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Are You Green to Greens?

By Mark Mulcahy

We all read about how great organic greens are for us. They contain nearly all of our essential nutrients such antioxidants, iron, calcium, potassium, iron and fiber and yet many of us still don’t eat enough of these. That’s what inspired me to teach a class about fresh greens and their many uses. My goal was to make eating greens easier to understand, easier to prepare and more enjoyable.

I started out the class by having the folks who attended taste raw lacinato kale, aka Dinosaur or Tuscan Kale. I asked what they thought of the texture and taste, and then I passed around the same kale that had been lightly steamed. Do you like one over the other I asked? Interestingly enough some folks were curious how to steam greens (something I take for granted). After all, this was a simple solutions class, so my seminar partner and I showed them our quick easy method and moved to the next green. A raw taste of red Russian kale, (a beautiful purple kale that would be a complement in any flower bouquet) they couldn’t believe how sweet this kale could be, and then again, we steamed it and passed it around. We proceeded to do this with red chard, bunched spinach, mizuna greens, and escarole, each one providing a new and tasty experience for the group.

I couldn’t believe the excited chatter that filled the room of 25 as they tried each of the greens. You would have thought we were doing a strawberry or apple tasting. Fact is these folks came with open minds and eager mouths to learn about these wonderful winter vegetables. As they ate, I told them about the nutritional benefits, a little history and folklore surrounding each of the varieties as well as the way to select and store them.

If that wasn’t fun enough, we moved on to cooking and sharing easy recipes that they could do at home. First, we tried Grilled Teleme in Chard with Roasted Tomatoes, you can try it too with your favorite or soon to be favorite Melissa’s organic chard. You’ll need:

4 Melissa’s organic Swiss chard leaves
8 oz. Peluso’s Teleme cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
Pinch hot red pepper flakes
Fresh organic oregano
Olive oil and sea salt
Organic Roma tomatoes – 4 thick slices

Cut away the rib from each chard leaf but leave each leaf in one piece. Place the leaves in a large bowl and cover with boiling water and let Stand for 2 minutes. Drain in a sieve under cold running water. Gently squeeze dry. Lay chard leaves flat on a dishtowel and pat dry.

Put a 2 oz. piece of Teleme cheese on the center of each one.

Sprinkle each piece with a few hot pepper flakes and a pinch of fresh oregano.

Fold the end of the chard leaf over the cheese, fold in the sides, then roll to form a neat package.

Lightly brush cheese packages with olive oil and season with salt.

Grill over direct heat for 1 minute, then turn and grill on the second side for 1 minute.

Set one cheese package on a bed of roasted tomato and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Not sure how to roast tomatoes? Try this easy recipe I adapted from the food network.

Roasted Tomatoes

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper over the tomatoes. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are concentrated and beginning to caramelize. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Everyone loved the warm chard wraps with their oozing Teleme, I know I found a new way to eat chard that night. Mmmm, mmmm.

Next we moved on to Roasted Organic Potatoes and Greens. This is another recipe I had never tried. So easy and sooooooo good. After all we were starting with roasted potatoes, so I knew we were off to a great start. Try this yourself you won’t be disappointed.

Roasted Organic Potatoes and Greens

2 pounds Melissa’s organic red or gold potatoes
¼ cups olive oil
2 T minced garlic
2 t sea salt
2 pounds Melissa’s organic greens (kale, chard, etc.)

Wash and cut potatoes into bite size pieces In a large bowl toss with olive oil, garlic and salt. Lay single layer of potatoes on a sheet pan. Reserve the remaining olive oil mix in the bottom of the bowl to toss with the greens. Roast the potatoes at 350˚ for approximately 45 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. While potatoes are roasting cut center rib from greens if desired. Rinse greens and chop coarsely.

Toss the greens with the reserved olive oil mix in the bowl. Add the greens to the cooked potatoes and continue to roast until greens are wilted. Do not over roast. (Though it says not to over roast, the fact is they will just get crispy, which many people like. Though to be on the safe side, try it according to the recipe instructions your first time and then you can experiment later). Serve immediately.

Serves 6-8.

This was definitely an oooh and aahh recipe and every plate was completely clean.

Lastly, we showed them how to make a Quick Spinach Smoothie. This recipe is simple:

A handful of sliced, frozen Melissa’s organic bananas
A cup or so of organic apple juice
A scoop of vanilla protein powder
A handful of Melissa’s organic baby spinach

And viola! Something good for you that just about anyone would love.

Everyone left the class encouraged to eat more greens hopefully these recipes will encourage you too!
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