Here is what I love about living in NYC:
People do fantastic things. All the time.
Everyone you meet is up to something. This isn’t a city to sit on your heels and simmer. Rather, it’s the best place to fill your pot to the brim and make a fabulous stew of life. Take for instance, Jill Brack. Many of you know her as the founder of Glow Gluten Free Cookies. Here’s what you might not know: Jill is on the board of the Harvest Home Farmer’s Market Organization. Harvest Home places farmer’s markets in low income neighborhoods with little access to fresh produce. The markets are set up so the patrons can pay with food stamps, but what’s even more impressive is that paying with your EBT card is incentivized. For every $5 you pay with your food stamps, you receive an extra $2 to spend at the market. In a time when it is often more expensive to buy fresh produce than a Big Mac, Harvest Home goes a long way to shift the balance.
Harvest Home sponsored an event this past week with PS 72 in Harlem. 4th and 5th grade classes were asked to design a poster for the market. One poster was picked and the winning class (Ms. Callahan’s 5th grade) was brought to the market to celebrate. Jill asked if I was interested in cooking a market inspired meal for the kids as part of their prize. My answer- “LOVE IT.” Food always tastes better with company and what better company than 30 5th graders?
I had free reign of the market’s bounty to plan my menu, all of the veggies donated by the farmers. For lunch we ate chili and maple roasted squash, braised collards with apples and onions, roasted chicken thighs with a citrus-tahini dressing, a big salad and rice pudding with caramelized apples. Our plates were palettes of Fall colors, filled to the brim. I loved watching the principal of PS 72 sit down with the kids to eat. This is how we can change food habits-eating together, talking about food, learning as a community.
If you’re looking for a new veggie side dish to add to your Thanksgiving spread, try the collards I made for the kids this week. They’re spiced with cinnamon and the apples and onions melt in your mouth. No joke. I’ve been eating this for weeks.
Free of Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Corn, Nuts, Tree Nuts, Eggs. Vegan.
- Olive Oil for sauteeing
- 1 Apple (Fuji, Honeycrisp…)
- 1/2 Large Yellow Onion
- 1 bunch Collard Greens (1-1 1/2 lbs.)
- Juice 1/2 Lemon
- 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 cup Vegetable Stock
- Peel, core and quarter the apple then slice it thinly. Slice the onion thinly as well.
- Heat the olive oil in a stock pot until it is shimmering and very hot. Add the apples and onions and saute over medium-high heat for 7-10 minutes, or until the onions are slightly translucent and the apples are partly browned.
- While the apples and onions are cooking, break down the collards. Take one leaf, fold it in half so that the spine is along one side and tear the spine away from the leaf. The spines are tough, chuck ‘em in the compost bin. When you’ve de-spined the collards, stack the leaves on top of each other and then roll them into a cigar. Using a sharp knife, slice across the cigar, making ribbons of collard greens.
- Toss the sliced greens into the pot with the apples and onions and saute for 5-10 minutes, or until the greens are wilted and reduced in size.
- Squeeze the lemon juice into the stock pot and add the pepper, cinnamon and salt. Stir everything to combine.
- Add the veggie stock and cover the pot. Turn the heat down to low and simmer the greens for 30-40 minutes, or until they’re tender and delicious.
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 40-50 minutes
Yield: 4 servings