Comfort Food: Goat Cheese Greens

Greens chopped into fettuccine sized slices.

The idea here is to use a whole bunch of greens, sliced into fat ribbons, and then combine them with some creamy, cheesy goodness for a dish that’s similar to mac n cheese but with way more nutrients, minerals, vitamins, fiber, good fats and all that other stuff your body gets from green food!  I used to love cooking pasta and dressing it up with olive oil, grated cheese, hot pepper flakes and lots of garlic.  In retrospect, the pasta was just a vehicle for the seasonings and cheese so why not replace it with the one food most missing from American diets?  Why not indeed!

Ingredients:

A big bunch of sturdy greens like collards or the leaves from your broccoli, romanesco or brussels sprouts plants.   Strip the leaves from the stems, stack the leaves and slice into fettuccine sized ribbons.

Olive oil, enough to saute all your greens

a clove or three of mashed or minced garlic

and any or all of these flavorful, medicinal seasonings: hot peppers, fennel, garlic salt, sea salt, black pepper, paprika smokey or hot, all to taste

Fresh goat cheese, get it local at Berkshire Organics or the Berkshire Co-op Market

So happy to have time to cook more and relax more after a very busy three weeks.

Procedure: 

Heat the olive oil in your cast iron skillet on medium heat, add your garlic and any whole spices you are using like the hot pepper flakes and the fennel seeds.

Before the garlic starts to brown, add in all your pretty green ribbons and saute til wilted and cooked through.

Add salt to taste and any powdered spices you are using, like paprika.

When the greens are cooked to your liking and you’ve adjusted the seasonings, serve the greens and top with as much goat cheese as you like.  Mix it well, it will melt instantly on the hot greens and make a creamy sauce, kinda like mac n cheese but with out the gluey macaroni and unsettling powdered ‘cheese’.  Top with some hot sauce or sriracha if you need extra heat.  Isn’t it comforting to know that your comfort food is really nourishing?

Comfort food can be green and good for you too!

Comfort Food: Leeks, Eggs and Bacon

Lovely leeks from my dad's garden last summer!

I just got back from a week in New York City, lots of walking and dancing and not nearly enough sleep.  Today I kinda feel like I have a travel hangover and I know just what I want need….comfort food!

I started with the last of the leeks from my dad’s garden last summer and some fat I trimmed off of a piece of pork.  I sliced the leeks thinly and added them, about 3-4 cups raw, to my cast iron skillet with about 1 Tablespoon pork fat and 2 Tablespoons butter.  I salted the leeks lightly and turned the heat to medium.

Cooking the leeks in pork fat trimmings and butter, guaranteed to be delicious.

I stirred occasionally, letting the leeks cook down and get a little bit browned.  While the leeks cooked I started a few pieces of thick cut bacon from a local farm in another skillet.  When the bacon was done I removed it from the pan and turned up the heat to fry a couple of eggs, also from a local farmer, in the bacon fat.

Eggs fried in bacon fat, leeks and of course, bacon, all locally grown and raised, a self-righteous meal if I've ever seen one!

And then I ate it, all of it, and it was freakin’ good. I know we don’t think of pork let alone bacon and lard as health foods but here’s a little fact to help you think differently:  pigs that graze in the forest on fallen fruits and acorns produce fat that’s actually healthy.  They turn the good fats in the acorns into good piggie fat, fat that’s full of omegas, very similar to the fat from nuts and seeds, imagine that!  I always buy local pork from farmers I trust.  This meat tastes amazing, is good for me and I know that animal was treated with respect, lived happily off the land and killed humanely.  I know this because I’ve talked with the farmer and visited the farm!

I don’t eat meat that often and when I do it’s usually because I need some strong, grounded energy.  This meal gave me exactly what I was looking for: green veggies, healthy, happy protein, plenty of energy and a full belly.  I don’t recommend eating this all the time but once in a while, it’s just right.