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Post subject: Mess o' Greens: Billy's Fruit Market, Oak Park

Post subject: Mess o' Greens: Billy's Fruit Market, Oak Park
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  • Post subject: Mess o' Greens: Billy's Fruit Market, Oak Park

    Post #1 - July 1st, 2004, 10:43 pm
    Post #1 - July 1st, 2004, 10:43 pm Post #1 - July 1st, 2004, 10:43 pm
    Mess o' Greens: Billy's Fruit Market, Oak Park

    I shop at Billy's Fruit Market a lot. It's near my house and the prices are right. Lately, standing in line, I've struck up conversations with the older African-American women who are usually my fellow shoppers. My queries of late have focused on greens: preferences and preparations (this line of questioning works best if the shoppers have greens in their cart, and most times, they seem to).

    Today, standing in the greens section, I asked a woman to help me identify which were collards, mustard and turnip greens. I could see a thought-balloon above her boyfriend's head; it read "What's this; dumbass white boy day?" The woman, however, was chatty and could barely suppress her smiles as she told me how she made her country greens: about a pound or so of pork belly, cooked in water for an hour, and 2-to-1 collard to turnip greens, cook for another hour. That's it.

    Tonight, I tried this extremely simple recipe and my maiden voyage into the world of greens was, if I say so, smashing. Greens I've had at soul food buffets have tended to be somewhat limp from overcooking, and I thought an hour sounded extreme, but the greens needed that kind of time, and they came out bright, only slightly subdued from boiled, and full of deep flavor. The pork belly was probably overdoing it a little (could have used less), but it made a nice quantity of rich "pot likker" for dunking cornbread and, ultimately, making soup (which is simmering on the stove now; I know, crazy for July, but my girls eat soup all year long, and the iron in the greens is good for 'em.).

    Any way, Billy's is a decent place to shop for produce if you're in the area, and they have everything you need to cook up a mess o' greens.

    Billy's Fruit Market
    400 W. Madison
    Oak Park, IL
    Last edited by David Hammond on July 4th, 2004, 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #2 - July 2nd, 2004, 9:48 am
    Post #2 - July 2nd, 2004, 9:48 am Post #2 - July 2nd, 2004, 9:48 am
    Hey David,

    your greens sound great. Besides cooking with them with a pork product (which I agree is essential) you might also throw in a crumbled up dried red chile pepper while they're braising. (e.g. chile japones) And if you don't make cornbread those dried out slices of D'Amato's bread you and Antonius have been talking about would probably be happy having the greens and pot likker poured over them.

    (hmm, I'm getting hungry typing this...)

    Amata
  • Post #3 - July 2nd, 2004, 9:48 am
    Post #3 - July 2nd, 2004, 9:48 am Post #3 - July 2nd, 2004, 9:48 am
    You can always cut the greens into shreds and saute the greens in olive oil if you want a quicker preparation time. It was a dish that I had at a Brazilian steakhouse in Salt Lake City and have done at home a few times.

    You MUST do greens at least one hour. the problem with MOST greens is that they are done for two hours (or more).

    You can substitute smoked turkey for the pork. The results are similar.
  • Post #4 - July 2nd, 2004, 9:51 am
    Post #4 - July 2nd, 2004, 9:51 am Post #4 - July 2nd, 2004, 9:51 am
    jlawrence01 wrote:You can substitute smoked turkey for the pork. The results are similar.


    Yes, I saw smoked turkey legs at Billy's, and I figured that they were pig substitute. I will try turkey next time.
  • Post #5 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:00 am
    Post #5 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:00 am Post #5 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:00 am
    Hi David,

    Sounds like your maiden greens voyage was a huge success. To me, there is almost nothing as comforting as a nice pot of greens. These days, I'm leaning more towards turnip greens, which are a little less bitter than collard. I usually peel and dice a few turnips and add them to the pot along with a peeled yellow onion and a serrano or jalapeno or two, as well as a large pinch of sugar. I tend to let them go for two or three hours. Must be the native Virginian in me.

    Did you use salt pork or bacon? Try smoked turkey wings or necks some time as a healthier alternative to that fatty pork. Not that there's anything wrong with fatty pork.

    For a quick Caldo Gallego:

    Simmer a pound of navy beans with a couple of ham hocks, a diced onion, come diced celery and a jalapeno, until the beans are tender. Remove the hocks, and when cool, pull the meat, shred it, and add it back to the pot. (I usually scarf down that yummy fatty skin)

    Finish by adding a diced turnip or two, along with a diced potato and a bunch of turnip greens, chiffonade cut (shredded), and simmering another thirty minutes or so. A little s&p if necessary, and you're there.

    Evil Ronnie
    "Bass Trombone is the Lead Trumpet of the Deep."
    Rick Hammett
  • Post #6 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:04 am
    Post #6 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:04 am Post #6 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:04 am
    David

    Somthing was missing last night and I just couldn't put my finger on it.
    Image
    Next time for sure!!!
  • Post #7 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:12 am
    Post #7 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:12 am Post #7 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:12 am
    Evil Ronnie wrote:Did you use salt pork or bacon? Evil Ronnie


    Hey Evil,

    I used salt pork because I was interested in going the traditional route. Now that I'm comfortable with the essential preparation, I can start experimenting.

    Amata also mentioned adding some hot stuff (peppers), and that sounds like a good idea. My understanding, though, was that you added the hot stuff (or sauce) after making the greens (again, I'm taking a very simplistic approach here just to get a grip on the fundamentals, which are, indeed, very simple).

    Thanks for the recipe -- I'm was thinking the greens might be mixed with some kind of beans for a rapini-and-beans-type dish. The melange of bitter green and creamy bean is usually a guaranteed winner at my house.

    Hammond
  • Post #8 - July 2nd, 2004, 11:05 am
    Post #8 - July 2nd, 2004, 11:05 am Post #8 - July 2nd, 2004, 11:05 am
    Mangiafoglie

    David:

    The Neapolitans used to be known as 'mangiafoglie' -- leaf-eaters, i.e., greens-eaters, and I seem to have inherited the gene (known as the green-gene) for that from my grandfather... There are so many greens in the world that are delicious, and combinations of them can also be great...

    What Amata mentioned is one of our basic green preparations which, lacking any pork or other meat, is very healthy stuff... olive oil, chile and garlic to gold, add wet greens... In this connexion, a green option with, as your pal Rachel Ray would say, "big flavour" (well, she'd say it without the 'u' :wink:), are dandelions, which are always available at Athens Market and usually of very good quality... You can pick up some of the paximadia and dry giant beans to go with the greens... curly endive is also a mighty tasty cooking green... And those and similar kinds are nice options if you don't have the time to the long cooking greens (collards etc), which can all provide a delicious monstrous repast unto themselves...

    In the latter regard, have you tried mustard greens? They have a really interesting flavour...

    Evil R's gallego soup recipe is very nice... Just the right thing for someone putting in a hard day at the desk in an over-air-conditioned work space...

    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #9 - July 2nd, 2004, 11:15 am
    Post #9 - July 2nd, 2004, 11:15 am Post #9 - July 2nd, 2004, 11:15 am
    Antonius,

    Neopolitans are leaf eaters...well, that explains it. My grandfather was from Naples.

    "Garlic to gold" is an excellent expression: I have not heard it before, but its meaning is clear.

    I saw some dandelion greens at Caputo's a while back; now that I'm on the road to ever more geenery, I'll have to try it.

    Hammond

    PS. You and Amata sound like exceptional cooks. Your son is fortunate (hope he sees it that way).
  • Post #10 - July 4th, 2004, 10:00 am
    Post #10 - July 4th, 2004, 10:00 am Post #10 - July 4th, 2004, 10:00 am
    If you are willing to stray from the southern ideal (collard, turnip, mustard) greens, Swiss Chard is a much easier green to work with because it needs much less cooking. It can be treated like spinach, and sauteed with garlic. Unlike the other greens, whose stems tend to be very tough, the chard stems add a nice celery-like crunch. I grew my own until we moved this summer, and chard grows like weeds once it gets started. The downside is that the shelf life of chard is much less than other greens, so it is tough to buy decent quality, and it tends to be expensive at the farmers markets.
    -WillG
  • Post #11 - July 4th, 2004, 10:11 am
    Post #11 - July 4th, 2004, 10:11 am Post #11 - July 4th, 2004, 10:11 am
    WillG wrote:If you are willing to stray from the southern ideal (collard, turnip, mustard) greens, Swiss Chard is a much easier green to work with because it needs much less cooking.


    Hey Will,

    Now that I'm getting comfortable with greens, I've been noticing the vast range of available options. I saw some Swiss Chard at the Oak Park Farmer's Market yesterday, but wasn't sure if it was prepared the same as other greens. Thanks for the cooking tip.

    I did pull the stems off the collards I made -- I understood this to be standard operating procedure.

    David
  • Post #12 - July 5th, 2004, 7:58 pm
    Post #12 - July 5th, 2004, 7:58 pm Post #12 - July 5th, 2004, 7:58 pm
    Yes, I think that most people de-stem and de-rib most greens, not because you cant eat the stems, but because for the most part you dont want to (although if you dice them small enough they arent too bad). With chard, the stalks are an integral part of the experience. I tend to saute garlic in olive oil, add the chopped stalks for 3-5 minutes, and add the greens for another 2-5 minutes and then salt.
    One of the more hedonistic greens preparations that I do with collards, is to blanch the greens, ring out most of the water, then roast them in a casserole with a couple of nice marrow bones on top for an hour. Not only do you get some nice marrow, but the greens absorb all the dripppings. Not a bad way to get your vitamins.
    -Will
  • Post #13 - July 20th, 2020, 11:12 am
    Post #13 - July 20th, 2020, 11:12 am Post #13 - July 20th, 2020, 11:12 am
    Any updated suggestions on how to prepare collard greens? We have five or six big leaves through our CSA, maybe a pound or so.
    -Mary
  • Post #14 - July 20th, 2020, 2:26 pm
    Post #14 - July 20th, 2020, 2:26 pm Post #14 - July 20th, 2020, 2:26 pm
    We made this recipe for coconut-braised collard greens a few times when collards were part of our Top Box delivery. Really delicious!
  • Post #15 - July 20th, 2020, 2:48 pm
    Post #15 - July 20th, 2020, 2:48 pm Post #15 - July 20th, 2020, 2:48 pm
    watson wrote:We made this recipe for coconut-braised collard greens a few times when collards were part of our Top Box delivery. Really delicious!

    Thanks, watson. That's behind a paywall, but I've hit upon a few other coconut-braised greens recipes that sound good.
    -Mary
  • Post #16 - July 20th, 2020, 4:59 pm
    Post #16 - July 20th, 2020, 4:59 pm Post #16 - July 20th, 2020, 4:59 pm
    Here's a quick paraphrase for you:

    1.5 to 2 lbs. collards, 1 T. unsalted butter, 1 T. coconut oil, 6-8 thinly sliced scallions, 1.5 c. coconut milk, 1 T. soy sauce, salt and pepper.

    Wash and coarsely chop greens. Heat butter + oil over med-high until shimmering; add scallions and cook for 1 minute, then add greens and stir until wilted (about a minute). Add coconut milk + soy sauce; simmer uncovered about 7 minutes for crisper greens and 10 minutes for softer. Season with s&p.
  • Post #17 - July 21st, 2020, 7:54 am
    Post #17 - July 21st, 2020, 7:54 am Post #17 - July 21st, 2020, 7:54 am
    Thanks, watson! That's similar to another one I found. This is on the menu for tonight.
    -Mary
  • Post #18 - July 22nd, 2020, 9:03 am
    Post #18 - July 22nd, 2020, 9:03 am Post #18 - July 22nd, 2020, 9:03 am
    I made a version of coconut milk braised greens. Diced an onion and cooked 4-5 minutes until soft. Added a minced garlic clove and ginger and cooked 1 minute. Added de-stemmed and chopped greens, 5-8 minutes until wilted. Added 1/2 cup chicken broth (plus more if needed), juice of half a lime, 1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk, salt, red pepper flakes. Simmer until tender.*

    * I had looked at a number of recipes along with the guidance from the NYT that watson listed above. The simmering time suggestions ranged from 10-15 minutes to 1.5 hours. Mine probably ended up going 45-60 minutes because I wanted them more tender. They turned out great.

    Image
    -Mary
  • Post #19 - July 22nd, 2020, 3:37 pm
    Post #19 - July 22nd, 2020, 3:37 pm Post #19 - July 22nd, 2020, 3:37 pm
    The GP wrote:I made a version of coconut milk braised greens.


    Wowsers!
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #20 - July 22nd, 2020, 5:00 pm
    Post #20 - July 22nd, 2020, 5:00 pm Post #20 - July 22nd, 2020, 5:00 pm
    Coconut-braised anything is ubiquitous in Filipino food. Where greens are concerned, that's usually laing sa gata, made with taro leaves. Of course, you can sub lots of greens for those to excellent effect. Some onion, coconut, typically bagoong, and often shrimp or pork for flavor. It's a pretty regular side dish when we cook for friends.

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