A plan for a no dig garden. Wow!
Already I am antsy to dig in the dirt. The collards, much distressed after a long hot summer of 100 days over 90degrees, are puttering along in the backyard. Lonely, and long abandoned by the kale, the collards are pitiful. Instead of picking collards for the New Years feast, I bought a healthier bunch from the grocery.
But finally the collards have some company. Late December's warm spell tricked the biannual parsley into sprouting. I have a healthy parsley bunch in a far corner nestled close to the warm bricks. I guess it is the residual heat that has helped the parsley through 20 degree temps and 5-10 degrees wind chills this last week. Still it thrives, outshining the collard stalks.
A word about collards: I have had collards last nearly two years and then self seed. The key is not harvesting the stalk. Rather, harvest the leaves from the bottom up. My first crop grew waist high and weathered 2 cold winters, with frost and even some light snow. The collards taste best when harvested after a good frost has set in. The cold softens the flavor which causes many people to shun it in the warmer pickings.
Modified from a Madhur Jaffrey recipe
Wash a bunch of collards.
Slice the stems from the leaves. Discard the stalk if it was harvested.
Finely chop the stems.
In a large soup pot,
add 3 TBSP of vegetable oil,
2 chopped cayenne peppers,
3 TBSP minced garlic.
Cook about a minute then add the chopped stems.
Stir to mix well.
Cook just a minute or two more to allow the garlic to cook, but not burn.
Then add just enough water to cover the stems.
Cook about 15-20 minutes, allowing the stems to change from bright green to dark green.
Add 2-3 vegetarian bouillon cubes. Knorr works great for me.
Next- the leaves.
Gather bunches of leaves and roll like a cigar.
Slice through the roll thinly.
When all the leaves are thinly sliced, add to the pot and add water an inch or two higher than the leaves.
Cook down 2 or 3 hours.
Allow the water to boil off leaving the seasoned greens behind. This is a very salty dish, so fewer bouillon cubes means less salt. If you've ever had Allen's Brand seasoned collards or mustard greens, you'll recognize the intense flavor.