. When vegetables are done, add flour to pan and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add milk, stirring constantly and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Cool slightly then and add spices, salt and egg, mixing well. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Coat an 8 inch square pan or oval casserole with cooking spray. Spread half of the cooked penne pasta evenly over the bottom of the pan and top with the tomato pasta sauce. Spread remaining penne over the top of that and then pour on the cream sauce, spreading to cover all of the pasta.
4. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Cut into squares to serve.

Source: CSA Member J. Fenner