Let’s Talk Food: Winter greens

  • Photo courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Kid’s cheese quesadilla from Dimple Creek.

  • Photo courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Fish and chips from Dimple Creek.

  • Photo courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Bacon cheeseburger from Dimple Creek.

  • Photo courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Tamale plate from Dimple Creek.

  • Photo courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Chinese chicken salad from Dimple Creek Local Market & Cafe Farm to Table.

There are certain greens that thrive in the cooler weather, called winter greens. However, I don’t think they would survive in the Arctic blast hitting the mainland. Look for locally grown winter greens at your favorite market.

When buying beets, get them with their tops on, as these greens are very healthy. Cut the stems about 1 inch above the beet crown. Trim the long stems and discard any wilted or very blemished leaves. Wash several times and cut into 1-inch pieces. Cook the larger, mature leaves in a covered pot of 2 cups of lightly salted boiling water just until wilted, about five minutes. Drain and press out all water. As it wilts when cooked, remember that 1 pound of beet greens cooks to about 1 cup cooked.


Collard greens are a favorite Southern side dish, as their mild flavors work well with meat dishes. Pull the leaf from the tough ribs and stems; discard the ribs and stems. Wash thoroughly several times, drain and cut into 1-inch pieces. Cook in 2 cups of lightly salted boiling water until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain and press of moisture. One pound of collards makes 2 cups of cooked.

Kale is commonly found at the market. The stems are not edible, so strip the leaves and discard the stems. Cut leaves into thin strips, massage until it turns dark green and make a Caesar’s salad, or cook in 2 cups of lightly salted boiling water for 10-12 minutes. Drain and press out water. One pound yields 2 cups cooked kale.

Mustard greens are peppery and pungent when eaten raw, but when cooked or blanched become more palatable. After washing the leaves several times, trim and discard the long stems. Cut the leaves into 1-inch pieces. Cook large mature leaves, covered in 2 cups of lightly salted boiling water until tender, 10-12 minutes. Drain and press out water. One pound yields 2 cups of cooked mustard greens.

I have grown Swiss chard in my garden and especially like the rainbow variety, with yellow, red and orange stems. Unlike kale, the stems are edible, so after washing the leaves separate from the stems and cut them into 1-inch pieces. In a pot of 2 cups of lightly salted boiling water, place the stems first, cook for five minutes, then add the leaves and cook an additional 10 minutes.

With the cool weather, many soups, such as vegetable barley soup, would taste even better with kale or Swiss chard. Place the greens in the soup 15 minutes before serving. I love kale in Portuguese bean soup when watercress is not available.

Here is a great farro and kale salad:

Farro and Kale Salad

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, pressed

2 teaspoon lemon juice

Finely grated zest from one lemon

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup farro

2 cups chopped kale

1/4 red onion, finely diced (about 1/4 cup)

1/4 cup packed mint leaves, thinly sliced, plus whole small leaves for serving

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Mix olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Combine chicken broth and farro in a pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until farro is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and let cool completely. Transfer farro to bowl with olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper, then add kale, red onion, sliced mint. Gently mix and let stand for 30 minutes. Top with small mint leaves before serving.

Foodie bites

The Hawaii Community College Culinary Arts Bamboo Hale is now open. This fine dining experience gives the second-year culinary students the opportunity to experience front and back of the house in a restaurant. If you want a great lunch at a very reasonable price, call 934-1591 to make reservations. Also think about attending the special Dinner and Wine event. The meal is coursed, and each dish comes with a wine to match chosen by Ryan Kadota of Kadota Liquors. Dinners are Feb. 13, March 6 and 27, and April 10. The wines for the dinners are sold and supplied by Kadota Liquors.

The schedule is as follows:

• Today through Friday, Americas Standard menu and New Orleans cuisine.

• Feb. 12-15, Asian Standard menu and India specials.

• 6 p.m. Feb. 13, Special Dinner and Wine.

• Feb. 20-22, Asian Standard menu and Thailand cuisine.

(Feb. 18, holiday)

• Feb. 26-28, Asian Standard menu and Philippines cuisine.

(March 1, no school)

• March 5-8 Asian Standard menu and Chinese cuisine.

• 6 p.m. March 6, Special Dinner and Wine.

(March 18-22, spring break)

• March 27-29. European Standard menu and France cuisine.

(March 26, holiday)

• 6 p.m. March 27, Special Dinner and Wine.

• April 2-5, European Standard menu and Italian cuisine.

• April 9-12, European Standard menu and German cuisine.

(April 15-18, Hilo Classic Food Show, closed to prepare)

• April 23-24, Hawaii special

(April 25-26 closed)

Dimple Cheek local Market &Cafe: Located on Highway 11 in Mountain View, Dimple Cheek Local Market &Cafe Farm to Table is open 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. We have heard good comments about it, so thought we’d give it a try and were delighted at the quality of the food. The service is relaxed, so don’t be in a rush — but being patient is well worth it. We ordered a cheese quesadilla for our grandson. The cheese was plentiful and tasty and he enjoyed it.

Son Reid had the tamale plate with a choice of pork, beef, chicken, cheese or vegetable tamale with beans, Mexican rice and pico de gallo.

Jim had ono (the fish) and chips with homemade tartar sauce and a nice green salad from Dimple Cheek Farms. Dean had the loco moco with 100 percent local grass-fed beef, two eggs, salad, two scoops of jasmine rice and homemade brown gravy.


Grant had the bacon cheeseburger with 100 percent local grass-fed beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, French fries and a nice locally sourced green salad, and I had the Chinese chicken salad with mixed local greens, tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, an Asian dressing, topped with strips of wonton. Everyone enjoyed their lunch, and it certainly is a place we would be frequenting. The building was formally DeLuz Woods, and is located at 17-4003 Ahuahu Place. Call 731-6870 for more information.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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