Tag Archives: Brooklyn Cured

Mustard Greens and Grits

25 May

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Let’s step away from the convenient pre-washed, packaged spinach for a minute. It’s greens season, and there are bunches and bushels of young spring greens awaiting you at your local farmer’s market.

I’ve been reading through Jo Robinson’s Eating on the Wild Side, and she makes an interesting point about modern greens:

“Over the course of ten thousand years of agriculture, our farming ancestors managed to remove the bitterness from most of our greens. Unwittingly, though, when they removed the bitterness, they were also stripping away a host of highly beneficial phytonutrients that happen to have a bitter, astringent, or sour taste. Our mild-to-a-fault iceberg lettuce, for example, has one-fortieth as many bionutrients as bitter dandelion greens. Calcium is bitter as well, so the calcium content of our modern greens is also relatively low.”

Robinson also notes that to tone down bitter flavors, fat can help. One might, for example, add some avocado to a salad with bitter lettuce greens. Another option: *~bacon~*

Bacon + mustard greens nudged with creamy yellow corn grits. Bitter-creamy-toothy-savory goodness. A real spring comfort.

IMG_2615

Bacon gets sizzled in a pan (cast-iron or dutch oven preferable). A little onion for a little more bite.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

In batches, throw torn mustard greens  into the pan. They cook down quite a bit, so d0n’t be afraid to add the entire bunch. Cover with a lid to let the stems braise in their own liquid.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

While the bacon braised greens get going, cook the grits. It’s a 1 to 4 grits to liquid ratio. I used water. Boil the water, add the grits, stir. Done in roughly 5 minutes. Finish with freshly grated sharp cheddar and a little pat of butter.

IMG_1136

Mustard greens with bacon and onion, nudged and nestled with fluffy yellow grits.

You’re welcome.

Quick Mustard Greens With Bacon

makes about 3-4 servings

4 slices bacon, diced (I used Brooklyn Cured bacon)

1 bunch mustard greens (from Migliorelli Farms), torn into smallish pieces

1 small onion, chopped

splash of red wine vinegar

pinch of salt

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring every so often to brown the bacon. Add the onion and cook for another few minutes. *I needed to add a dash of canola oil here because my bacon was very lean.

Add the mustard greens to the pan in batches and saute until just wilted. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and let it simmer for about 4-5 minutes, or until the greens have braised in their own liquid and the stems are slightly softened.

Uncover, add a splash of vinegar (helps reduce the bitterness of the mustard greens) and a pinch or two of salt. Serve nestled next to or on top of some creamy cheddar grits.

 

Cheddar Grits

makes about 4 servings

4 cups water

1 cup yellow corn grits (I used Arrowhead Mills Organic Yellow Corn Grits)

pinch salt

2-3 ounces grated cheddar

1 tablespoon butter

  • Bring water to a boil. Slowly add in the grits, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low, and stir for about 5-6 minutes or until thickened slightly and cooked.
  • Once the grits are cooked, add in a pinch of salt, the grated cheddar, and the butter. Stir to incorporate and melt.

IMG_1137

Roasted Eggplants with Ground Lamb and Yogurt Tahini Sauce

8 Oct

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Eggplant season is still here, and I’ve seen loads of eggplant-related recipes featured on the NYTimes lately, like Martha Rose Shulman’s Lasagna with Tomato Sauce and Roasted Eggplant, Melissa Clark’s Eggplant Dip for non-eggplant eaters, and the awesome Eggplant Marinana Sandwich from Frankies Spuntino Restaurant in Brooklyn. Inspiration central.

It just so happens that while I was ‘fondling’ the beautiful eggplants at the market the other day, my eye flecked over to the Brooklyn Cured meat booth, and they had lamb sausages on special–with Greek yogurt, lemon, and parsley. Suddenly my brain switched from craving a hearty winter pasta to Mediterranean mezze. The weather has been so lovely lately, so I figured I could spare a hearty pasta for a few more weeks. And then I remembered Deb’s recipe for Roasted Eggplant with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce and Cumin-Crisped Chickpeas from her cookbook!

Since I found this amazing lamb, I swapped my usual chickpea preference for ground lamb. With a few heaps of roasted cauliflower (I didn’t use harissa this time but if I had it around I might have…) and warm whole wheat pita, I felt very proud of my meal.

The smaller eggplants are great for roasting in larger hunks (oxymoron?!). I quartered mine because I like a greater surface area for browning on the edges but still being soft on the inside.

As you can see, I smothered my meal in the yogurt-tahini sauce. I ended up making a second batch of the sauce the next day because it was just so good for dipping and spreading. Threw some fresh mint into the mix, but you could use whatever herbs you like, or nix the herbs and go garlic and paprika! This may be my new hummus. And all you have to do is whisk.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Roasted Eggplant + Ground Lamb

From the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

2-3 small eggplants

olive oil 

salt

1/2 onion, chopped fine

1 lb. of ground lamb or ground lamb sausage

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Take the tops off the eggplants, and either half them or quarter them. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil, place the eggplant pieces cut side up and brush the exposed sides with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, flip, and roast for another 15-20 minutes, until the skin is dimpled and the interior glazed and golden.

About 10 minutes before the eggplants are finished roasting, heat a (cast-iron if you have one) skillet. Add a touch of olive oil and saute the onion until starting to brown. Add in the lamb and cook for about 5 minutes, until no longer pink inside. Drain the fat.

Serve the lamb with the roasted eggplant (you can roast cauliflower, too!), the yogurt tahini sauce, and some warm (whole wheat) pita bread.

Yogurt Tahini Sauce

2/3 cup plain yogurt (I used Stonyfield low-fat yogurt)

1/3 cup tahini

1 garlic clove, minced

pinch of salt

lemon juice, to taste (about 1-3 Tablespoons)

fresh herbs, chopped (I used fresh mint)

Whisk everything together. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Give it a sprinkle of paprika for a pop of color!