It’s tradition on New Years Day to eat greens and black-eyed peas, because … money … or something. The truth is, I already eat collard greens a lot, because they are delicious, inexpensive (88 cents for a bunch at my HEB), and incredibly healthy. Collard greens have lots of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and calcium, and they even have a decent amount of protein — 4 g. per 1 c. serving. Normally I just stir-fry them with spinach or kale and eat it over quinoa with some soy sauce (notice a pattern here? Seriously, vegetables + quinoa = perfection). This method almost the same, but with the addition of some lemon juice and parmesan.
January 1st symbolizes the end of the holidays, and for most people, that means getting gym memberships and dieting. I don’t buy into the idea that January 1st is different from any other day of the year in this respect, and typically, over-restrictive resolutions are set up for failure. However, I do believe that new beginnings can be helpful for rearranging priorities, becoming motivated to accomplish new things, and trying to set achievable goals. This dish is the first thing I ate for the new year, and hopefully it’s the beginning of a year of delicious foods that will help me accomplish some of my health-related goals: continue eating what my body tells me to eat, run in at least 2 races (the first being the Longhorn 10k in April), and continue doing things that make me happy. And, you know … money. :)
I’ve also included a slightly more indulgent recipe that I mentioned before — kale, butternut squash, and cheddar cheese casserole. I made the non-adapted version–a kale, butternut squash, and cheddar cheese bread pudding–for Thanksgiving, and we all agreed that the eggs, cream, and bread made it too heavy and overpowered the real stars of the dish: the kale and butternut squash. So I cooked it again for some of my friends, leaving out the “bread pudding” part (as well as about an hour of prep time) and the simpler, healthier, easier recipe was a hit.
Try both, savor every bite, and most importantly — have a VERY wonderful 2011.
Wilted Greens with Parmesan, from Stonesoup Minimalist Home Cooking
1 bunch of collard greens, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
Handful of grated parmesan
Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Saute garlic until it starts to brown. Add the collard greens and saute until wilted. Juice the lemon into the greens and adjust seasonings. Serve topped with parmesan.
Kale, Butternut Squash, and Cheddar Cheese Casserole, adapted from Ezra Pound Cake
2 bunches kale, washed and chopped
2 lbs. butternut squash, seeded, peeled, and chopped into 1-inch pieces
Salt and Pepper
1 c. chopped shallots
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Sage, salt, and pepper, to taste
8 oz. extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Toss the butternut squash with 1 tbsp. olive oil, then roast at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 350. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot, and saute shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Add the kale; cover and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover the pot, and stir until kale is wilted but bright green. Remove from heat.
Place 1/2 of kale in a casserole dish; season with salt, pepper, and sage. Top with butternut squash. Repeat with the rest of the kale and squash. Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top, and cover the dish with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake until the cheese is bubbly, about 10 min.