Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to School Time and Sweet and Sour Greens

Well, the countdown starts one week, I am back at work for staff orientation!  I always love this time of year...getting organized, getting the classroom set-up, and buying school supplies.  Just the same, it is always hard to say good-bye to the relaxation of summer.  I am pretty sure the kids have no clue that the teachers often feel the same way they do!

One of the things I am looking forward to this fall is taking a couple of cooking classes at Boston University's Metroplitan College. Have you ever taken any cooking classes?  My husband and I have taken a bunch of classes at BU in the past.  They are demonstration classes, often led by local chefs and food artisans as well as national chefs and cookbook authors.  Each chef spend a day with the BU Culinary students (did you know that program was founded by Julia Child and Jacques Pepin?), and then in the evening, they lead a demonstration class open to the public.  While they are showing you how to cook a few recipes, the BU students are preparing the dishes behind the scenes.  So you get to eat a delicious meal while absorbing everything that you can! We've seen Joyce Goldstein, Helen Chen, Iron Chef Jose Garces, Barbara Lynch, Joanne Chang and Michael Leviton, among others, in the past.  And my favorite part is that you often get to take a cookbook home with you.  Really, I have learned a lot this way.  And we've had a much better experience there than elsewhere in the city.  This semester I am really excited to see David Leite, author of The New Portuguese Table. 

To get your noggin ready for the fall, here is one of my favorite recipes for dark, leafy greens.  This comes together quickly, and it's a great side dish for baked beans, barbecued chicken, grilled sausage, etc.  I've used this recipe with both beet greens and collard greens in the past, and I would recommend trying it with any such green (kale, Swiss chard, even spinach).

Sweet and Sour Greens
serves 4-6
adapted from the American Dietetic Association's Cooking Healthy Across America

3 slices turkey bacon
2 tsp canola oil (approximate)
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp white vinegar
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
12 cups greens, washed, dried, trimmed of stems, and chopped coarsely

1. In a very large skillet (preferably non-stick), cook the turkey bacon according to package directions.  Get the flour, oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and 1/3 cup water ready to go.
2. Remove the bacon from the pan, but leave any fat that has melted off.  You are going to make a roux with the remaining fat and the flour.  Because different brands of turkey bacon have varying amounts of fat, you may need to add a little oil.  Eyeball it -- the goal is to have about a tablespoon of fat/oil in the pan.  Add the flour over medium heat, and whisk it.  It will make a very dry paste.
3. Add in the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Whisk together to make a thick sauce.  Reduce the heat to low.
4. Add the greens, one handful at a time, stirring after each addition.  Cover the skillet and allow the greens to steam for up to 15 minutes.  Stir frequently so the sauce doesn't just hang out on the bottom!
5. Crumble the bacon and stir back in before serving.


  1. I love taking cooking classes so this BU series sounds really interesting! I also really like the sweet and sour greens and they might be great with beet greens!

  2. It sounds very healthy and delicious. I used to try something like this with spinach. This looks really yummy :)

  3. I've taken a couple cooking classes, but the are $$ - $150 a class for hands on!

    I wish I liked kale, but your dish looks delicious!

  4. I have always wanted to take a cooking class! unfortunately there are no classes in my area! Hopefully when we move, I'll be able to take one!

  5. Fun and Fearless -- those are actually beet greens in the picture. I hate wasting food, and saved the tops from my beets a couple weeks ago. It was great!
    Tes -- I think spinach would be delicious.
    Biz -- We took a hands-on class once...but we've found that we enjoy the demo classes more. It's very relaxing after a ful day of work!
    Healthy Apron -- That's too bad! I guess we are lucky to be living outside of Boston!

  6. I need to get looking at that BU program! I love taking cooking classes. I took one at Brookline Adult Ed and I really enjoyed it!

  7. I have exactly one more week as well before school begins. Even though the hot summer temperatures haven't let up a bit, I'm feeling that fall is right around the corner. I love greens in the fall and this dish looks delicious! You are so lucky to live where you can get cooking classes! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  8. Mmm, looks so tasty! I'm excited about your cooking classes -- hope you love them!

  9. I wish I had known about those classes when I lived in boston! they sound awesome.

    These greens are just what I need to get my brain in gear!