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Greens and other Southern Foods


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Feb 6, 2009, 3:37am Top

Im looking for good recipes for Greens... Kale, turnip, Collard etc.

Ive tried a few Ive found on the internet ... but havent had much luck. I dont know if its my technique or the recipe...

If you have a good source for a recipe let me know! Been wanting to get my hands on some good southern cookbooks.

Edited: Feb 6, 2009, 11:06pm Top

If you look for recipes on the Internet, search the "CSA" (community-supported agriculture) sites. They have good recipes for all of those greens. In my CSA box this past year, I've had to figure out how to cook those greens, and they all turned out delicious! I'd never cooked kale, turnip greens, nor collards before. We have tons of all kinds of greens in our boxes.

I'm a Jewish woman originally from Baltimore. I had to run down the street to my black neighbor from Georgia to tell me what to do. I told him I wanted to cook collard, but with no ham hocks, bacon, lard, or pork. He just laughed and said to cook it in chicken soup!

To start you off, here's a kale recipe:

Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Red Onions -- Serves 3

4 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ lbs kale, stems removed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 ½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in medium skillet over medium high heat. Add red onion and sauté until almost browned. Add garlic and continue to sauté until garlic is lightly cooked. In huge soup pot, heat remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil to medium high. Add moistened kale and cook until kale wilts. Add cooked onion with garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until kale is tender. Turn off heat. Mix with balsamic vinegar and serve warm.

I adapted this recipe from one I found in a magazine in 2005, but forgot which magazine. Oops!

Feb 6, 2009, 11:42am Top

Our pastor is Southern, and she is trying to convince me that I should grow turnips next summer so she can have the greens. Fat chance. But I do give her a share of my Chard.

Edited: Feb 6, 2009, 4:27pm Top

SqueakyChu: looks delicious. As a recent convert to all the above greens, I'm never sorry for a straightforward but delicious way of using them! :) Besides, I absolutely love red onion.

In fact, they're good simply sauteed with ample garlic, coarsely chopped, olive oil, and red pepper flakes. Also, chard at least is fabulous in frittatas, and most of them are great in, say, a white bean or potato or black-eyed-pea soup, with or without any pork content!

I'll look in my not-really-Southern cookbooks, lest something appropriate is nestled in there.

Feb 6, 2009, 7:01pm Top

Turnips are one of those vegetables that few appreciate. I think its because when most people buy them theyre tough and bitter.

If you buy them small and tender, they are quite delicious. I make a leek and turnip soup that is very good. If I can remember where I got the recipe from I will post it.

The greens are tasty too!

Feb 6, 2009, 8:20pm Top

Mmm.... I have come to appreciate turnips, too. So good. i'd be very pleased to see the recipe, if you find it!

Feb 6, 2009, 8:30pm Top

Have you looked at The Taste of Country Cooking by Edna Lewis? I think that I read somewhere that it had recipes for greens in it, but I could be wrong. It is supposed to be a very good book, part memior part cookbook. But of course it is not 'modern' which may be an issue with some people.


Feb 6, 2009, 9:51pm Top

Hmm, this reminds me, I bought turnips yesterday, so I better cook them. I like them with carrots, mashed or cubed. I never thought of cooking the greens though.

I tried sauteed mustard greens once, very similar to the way SqueakyChu cooked her kale, they were wonderfully spicy, but I thought I would die when I took the lid off and accidentally breathed the steam and got it in my eyes! Ouch.

Edited: Feb 6, 2009, 9:55pm Top

BTW, it seems to me some of the greens, like mustard, need a longer cooking time than kale, and are best dropped in boiling salted water for ten minutes, or thereabouts, quickly drained and briefly sauteed. They're quite tough enough to handle it, and still seem on the fresh side of cooked.

Does that seem right to you, MrsLee?

I've roasted turnips and carrots in the same mixture, but never paired them as you say. Must try.

Feb 6, 2009, 10:00pm Top

Eurydice, I've only cooked the mustard greens once, but they were a bit chewy, so your idea might be a good one. Might help with the problem I had too!

To the carrots and turnips, add a little sugar, even less salt and a dab of butter, a sprinkle of pepper. :)

Feb 7, 2009, 1:35am Top

Fabulous. :) I look forward to it.

Feb 7, 2009, 3:57pm Top

I might be willing to grow some turnips for Laura if my garden was bigger, but I have very limited space, and it's all spoken for by vegetables that I know my family and I will eat.

Feb 7, 2009, 4:30pm Top

Thoroughly reasonable (and, dare I say it, appropriate?). Dwelling on turnip enthusiasm is not meant as any suggestion you ought to grow them - lest it sounded that way. :)

Feb 7, 2009, 6:05pm Top

Wouldn't it be fun, though, to grow vegetables you never grew before? I did that last year (even though I had very little to no space to do it). I planted a corn patch (12 stalks of corn) and two pumpkin plants in the patch of my back lawn that got direct sun during the day. Look at the results:



Feb 8, 2009, 5:52am Top

Oh, yes. I had a couple of plants of 'Erdmandeln' this year. Don't know the English, but the leaves look like grass, and there are underground nodules that laste like almonds. Very nice.

And I had a border plant on the flower beds that has a red and green leaf that tastes like coriander. I have trouble with growing leaf coriander (cilantro). I also grew a sweet potato, and a coulple of plants of stevia. ...

This besides the basic chard, sorrel, tomatoes, beets, lettuce, spinach, peas, beans (I got SOOOO tired of picking beans)...

Feb 8, 2009, 7:24pm Top

My daughter liks turnip pickles. I used to make them when she was younger, and I got quite fancy, slicing them and using a heart shaped cookie cutter to make heart shaped pickles. I don't know if everyone does it this way, but her grandmother always put a couple of beets in with her turnip pickles so they were bright pink. If I had any sun in my yard so I could have a garden I think that I would add a few turnips for pickles.

Doesn't Alton Brown say something about cooking greens for a long time?


Feb 8, 2009, 7:38pm Top

I love turnips cooked, mashed with a little brown sugar and butter! Yum!

Feb 8, 2009, 11:58pm Top

Wow! Pink pickles (and heart-shaped)? Sounds like enormous childhood fun.

I admire the gardeners among you. Maybe I can do something with a planter or hanging basket outside the apartment door - or herbs, inside, which is becoming a real necessity.

This thread is productive of so many good ideas (including mashed turnips). I think I've enjoyed them mashed with potatoes before - but I wasn't the cook.

Feb 9, 2009, 12:16am Top

I have a funny story.

As usual, I had a nice assortment of several great fresh veggies in one CSA box this past summer. I offered to make my husband a fresh radish salad the way he likes it - thinly sliced radishes, with lots of lime juice and salt. Very simple; very tasty. The radishes were huge and different from ones I usually get at the grocery store. The salad was great. Then I went back into my frig to get my turnips to try out a recipe and suddenly realized that my "radishes" had not been radishes at all, but had been my turnips!* Not to worry. I just made another radish salad again! :)

* I'd never even eaten or cooked turnips before - so that was all new to me!

Edited: Feb 9, 2009, 12:29am Top

That's great. :)

Funny story + simple recipe + vegetables = one happy audience.

Feb 9, 2009, 7:11am Top

The recipe can be found in Glorious Roots: Recipes for Healthy Tasty Vegetables


4 Medium Turnips washed and peeled
4 large scallions
2 tbsp butter
2 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth)
1 cup light or heavy cream (I use half and half)
pinch nutmeg
salt and pepper

Cube turnips. Chop up the white parts of the scallions separately from the green. Melt butter in pot and sautee scallions and turnips for 2 minutes. Add broth and simmer for 15 mins. Puree in food processor (I used stick blender). Return to pot and lower heat then ad cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Use the green part of scallions as garnish.

I used leeks instead of scallions in this recipe but either way its good.

Feb 9, 2009, 7:18am Top

I use turnips from time to time. They work quite well as an onion substitute to bulk out dishes, and have a mild peppery taste that adds to soups stews and casseroles very well. They also go very well in currys.

Feb 9, 2009, 8:42am Top

I've recently returned to turnips because they are a frequent offering from our CSA. I love them roasted with sweet potatoes. Our CSA farmer is apparently gifted in growing sweet potatoes and we get bags of them!!!! I toss the vegies in olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and roast them in the oven until they are starting to carmelize on the edges. They mix the sweet/tangy taste and are wonderfully satisfying.

Our approach to all new varieties of greens from CSA is to frizzle them in olive oil and garlic - can't go wrong. I do par boil the tougher greens before cooking them in garlic.

Edited: Feb 9, 2009, 11:29am Top

> 15 Erdmandeln

In America, usually “chufa nuts” (or just chufas). Also “tiger nut” and “rush nut.” Wikipedia has a few more, including even Earthalmond, but with no regional breakdown indicated. Again in addition to the names for the plant given there, there is “nut grass.”

Feb 9, 2009, 11:36am Top

That's the stuff! I need to learn more about them before growing them again, though.

Feb 9, 2009, 12:17pm Top

#15 & 24 - I've never heard of it under any of those names. Sounds delish.

This is veering wildly from the idea of greens, but do we mind? I love hearing about the ways people cook veggies. So here's my newest discovery.

First I laid down a bed of thinly shredded purple cabbage. Then I roasted cauliflower in the same method florahistora used on her turnips in post 23, gently put it on one end of the cabbage, and roasted asparagus in the same method, but not as long, only about 5 min. at 475° then broiled it for another 4-5 min. I laid that on the cabbage and let it all sit to room temp. I used this to serve under some curried shrimp and it was fantastic. It also would have been great alone, I was thinking people could add a bit of rice vinegar if they wanted to eat it as a salad, but the flavoring was great all alone. I used sea salt and fresh ground pepper along with the olive oil on the roasted vegetables. The raw cabbage added a nice little crunch and pizazz of flavor.

Feb 9, 2009, 5:22pm Top

"...but do we mind?"

Not at all. Wonderful ideas, here. All three (turnip soup, turnips roasted with sweet potatoes, and MrsLee's roasted vegetable and red cabbage salad, with or without shrimp, all sound delicious). I am enjoying this very much.

Feb 10, 2009, 10:38pm Top

All your suggestions sent me looking for a favorite cookbook Everyday Greens by Annie Sommerville. She has a "Winter Vegetable Ragout with Portobello Mushrooms" that includes onion, butternut squash, fennel bulbs rutabagas, yellow finn potatoes, swiss chard roasted and served in a Mushroom-sherry sauce. Sounds a bit complicated but worth trying.

Feb 11, 2009, 10:15am Top

Nobody has mentioned Pot Liquor. I finally tried it after reading about it in so many cookbooks, old cookbooks, and I enjoyed it. Now I think of it as an extra benefit when cooking greens.

Feb 11, 2009, 5:42pm Top

28 > Sounds wonderful, with or without the mushroom sauce.

29 > It's just the cooking liquid from slower-cooked greens, isn't it? Or have I misunderstood the references (never recipes) I've seen? What do you do with it/how is it used?

Feb 12, 2009, 1:20am Top

For Asian style Greens I do Bok Choy this way:

Its best if you can find the baby Bok Choy, but the big stuff works as well... just more stems. I dont know exact measurements as I sort of just throw it all together.

Chop the Bok choy, a clove or two of garlic and a piece of ginger about the size of the first joint on your thumb.

Heat some sesame oil in a pan and cook the garlic and ginger until it becomes fragrant. Add some red pepper flakes to taste (careful a little bit goes a long way!).

Add the bok choy and about a half a cup of chicken broth with a teaspoon or two of soy sauce mixed in. Allow greens to wilt. You can sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds at the end if you like.

If you are using the big Bok Choy you may want to cook the stem part of it for a few minutes before adding the green part. The stems are pretty watery though and not tough like the stems on chard.

Feb 13, 2009, 12:11pm Top

That sounds great Emidawg!

I saved the greens off of my beets yesterday, I'm going to try it with them.

Edited: Feb 13, 2009, 12:43pm Top

Did you know that you can also eat beet stems?!

Just cut them up into equal sized pieces and saute them in olive oil and minced garlic. When they are cooked through and are tender, then add the moistened beet greens to cook down. Season as you like.

I did this with the beet stems and leaves in my CSA box (I used the beet roots for a salad), and this is what they looked like:

The advantages of cooking beet stems is that there is nothing left for the compost pile and your diners get increased roughage! :)

P.S. Is there a CSA group here on LT? If so, could you direct me to it? If not, is there anyone here willing to start one? (I do not volunteer to do this, though)

Feb 13, 2009, 2:26pm Top

#30 I kept reading about the wonder of pot liquor, but like you, I never saw a recipe that used it. After tasting a spoonful I poured some into a mug and drank it like hot tea. The spicier greens are better; a dash of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce is good in it. The next time I plan to save some and use it as a vegitable stock.

As for other type of ‘greens’ garlic scapes sautéed in a little olive oil are wonderful in moderation. My wife did tell me that if I fixed them again I would be sleeping in another room.

Edited: Feb 13, 2009, 2:43pm Top

I've never seen it referred to as Pot Liquor. (Isn't it potlikker? Is the origin from Liquor or Licker?) I just take the leftover greens that I'm not going to use and sometimes other veggies and simmer for about 5 hours. Good as broth in recipes or as a warm drink.

Feb 13, 2009, 3:18pm Top

Yes, some of my cookbooks spell it like that. Jeff Smith, if I recall correctly, spells it out as liquor. I thought it was referring to it as a distillated liquid.

Feb 13, 2009, 3:33pm Top

The origin is "liquor", not "licker", and it's a pretty common term in old cookbooks for liquids of all kinds -- especially any kind of stock or infusion. In brewing, it's still occasionally used just to mean water. No distillation required.

From the OED:


Now chiefly U.S.

Forms: 19- pot licker (Eng. regional (Lincs.)), 19- pot likker (U.S.), 19- pot liquor.

The water in which meat, vegetables, etc., have been boiled, often regarded as having health-giving properties; broth, stock (cf. LIQUOR n. 4). Also fig.

1742 W. ELLIS Mod. Husbandman July xvii. 101 Mix fine Pollard with fresh Pot-liquor. 1773 R. GRAVES Spiritual Quixote I. I. ix. 31 Together with her broth or pot-liquor, he contrived to slip something more substantial into Dorothy's pipkin. 1803 H. MORE Way to Plenty 56 The pot liquor made such a supply of broth for the sick poor. 1853 DICKENS Bleak House xxvii. 272 Mrs. Bagnet..sitting with every dish before her; allotting to every portion of pork its own portion of pot-liquor, greens, potatoes, and even mustard. 1888 F. T. ELWORTHY W. Somerset Word-bk., Pot-liquor, the water in which vegetables have been boiled; sometimes called green-liquor, when cabbage or other green vegetables have been boiled in it. 1930 Sun (Baltimore) 17 May 1/3 Pot likker is the best way of preventing nearly all the diseases that we are heir to. 1963 New Statesman 12 July 37/3 Some honourable Americans succumbed to the tempting potlikker of the loyalty issue with all its hazy innuendoes. 2003 T. MORRISON Love 66, I was resting by the sink and blowing on a cup of pot liquor before dipping my bread in.

Feb 13, 2009, 4:23pm Top

Thanks to all of you. Next grocery trip, mustard or collard or kale will come home with me. I love them, but now there's so much incentive.... ;)

Or do we call that 'healthful temptation'?

Edited: Feb 13, 2009, 7:40pm Top

I had to laugh today becuase I got an e-mail newsletter from a seed company was all about cabbages & greens. Oh, to have a yard with sun. . .oh well since I don't have airconditioning I am glad about the shade, other wise I suppose I would have to live in the basement in the summer.

Has anyone heard of or tried wrapped-heart mustard cabbage? I found a recipe for it at Epicurious that caught my eye.


Feb 13, 2009, 7:34pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Feb 14, 2009, 3:54am Top

#33 - Yep, I used the stems too, they are just as fine as chard in my opinion.

Mar 6, 2009, 5:14pm Top

33 and 41--SOOO glad to see others are using the stems. It seemed so "wrong" to me to be tossing out a goodly share of my kale and collards, etc. when following all the usual directions.

What I do with almost every bunch of greens I cook is to cut or tear away the stems from the leaves and then chop them into small pieces. I saute these for a minute to several minutes before adding the leafier parts of the greens. The results have always been great.

Does anyone know why it seems as though every cookbook out there insists on throwing away this perfectly edible part of these wonderful foods?

Mar 6, 2009, 5:43pm Top

Does anyone know why it seems as though every cookbook out there insists on throwing away this perfectly edible part of these wonderful foods?

They don't have time to cook them? :)

Mar 7, 2009, 6:22am Top

#42, 43:
Not all of them do. Both Jane Grigson in Jane Grigson's vegetable book and her daughter Sophie Grigson in Eat your greens give instructions how to use the stems.

Mar 7, 2009, 7:06am Top

Actually, I'm always amused at the chard recipes that instruct you to separate stems and greens, and then go on to say that 'for this recipe we only need the stems, so discard the leafy parts...' (Usually I'm makiing the recipe because I USED the green leafy parts yesterday.)

Jan 25, 2012, 4:18pm Top

Stems from all greens can get turned into fabulous vegetable stock. Or store the stems in your freezer until you have enough odds and ends (onion and carrot trimmings, etc.) to make a batch of stock.

Jan 25, 2012, 5:36pm Top

In my house, the stems go to the chickens, the turkeys or the goats, as the sheep don't care much for cruciferous veggies. The poultry--especially the tom turkey-- like to whack the stems around a bit before eating, just on the off chance that any long, green skinny thing is actually a snake. :-)

Jan 26, 2012, 1:37am Top

I approve of that turkey, PhaedraB. Any critter who feels the same way about snakes that I do has to be terrific! ;)

Jan 27, 2012, 2:11pm Top

I'm moving to California in a couple of weeks and am super excited to join a CSA. There were a few that delivered to New York City, where I am moving from, but pick up without a car was a hassle and storage nearly impossible (nevermind cooking on the miniature stove in my apartment!).

Anyone else notice that radishes are becoming very vogue right now?

Jan 27, 2012, 2:34pm Top

Radishes vogue? I've begun using them more because I do more Mexican cooking, and they are almost always served sliced thin with good Mexican food. Radishes were always my favorite veggie to grow because you almost can't fail. :)

Jan 27, 2012, 2:35pm Top

Radishes are a gift from the Gods. They are cold hardy, you can plant them early and be eating them in three weeks. Let a few go to seed and you can enjoy the peppery little seed pods when they are young. I think I have been a fan for 50 years.

Grow your own and you are not restricted to the golf-ball sized Scarlet Globes you find in the store.


I hate to say it but the independent, heirloom seed companies I checked only had about six varieties each.

Jan 30, 2012, 1:53pm Top

This past year, my farmer put gigantic black radishes in my CSA box. It was the first time I ever saw such a thing, but I made a black radish relish out of it. It was delicious so keep this recipe handy! :)


Serves 2

Use it generously on sandwiches. Double or triple the recipe as needed (and depending how many black radishes you have!).

1 black radish, peeled and grated
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp coarse salt
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp hot red pepper flakes

Stir all ingredients together well and refrigerate before serving.

~ Adapted from a recipe that found on nytimes.com (2011)


My husband is Salvadoran. His favorite way of eating radishes is simply slicing them thinly and sprinkling them liberally with salt and fresh lime juice. Mmmm!

Jan 31, 2012, 12:53pm Top

Any Bavarians here? If so, they'll doubtless tell you that radishes demand to be accompanied by quantities of beer!

Edited: Feb 21, 2012, 7:45am Top

Leaf of radish (even the hairy ones) and beets all make useful additions to soups and stocks. If you prefer tie them in a bundle and remove after you have boiled the flavour out of them.

My Great Aunt who never wasted a thing -She did live hours from a shop of any sort, always made 'Creamed Stems' the next day if she presented Silver Beet (Chards) or as we call it here (Australia) spinach, spinach is called English spinach to distinguish it from Silver Beet (Chards). Local names can get confusing at times.
Made the same way as Creamed Celery.
2 cups Celery pieces (or other stems)
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons Fat (butter)

Cover celery pieces with boiling water and boil till tender.
Make sauce with celery water (about 1/2 cup), milk, flour and butter
Add cooked celery and season with salt and pepper.

Be warned as Children we thought this and the Silver Beet stem variation were disgusting.
We told Great Aunt that thy were chock (hen) food, She just told us that it was perfectly good food, to good to waste on Chocks you spoilt little brats.

If you can get sugar beet seed try growing in your garden like other beets, use in salad (raw) or roast/bake as a substitute for beetroot.
Remember that variety is the spice of life or at least one of them.

Feb 24, 2012, 3:54pm Top

On radishes, do not overlook the radish greens! They have a delicate flavor, and are not hard to clean (dip in water and shake).

Feb 25, 2012, 1:21pm Top

55- They seem so itchy and scratchy. Does that part of them cook away?

Mar 1, 2012, 3:42pm Top

Bryant Terry has a great book called Vegan Soul Kitchen that has some fantastic reinvented greens recipes. I love his citrus collards with raisins and the swiss chard with lemon tahini dressing. He has a whole greens chapter.

One of my favorite ways to make greens is with this recipe http://lazysmurf.wordpress.com/2008/11/15/nice-ass-greens-from-the-farmers-marke... it's a total crowd pleaser.

Mar 24, 2012, 5:52pm Top

Mrs Lee, on cooking radish greens - apparently so (the scratchy part does become a nonfactor after cooking). As do "stinging nettles," a European favorite that has been coming into popularity in North America over the last 20 years.

Mar 24, 2012, 6:35pm Top

If I remember what my grandfather told me the key to cooking nettles was to pick them young, before the spines harden.

Edited: Mar 31, 2012, 6:05pm Top

TLCrawford, on nettles, I see the new season's growth of nettles offered in farmers' markets, starting actually about now. They grow the nettles by taking a chainsaw to the patch of nettles during the winter dormant period, then harvesting the tender new growth ... that's how they do it.

Fikustree, OMG, thank you for mentioning Vegan Soul Kitchen, the cookbook that goes where no cookbook dared go before. I have already ordered 4 copies, 1 for me, 2 for friends who manage soul food restaurants, and 1 for my local co-op natural food store which has a culturally diverse clientele.

PS: leek tops make a sensational veggie broth. Yes, they take some cleaning to be usable, plus more time to chop them up, but it's worth itl (I always have leeks on hand for when I want to add onions but don't have time to do all the browning and cooking that onions require (when you use mostly oil-less cooking methods as I do).

Just for African-American women is a 2010 cookbook:

By Any Greens Necessary: A Revolutionary Guide for Black Women Who Want To Eat Great, Get Healthy, Lose Weight and Look Phat

It's written by Tracye Lynn McQuirter MPH.

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