Helping to get more plant foods into your bite at a time

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

If You Don't Know What It Is - I Guess You're Not Eating It.

Admit it, when you're waiting in line at the grocery store, you're checking out what the person in front of you is buying.  I know I do...but maybe it's just me.  Since I'm involved in the "food/health" world, maybe I pay a little more attention than most.

If you were to check out my cart, you'd find that most of what's in it is fresh produce.  It's what I eat the most of. 

Unfortunately, when the cashiers see me coming I think they cringe and try to run away.  You know - because they have to look up every item and weigh it.  It's not as easy as just passing it over the scanner and hearing the distinctive "beep".  Heck, that's why I hate the self-check isle.  At least the cashiers are getting paid to do it. 

But I've noticed a trend...most of the cashiers don't know what the produce items are that they're looking up, and invariably I get asked about at least one or more items at each visit to the supermarket.

Today, for example; I went shopping to get some groceries and ingredients for a few recipes I'm planning to make and bring to my sister's for Thanksgiving.  The cashier was a young girl - maybe early 20's.  She came across the kale I placed on the conveyer and asked, "What's this?".  "It's kale", I said.  Luckily, she was able to scan the Brussels sprouts because they're in little containers with the UPC code.  Otherwise, I think I would have been asked to identify them, too.  Then she came across the escarole.  Again she asked, "What's this?" 

Now I'll admit that escarole can be a little difficult to distinguish from some lettuces, but I said to her, ""It's escarole".  Then, with a big smile on my face - so she knew I wasn't trying to be a smartass - I suggested, "You should eat some of this stuff, then you'll know what it is.  It's good for you."  Her reply?  "No thanks!"

I was floored.  No thanks?  I mean what the heck is she eating?  Nevermind...I know.  But it just boggles my mind that anyone doesn't know what kale looks like.  Sometimes it's Swiss Chard, other times Collard greens or some other usually green vegetable that I get asked about. 

Leafy greens and other vegetables are the food most missing from the typical American diet.  And I get reminded of that every time I go grocery shopping. 

So the cashier may be saying "No thanks" to the kale and escarole today, but she may be saying "pass the Lipitor" in a few more years.  Pretty sad. 

Eat your veggies folks.  If you don't know what it is, find out.  Find a recipe, make it and eat it.  It's pretty simple stuff.

5:03 pm est

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Preparing Collard Greens - 101

P1010006.JPGI love to include leafy green veggies in my diet as often as I can.  They are the one food that most Americans don't eat enough of.  And collard greens are one of my favorites.

There was a time when I was intimidated by collards, kale and other leafy greens.  But once I learned how easy they are to prepare - as well as delicious and nutritious - I wish I hadn't
been afraid of them for so long.

Knowing others may also be unsure of how to prepare them, I decided to take some photos tonight as I prepared a side dish of Collards with Dill and Parsley. 

Here's how to do it - step by step.

1.  Wash the collard greens in a sink full of cold water or individually under running water.

2.  Lay one leaf on a cutting board and with a sharp knife start to slice along one side of the mid-rib.

Slice along one side of the midrib

Collard leaf being sliced along midrib

One side of leaf removed

3.  Slice along the other side of the midrib.

Slicing along other side of midrib

4.  Discard the midrib.

Discard midrib

5.  Stack several leaves on top of each other.

Stack several leaves on top of each other

6.  Roll the leaves up to form a tube and slice into 1" sections.

Roll the leaves into a tube and slice

Slice into 1" sections

7.  Place sliced leaves in a bowl until ready to cook.

Place sliced collards in a bowl

7:12 pm est

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Christine Scalfo

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