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Still Wild About Greens

September 25, 2012

I swear, Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas is the most useful cookbook I’ve ever owned.  Find yourself impulsively buying greens, regardless of whether you know how to cook them?  No?  You don’t do that?  I don’t believe you.  Anyway, if you do end up doing such a thing, all you have to do is look up the green in this book and all of the recipes utilizing it are listed right there.  Magnificent.  Greens often end up in my house this way.  For example, I saw some escarole at the local market a while back and had absolutely no idea how to cook it, having never eaten it or even seen it before.  That naturally didn’t stop me from snatching it up.  Good thing, too.

Because then I wouldn’t have gotten to eat this pasta with escarole and two beans!  The fact that I didn’t have half of the ingredients didn’t stop me either.  I was just chatting with a co-worker today about how, when we first started cooking, we would never have thought to change a recipe around.  Not have all the ingredients or not like one of them?  Guess I wasn’t making it then.  I’m so glad I know better now.  Regardless of the fact that I didn’t have one of the types of beans this called for, I did have two different types of beans in my cabinet (cannelini and garbanzo!), so in they went.  It also called for sun dried tomatoes, but I didn’t have any of those.  Luckily, I had bought a lovely little package of local heirloom cherry tomato varieties, so I substituted those.  No harm, no foul.  They actually made it even lovelier than it would have been, with all their different colors and sizes.

Nava says that escarole is kind of like a really hearty romaine lettuce, and that’s a good way of putting it.  It had a really mild flavor, with no trace of the bitterness that occurs in many types of other greens.  Also, the stem is edible, so you don’t need to do all that extra work of tearing the leaves off and discarding those woody stems, like with kale or collards.  I love greens with edible stems (I’m looking at you,  beet greens and swiss chard!); they make me feel much less wasteful.

I also added a squeeze of lemon juice at the end, because I feel like anything involving tomatoes and fresh basil is enhanced by a little tang of lemony flavor.  So simple, so tasty.  My kind of meal.

Another day in the recent past, I stumbled across a package of arugula that was on sale, thus meaning that it was doomed to expire soon.  To the greens book!  The boyfriend is not a fan of arugula, so I knew that this creation would be all me.  And since I can’t stop making soup, I did that again.

This curry arugula soup with chickpeas was not my favorite recipe from the book thus far.  Granted, all the recipes I’ve made have been incredibly simple with fresh, but not complex flavor profiles.  And I sort of blame the fact that I’ve been learning to cook curries, like real curries, from whole spices, so the last of my store-bought curry powder is tasting a bit lackluster for me lately.  Still, it wasn’t bad, just not too exciting.  That doesn’t sound like a glowing endorsement, I guess…  I also think I would have loved it more if I had had help eating on it.  If something doesn’t knock your socks off in the beginning, the fact that you then eat it for lunches and dinner for a few days in a row just makes you resent it.  I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t like to throw out food just because it’s a little boring, and then just heaves a sigh when I still have three servings left of it.

Anyway.  I loved the arugula in it, which was the point.  I absolutely will make this again, but using whole spices instead of curry powder (like I did with my old pal Curried Cabbage and Peas).

Today my CSA had mustard greens, which I threw away the last time I tried to cook them because they tasted so horrible, so I’m going to be leafing through the book again when I get home!

Local: escarole, tomatoes, carrots, basil, garlic

11 Comments leave one →
  1. lazysmurf permalink
    October 2, 2012 4:14 pm

    I officially want that cookbook now!

  2. October 2, 2012 5:01 pm

    Hehe, I haven’t quite bought greens I don’t know what to do with, although I do sometimes receive an ABUNDANCE in my CSA that I have to make quick work of. Greens don’t last forever, as you well know. Thanks for the cookbook tip.

    PS: I have missed your blog. September kind of sucked for me for a lot of reasons and I didn’t blog (or read anyone else) for 3 weeks. So glad MoFo kicked my butt back in gear. Love!

    • October 3, 2012 10:56 pm

      CSA greens are killing me right now! I’m actually about to give away 2 huge grocery bags full of mustard greens because even that book can’t make me love them, sad to say. And thank you! I’m sorry your September sucked, but hopefully your October will be much more awesome.

      • October 4, 2012 11:26 pm

        Ah!! Love it! My CSA greens are eating me alive as well. Right now I have arugula, young early fall lettuce, GIANT-ASS COLLARDS, three bunches of parsley, and two bunches of kale stuffing my drawers. Oops, that sounded a little dirty. You know what I mean. CRAZY!

        October is not off the the best of starts, but hopefully it will improve. It has to – it’s my favorite month!

  3. October 3, 2012 10:19 pm

    I LOVE this book! It’s one of my favorites. And I totally do that–so many greens in the fridge and I always end up making kale salad!! 😉

    • October 3, 2012 10:55 pm

      Kale salad is my favorite! I thought I had tried them all, but that book had new recipes for my happy tummy, of course. Love it!

  4. October 5, 2012 11:56 am

    It really is such a fabulous collection of recipes! I’m a serial produce over-purchaser, and it’s always the greens that are first to go. I wasted so many perfectly good leafy options before I had this cookbook as a reference.

  5. veggieterrain permalink
    October 8, 2012 4:48 am

    Oh boy! That cookbook has been on my amazon wishlist/library hold list for ages! Now I’m gonna have to suck it up and buy it. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  6. Mari permalink
    October 8, 2012 8:35 am

    I bought this cookbook but still have yet to make anything from it. Will have to try something out now!

  7. csuphoto permalink
    October 11, 2012 7:01 pm

    I just ordered it. Thanks for the tip.

    • October 12, 2012 11:02 am

      You’re welcome, and I hope you like it. If you ever want more info on my favorite cookbooks for incorporating vegan food into your diet, get ahold of me!

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