Eat Yer Greens (With Lots of Hot Sauce)

Since this whole dietary experimentation kick has been happening, I’ve tried a lot of new stuff. I think almond is my favorite non-dairy milk so far, and I’m actually kind of in love with the soy creamer I’ve been having in my coffee (it says on the carton that it’s from non-genetically-modified soy, but I am skeptical anyway). I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how good Earth Balance buttery spread is, and I don’t miss real mayo at all when I dip my artichoke leaves in Vegenaise (never mind that Brad and I both like to call it “Vaginaise” just because we tend toward the crude and tasteless). I’ve tried quinoa (meh…so it’s good for me), a Rice Dream ice cream sandwich (YUM–Note to self, though: swipe Brad’s ice chest when I go shopping, because the trick is to get this stuff home from Chico or maybe Red Bluff, which seem to be the nearest places I can find it, before it melts), and a whole bunch of incarnations of homemade soup, chili, etc., a few of which were a little too nutritious, at least in the fiber department, if you get my drift. (Soup hint: go easy on the barley or you may regret it.)

However, I’m reminded by the deee-lishus dinner I just ate that the best part of this food adventure has been the opening up of my world with regard to leafy greens. Turns out romaine, spinach, and “Spring mix” are not the only options, nor are they the tastiest. I’ve never been a spinach fan anyway. Tastes like dirt.

Two Awesome Greens (Image via godairyfree.org)

I’m talking about swiss chard, kale, collards…all those bunches of stuff I used to pass right by because they just weren’t on my radar. Last year I grew rainbow chard in my backyard. It’s not my fave, but it’s really good in soups, and it looks cool in the garden. Recently I tried kale and now I understand what the fuss is about. (See Kale Is the New Black.) But tonight I made some spicy, tomato-y, garlicky-delicious collard greens, loosely working from a recipe I first tried and loved over a month ago. It’s so a keeper.

I’m not southern. I don’t think I ever willingly ate collards until lately. I imagine they totally kick ass when cooked in bacon grease or whatever they do to them down there, but since that’s not the direction I’m looking to go in, I think they are absolutely heavenly sauteed in olive oil and a little vegetable broth along with garlic, onion, tomatoes, and a generous dash of red pepper flakes or Louisiana hot sauce, tossed with some pasta or couscous.

Remember, I’m raving over a vegetable here. That’s saying something!

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