Monday, January 20, 2014

Vegan Bacon Greens. Yep, something different again.

I was just recently turned on to greens.  I find that I like them, a lot.  Not something that was ever served in my home growing up, so never had the chance.  A few years ago I had some smoky greens that were cooked with bacon and ham hocks.  The greens were tasty, even though they were cooked 'till falling apart.  That was my first taste, and since then I have experimented on my own, sans the meat.  I have made a few batches using my Mesquite Smoked Onion Dip Mix I sell from my business, Frantic Foods.  And it is pretty good.  But I recently decided to try incorporating something else into the greens for the fantastic smoky flavor.  So I smoked some portobello mushrooms.  They came out dry, withered and smelling fantastic.

 I took 3/10 ounce and soaked them in some semi sweet muscato wine for an hour, then diced them.  I next took an onion and cut the ends off, cutting the root end just barely under the root ends themselves, and this helps keep the whole onion together.  Then cut that onion in half.  After taking the first layer off, (save that brown skin and layer in your freezer trash bag to make stock out of at a later date) I make longitudinal slices into the onion going toward the center, NOT straight up and down.  Yes yes, I know that's the way they do it on TV, and yes, I was a rebel in culinary school for refusing to do it that way; but it makes sense, the onion layers are curved, cut it that way.  It makes perfect dice.  toss the little remaining ends where the root core is into the freezer garbage bag as well.

In a big pot, heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the diced mushrooms.  Cook them until they sizzle and get browned.  About 4 minutes or so.  Then add the onion and cook a minute.  Then add the greens that you cut into small pieces.  Add the wine you soaked the mushroom in.  I like to use dinosaur or Tuscan Kale.  It is commonly available at farmers markets most of the time and it is very flavorful, rich in nutrients and holds up well to cooking.  Of course if you only go to the chain supermarkets, then you have fewer choices, but go with organic if possible whenever you do.
 Dandelions, turnip greens, and really just about any greens would work here.  I think my favorite Spinach would work well also.  Just don't cook it as long.  Hmmmmm, bacony spinach.  Sounds yummy.  Anyway, cover the greens and let them wilt over medium heat about five minutes.  Remove the lid and make sure there is some liquid in there, add some wine or water if needed.  Cover, and cook over medium low heat for about another 15 minutes or so.  Or until the greens are cooked to the desired tenderness for you.  Me, I like them toothsome, with chew to them.  A lot of people don't, they prefer them to be just totally wilted and nasty falling apart soft and to me, kind of yucky. 

So this is what my finished big ol' bowl of cooked smoky kale looks like.  I can't believe how tasty this things are.  I know, most people, well, my friends anyway, tell me that I am a bit off the wall.  But I took some of these greens, put them on a whole wheat flour tortilla (yes, I make those myself as well) added some of my brand of hot sauce, some humus, and some sunflower seeds and made a burrito that was fantastic.

Hey, to paraphrase some TV guy, "If it's good for you, EAT IT!"

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