As March has teased us with better weather, we hope for less wintry crops at the farmers’ market, but until later in April, you’ll have much of the same variety as the colder winter months. But don’t worry! That’s still a ton of variety. From now til the end of April, you might also find some winter crops on sale as farmers start to load in their summer offerings. Keep that in mind as your semester food budget dwindles.
The following meal (Meatless Greens with a side of Rye Toast) is a great urban green meal because it was sourced from a city farmers’ market with regional farmers, which makes the food local and in season, and it also avoids problematic conventional meat products.
In my latest trip to the Union Square Farmers’ Market in New York City, I bought an odd bunch of items, including collards, Amish pickles, organic rye bread with caraway seeds, onions and beets. These can come together to make a delicious and hearty meal that will make any exam period or essay infinitely more bearable.
The traditional southern ‘greens’ on which I grew up have a ton of meat and animal fats in them. My family preferred ham hock and bacon fat, which is actually as fat as you can get with a vegetable-based meal. So I experimented with a way to have the greens I love so much without all the saturated fats, and I came up with the below recipe. It involves red wine, so your friends should have no problem indulging.
Christine Johnson writes about Urban Green Foods for Big Girls Small Kitchen. She is a senior at NYU passionate about urban and community agriculture, sustainability and cooking delicious, responsible meals!
Meatless Greens and a Side of Toasted Rye Bread with Carraway Seeds
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup of red wine
2 bunches of Collard greens, washed and coarsely chopped
2 cups of water
1 large clove of garlic, smashed
1 can of vegetable broth
5 asparagus spears, chopped
Salt, Pepper and Cumin to taste
1 loaf of rye bread with caraway seeds, sliced
Butter or margarine
Add the chopped onion to a large pot and sauté in the red wine on low heat until the onions have sucked up most of the color.
Add the greens in and about 2 cups of water. Make sure not immerse them because you will add broth and the greens will create their own juice. Bring to a boil and add the smashed clove of garlic. Add about half of the spices you intend to put in (any extra spices will do, but salt and pepper are a must).
When the greens mixtures boils, add in half of the vegetable broth, turn down the heat and let simmer for about half an hour. Stir occasionally and continue to add spices to taste.
Add the chopped asparagus, and continue to simmer until the greens are thoroughly cooked and at consistency you like! Don’t let all the liquid evaporate. The total cooking time is just under an hour.
When it’s done, eat with some toasted rye bread to soak up the juices. This recipe should last you the school week or feed yourself and a few friends. The greens will pair well the red wine you used to sauté the onions.