Green wrap-up and a statement about vegetarianism

March 30, 2009

Dark, leafy greens are so lonely. They wave at you from the refrigerator case, hoping to get some attention. But, alas, they’re often overlooked as shoppers pass by with no more than a glance. Maybe part of the problem is differentiation. As any business person knows, it’s important to differentiate yourself, to offer something unique. But dark leafy greens look like, well, exactly that. There are loads of varieties but you’d need a field guide to figure ’em out.

I’m happy to introduce you to collard greens, which bring to the table all the goodness of leafy greens with one major differentiating factor: shape. Collard leaves are large, strong, round and flat. For this reason they make perfect wraps for sandwiches or burritos. So forget learning how to cook greens! Just use these guys to wrap around whatever leftovers are in the fridge. You’ll get a boatload of fiber and vitamins but only a handful of calories.

In the photo above, I stir-fried quinoa, veggies, beans and 100% grass-fed ground beef as a filling. (I included the discarded collard stems in the filling by chopping up small) But you could use anything. How about something with feta and olives? Or even just plain tunafish (or garbanzofish!) It’s really quite versatile and you have two options for the wrapping technique:

Wrapping technique #1
Shown above on the left
Rinse collard leaf under running water. Slice off stem at the base of the leaf. Following the natural curve of the leaf, roll filling up like a burrito. That’s it!

Wrapping technique #2
Shown above on the right
Rinse leaf and remove stem at base of leaf, as in #1. Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Once boiling, place leaf into water and cook for about 60 seconds. Remove with tongs, careful to avoid ripping. Lay flat on dish and allow to cool. Add filling and start folding with the top edge of the leaf (opposite stem). Next fold in the two sides, like a diaper. The stem side of the leaf can remain unfolded – it’s too thick to bend. This technique stays together better than #1 but of course takes some extra effort.

Now, to address a question that has been coming up a lot lately: Am I a vegetarian or vegan? This is an interesting question – I always wonder why it matters to people so much. I suppose it’s so they can judge immediately whether or not they want to talk to me, or read my blog, or pay attention to what I have to say about health. Whatever it is, it’s become obvious that people really want to know how I label my diet.

This post purposely includes beef to make clear that I am not a strict vegan or vegetarian. However, if you follow this blog you’ll notice that 99% of my recipes do not include meat. There are 3 reason for this:
1. Meat is expensive and I think we all appreciate a cheap meal these days.
2. Meat slows me down, personally. I feel better eating less of it.
3. I suspect most people know all about meat and how to cook it, and if not there are plenty of resources for that. I’m more interested in teaching people something new.

Finally, when I do eat meat I like to buy the best quality stuff I can. This means meat from animals who were treated in a humane, organic fashion.

I do not have a dogma around eating animal products or not, and I suspect this disappoints some people. Instead I am a firm believer that we all need something different to feel our best and should rely on our intuition and bodies’ feedback to learn what that is.

But EVERYONE can use more leafy greens. So wrap it up!