Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Rain and Collard Greens

Spring Rain
by Sara Teasdale, an American lyric poet
(August 8, 1884 – January 29, 1933)

I thought I had forgotten,
But it all came back again
To-night with the first spring thunder
In a rush of rain.

I remembered a darkened doorway
Where we stood while the storm swept by,
Thunder gripping the earth
And lightning scrawled on the sky.

The passing motor buses swayed,
For the street was a river of rain,
Lashed into little golden waves
In the lamp light's stain.

With the wild spring rain and thunder
My heart was wild and gay;
Your eyes said more to me that night
Than your lips would ever say. . . .

I thought I had forgotten,
But it all came back again
To-night with the first spring thunder
In a rush of rain.

Collard Greens are a staple of Southern cuisine. Widely considered to be a healthy food, collards are good sources of vitamin C and soluble fiber, and contain multiple nutrients with potent anticancer properties. Collard greens are also a high source of vitamin K (the clotting vitamin).
Collard greens are vegetables that are members of the cabbage family, but are also close relatives to kale. Although they are available year-round, they are at their best from January through April.

In the Southern states, a large quantity of greens to serve a family is commonly referred to as a "mess o' greens." The exact quantity that constitutes a "mess" varies with the size of the family.

The traditional way to cook greens is to boil or simmer slowly with a piece of salt pork or ham hock for a long time (this tempers their tough texture and smooths out their bitter flavor) until they are very soft. Typically, greens are served with freshly baked corn bread. 

In spite of what some consider their unpleasant smell, reaction to the smell of cooking greens separates true southern eaters from wannabes.

According to folklore, collards served with black-eyed peas and hog jowl on New Year's Day promises a year of good luck and financial reward, hanging a fresh leaf over your door will ward off evil spirits, and a fresh leaf placed on the forehead promises to cure a headache.

Collard Greens are frequently paired with bacon, another popular southern favorite.
This is an easy recipe and makes a great side for the holiday dinner.

Bacon and Collard Greens
recipe adapted from Taste of Home Southern Favorites 2014
  • 2 lbs. collard greens
  • 4 thick slices of bacon
  • 1 cup sweet onions, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TB. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes or dashes of hot sauce
  • Trim thick stems from collard greens; coarsely chop leaves
  • In a Dutch oven saute bacon with onions and garlic until bacon is browned but not  crisp and onions tender
  • Drain any excess grease
  • Add in greens, stir fry until wilted about 5-6 minutes
  • Stir in remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer on low about 2 hours or until tender
  • Drain liquid before serving
  • optional adding in glazed walnuts

Laura is a food blogger from http://tideandthyme.com/
She lives on the Eastern shore of Maryland and takes advantage  of the abundance of local seafood and produce. She enjoys trying new recipes, being cognisant of advance menu planning and revitalizing leftovers.

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