The Greenest Wrap

One of my favorite ways to eat more greens is to use them in place of bread or crackers.  Nothing against burger buns or sandwich bread but you can skip the processed wheat and grab a bunch of crispy Romaine or collard greens instead.  I use Romaine lettuce like a taco shell- fill it up with whatever you like- sliced avocado, tomato, homemade mayo and bacon for a healthier B.L.T.   Bibb lettuce is soft, flexible and makes for a great little wrap.  Want to eat that salad with your hands?  Wrap it up in the biggest lettuce leaves from the outside of the bunch.  Look at you, doubling down on your veggies!lettuce leaf B.L.T.

Using large collard leaves makes for a sturdier wrap that can hold such awesome summer foods as cheese burgers or the ultimate sunny seed hummus wrap.  You can use the leaves raw or lightly steamed — these are best for hot foods or for bigger wraps.  The folding is easy and unlike regular wraps, these stay sealed. The only prep work you need to do is to carefully trim them rough stems.

Cut the end of the stem off and then lay the collard leaf flat and slice off the rough stem that sticks up, so that the leaf is flat and entirely flexible, like in this photo from MindBodyGreen.com’s tutorial on how to use collards like a wrap!

MindBodyGreen.com collard trimming for wraps

Don’t worry if you tear the collard leaf a bit, you’ll get the hang of the stem trimming and can fold around any small tear.

If you want to steam your collard leaves so that they are more flexible and easier to use and eat, there are a few methods that work well.  This video from Plant Powered Kitchen.com has my favorite technique for when you just want to make up a few wraps.  Get some water boiling in your kettle and open the spout so you’ve got a nice stream of steam coming up.  Hold your raw collard leaf by the stem and wave it over the spout of steam, lightly steaming the whole leaf until it’s bight green and soft enough to fold.  Then trim off the stem as described above.  Repeat until you have enough wraps.

Or, follow the quick blanch method I found on Mind Body Green.com– bring a wide shallow pan of water to a simmer.  Take your de-stemmed collard leaves and give them a 10 second dunk in the pan, one at a time, using tongs to get the collard leaves in and then out and into an ice bath.  Dry in layers using tea towels. Once you’ve got all your wraps ready, fill as desired!

The wrapping part is easy, and there are a number of ways to do it, but this photo tutorial from Honest Fare.com is easy to follow:

HonestFare.com collard wrap- wrap up in 4 photos

Add your filling to the center of one or two overlapping leaves.  Fold the sides in to contain the filling.  Then, starting at one long end, roll the leaf over the filling and keep rolling, making sure the ends stay tucked in. Slice in half and enjoy!

bareburger collard wrap                                                  Above, a collard wrapped Bareburger – it’s as good as it looks!

Perfect for Brunch: Kale and Goat Cheese Fritatta Cups

The link below is to the original recipe on TheKitchn, I copied it as is, I didn’t need to change a thing!  And I will be making these for the next big group brunch, they are perfect for sharing : – )

Photo credit: Megan Gordon

Photo credit: Megan Gordon

Kale and Goat Cheese Fritatta Cups 
I always use lacinato kale for this recipe, but you could really use any leafy green you’d like. And since you’ll have kale stems leftover, why not reserve them for a stir fry later in the evening?

Makes 8 individual cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Procedure:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. To get 2 cups kale, remove the leaves from the kale ribs. Wash and dry the leaves and cut them into 1/2-inch-wide strips.
  2. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, cook the garlic in 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add the kale and red pepper flakes and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the salt and pepper. Add the kale and thyme to the egg mixture.
  4. Using a 12-cup muffin tin, use the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to grease 8 of the cups (you may also use butter if you’d prefer). Sprinkle the tops with goat cheese. Bake until they are set in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. Frittata is best eaten warm from the oven or within the next day, but leftovers can be kept refrigerated and reheated for up to a week.

Osso Bucco with Carrots, Cabbage and Onion

Pork and cabbage, how much more New England can dinner get?

This was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be when I asked James about the pork shanks in the case at The Meat Market.  I had not planned on making osso bucco for dinner (it sounds a bit intimidating, right?!) but accidentally defrosted this instead of the pork chops I’d bought at the same time!  As with many of my culinary discoveries, I was hungry and had to work with what was on hand.  I’m glad I did, osso bucco made with pork shanks is amazingly delicious and easy, it just takes some time.

At 5:30 in the evening I heated up my smaller cast iron skillet, lightly oiled and browned each side of the pork shank for a minute or two.  Then I added a couple frozen cubs of homemade stock (from our Thanksgiving turkey, still giving!) and a healthy 1/2 cup of red wine along with some carrots and onion slices.  I put the top from our creuset (any oven safe lid will do) and put the whole thing in the oven.  I set the oven to 300 and the timer for an hour.

At one hour the meat was thoroughly cooked but not falling apart.  Another hour and it was perfect, the sauce had reduced, the veggies were cooked and the meat was super tender, no knives necessary.

About 10 minutes before the skillet came out of the oven I chopped a bit of onion and sautéed it in butter with cumin and salt.  Added some shredded cabbage and cook it til it was wilted.

Next time, we'll definitely need one for each of us!

The cooked cabbage went into the cast iron pan with the reduced stock/wine/pork juices after we served the osso bucco and the veggies.  It wasn’t a ‘quick meal’ but it really didn’t take much time or effort in the kitchen.  And it was super flavorful, a great meal to make if you want to impress and a have a few hours before you want to eat!