It’s come to my attention lately that not only do I love creating and developing recipes, I really enjoy sharing them with people. There’s something really humbling about being able to create a nourishing meal for someone with your own two hands. It’s as if they can feel the love and thought put into it whether it’s a simple soup or a towering layer cake. There are so many great MFK Fisher quotes about this idea, but this is one of my favorites: “I am more modest now, but I still think that one of the pleasantest of all emotions is to know that I, I with my brain and my hands, have nourished my beloved few, that I have concocted a stew or a story, a rarity or a plain dish, to sustain them truly against the hungers of the world.” –MFK Fisher
I’ve been itching to share my love of nourishing food with more people lately. It’s been something at the forefront of my mind for the past several months. I awake and drift off to sleep thinking about it. Last month I had the privilege to make the meals for the Satori Texas Wellness Retreat at the lovely Chinquapin Ranch. All of the meals I made for the attendees were plant based and gluten free with the majority of them being my own recipes. I think it’s safe to say they loved every meal and often there were battles over the leftovers. It was an amazing experience and one that has me thirsting for more.
Though this is not a recipe I made at the retreat, it’s one that I frequently make in my own kitchen year-round. I sometimes change the spices or the greens up depending on how I’m feeling or what is seasonally available, but the version I’m sharing is my favorite as of late. And, it makes a perfect side dish for all of the holiday meals that are quickly approaching. You can think of it as an updated and healthier take on creamed spinach if you like. If you feel like making this dish into more of a substantial meal, you can serve it over your favorite cooked grain (rice, millet, quinoa, etc.).
Coconut Milk Braised Collard Greens
notes: If you don’t have access to collard greens you can use another hearty green such as kale though your cooking time will be closer to 8-10 minutes. If you don’t have a mortar & pestle, you can use your cutting board and the butt end of your knife.
1/2 tsp whole yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 heaped tbsp coconut oil
1/2 of a red onion, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 can of full fat coconut milk
1 bunch of collards, thinly sliced
sea salt to taste
lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to serve
Toast the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and red pepper flakes in a dry pan set over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until very fragrant. Remove the seeds from the pan and put them into a mortar (or small food processor). Add the ginger, garlic, and a tiny pinch of salt to the spices, then use the pestle to gently crush everything into a rough paste. Set this mixture aside for the time being.
In a pan set over medium heat, warm the coconut oil. Add the onion, bay leaf, and a pinch of salt. Cook the onion for 5-7 minutes until it starts to turn golden brown. Once the onion has turned golden brown, add the spice paste and cook for about 1 minute. Add the coconut milk to the pan. Once the coconut milk comes to a simmer, add a pinch of salt and all of the collard greens. Cover the pot to allow the collards to cook down. Continue to cook the collards in this manner for 12-15 minutes until they are tender, stirring every few minutes. When the collards are ready, taste and add more salt or pepper if desired. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a splash of apple cider vinegar. Serves 4-6 as a side dish or 2-4 as a main dish.