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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Greens

This New Year's, why not follow the ancient (and healthy) tradition of eating leafy greens for prosperity! It's a southern tradition to eat collard greens in the hopes that their green color will signify an abundance of more green things in the New Year ($cha-ching$). And who couldn't use a little more luck this year in that department?

Every country has it's traditions when it comes to what to eat when the clock strikes 12. In Spain they eat 12 grapes, one for each clang from the clock at midnight. My tradition? Champagne. Or Prosecco. Anything that's bubbly! Check out this link to read more about traditions around the world.

But, like many people in this country, I will once again resolve to eat more healthfully. Now, I am pretty conscious when it comes to what goes into my mouth, but that seems to go out the window when the holidays (spanning the entire length of November, December and January) roll around. Therefore, the New Year is my cue that it is time to get back on track. One thing I will resolve to do will be to eat more leafy greens. And I don't just mean spinach. I mean those dense, leafy, bitter greens that kids hate. But, if treated properly, cooked until tender, and with proper seasoning, these greens can be not only good for you, but incredibly delicious.

Here is my New Year's recipe for Braised Kale with Cherry Tomatoes:


1 bunch kale, chopped and washed (only use the stem closest to the leaves-the ends get pretty tough and can be tossed)
1 clove garlic, minced
Handful cherry tomatoes
3/4 c. chicken stock (Kitchen Basics, if you can find it)
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat a large pan on high heat for about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to the hot pan. Add garlic and kale to pan and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, salt & pepper, and balsamic vinegar and cover the pan. Let steam for about 4 minutes until the greens have wilted. Remove the cover and stir the kale. Add the cherry tomatoes and pepper flakes and cook until the tomatoes burst. The liquid should be mostly reduced. If not, increase the heat and continue cooking until very little liquid remains in the bottom of the pan. Serve as a side dish with chicken, fish, as an alternative to creamed name it!

Enjoy! And a healthy and prosperous New Year to all!