On page 22-23 of this magazine, there are four sautés. They just kind of look like blobs of dark green stuff, so it’s difficult to tell at first glance what you’re supposed to do with the “in season winter greens” pictured. Just eat them? A quick glance at the under 100 calorie nutrition information for all of them should tell you that, no…you’ll starve. In steps the bubble on page 23. It states, “Enjoy the sautés as sides, toss with pasta for a main course (the chard’s great with Asian noodles), or serve on crostini.” I said, “Ok, bubble. I’ll buy it.” So I made the kale, the beet greens, and the chard.
I’m going to get the less than awesome experiences out of the way first so I can end on a high note. Ok. The bubble said (and when has a bubble ever lied to me?) that the chard is great with Asian noodles. I still had a good amount of rice noodles in the pantry from the beef salad way back when. I asked for suggestions on how to get these things out of my house, internet, and the silence was deafening. Deafening. Either we are all at a loss for what to do with rice noodles or someone has the secret and she’s keeping it from me. *narrows her eyes…* Easy peasy, I’ll toss the spicy chard with ginger sauté with the rice noodles. Here’s the important word in that recipe that you must pay attention to: “spicy.” The recipe has two sliced jalapeños in it. There’s no mention of seeding them, removing the ribs, or anything. That’s two jalapeños and to balance that out?… chard and ginger. Fun fact about chard and ginger: they do jack squat to cool down jalapeños. I made this recipe as written and it was physically painful to eat. And I love spicy food. I put it on the rice noodles thinking, “Here we go. The noodles will cool it down.” Nope. At this point, it was either throw it out or start doctoring it.
Paging Dr. P. Nutbutter!
I added a pretty considerable amount of peanut butter to the sauté. Maybe a 1/4 cup. It was still spicy, but not punishing. As the final touch, I served it with diced mangoes and pineapple on the side. Finally, after all that, we ate dinner. Whew!
The upside: if you’re going to make this recipe, I highly recommend making a peanut butter-based sauce to put on top. I added a 1/4 cup of peanut butter. I could also see a mixture of peanut butter, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar, not unlike my beloved Sesame Noodles. You will also want to serve this on noodles. I also recommend serving it with a cooling side. If I did this again, frankly, I would also use only one jalapeño and take out the seeds and ribs. Or coat your mouth with wax like Homer does before he eats the Guatemalan insanity peppers. Upside to that plan, you get to meet a space coyote.
Then there’s the beet greens with bacon, which has the opposite problem. It’s pretty boring. Maybe the problem is that I tried to make all of these sautees into main dishes when this one should really just be a side dish.
With that out of the way, we have an unqualified winner of a recipe to report: Kale with Tomato, Garlic, and Thyme. This one is as quick and easy as it is delicious. Sauté some veggies, boil some kale, boil some pasta (I think I might have used the same water), and toss it with salt, pepper, and oil. C’mon! Also, with the nice garlic and thyme, plus the intense green flavor of the kale, this prevents this recipe from becoming one of those dreaded Everyday Food pasta with no sauce recipes.