17 March 2014

Waiting and working

According to the tracking information provided by Amazon.fr and Chronopost.fr, my computer is on the delivery truck, which is on the road. It comes from Tours, about 45 minutes west of here. Now I have to wait.

Walt has to go out this morning, to the lab to have blood drawn for routine tests. I have to stay here until he gets home, just in case the delivery truck pulls up early. When he gets back, I can go out for the walk with the dog. One of us has to be here to receive the delivery whenever the truck shows up. In the past, deliveries have shown up as early as 8:00 a.m.

The collards right out of the garden, still on the stem, after a first washing... I found one slug and no bugs.

Meanwhile, I decided yesterday morning that there was at least one time-consuming task that I needed to get behind me before the new computer arrives: harvesting and processing some more greens for the freezer. The plants were starting to bolt. I forced myself to go out there in the cold with the required tools, and I did it.

A big basket of collard leaves that have been stripped off the thick, rough stems

I pulled each plant out of the ground and then cut off the root ball to leave the dirt behind. I put the greens, still on the stems, into a big plastic container and hauled them to the outdoor spigot, where I gave the plants a good washing. Then I brought them upstairs and washed them again with the shower attachment in the bathtub (which we never use except for washing house plants). I cut all the leaves off the stems, pretty much one by one, and then I washed the leaves again in a large bucket of water, trimming them to remove any blemishes.

After I packed the greens into containers for the freezer, I poured a little bit of the cooking liquid, known as "pot liquor," into each.

The greens were ready to cook. These are collard greens, and the leaves are small and very tender because it's springtime and we had a mild winter. I cooked them in a big stainless steel pot with water, duck fat, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. They required only 45 to 60 minutes of cooking to be extremely tender. I packed the greens in saved crème fraîche containers, and they came to exactly six pounds, without the cooking liquid — that's not quite three kilos.

I like to cook and eat greens like spinach. So-called bitter greens like collards, kale, and mustard are good cooked with animal fat (bacon or duck), or in chicken broth, and served with hot red pepper sauce or vinegar at the table. They are also good chopped up and put into soups — white bean soup, for example — with pork or poultry sausages. The hot pot liquor is good to dip bread or cornbread in when you eat the greens.

22 comments:

  1. I get something from my aged orchard neighbour that looks a lot like your collards. He calls them broccoli, but Tim reckons they are collard greens. They stir fry very well, and the aged one recommends just wilting them with boiling water and serving them with mayo. I made a delicious beef in black bean stirfry the other day with these greens added. They are so fresh I couldn't bear to cook them for too long, so stirfrying or steaming seems ideal to me. They are mild tasting and tender. As you know, I don't always like cabbagey things, but these make a nice change and my digestive system copes with them fine. Simon is not so keen.

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  2. Susan, the collards I processed yesterday are tender like that — much more tender than the ones I used to get in California or the ones my mother gets in North Carolina. I realized that yesterday when they cooked so fast. I'm sure they can be sauteed like kale and be tender and tasty. I still have some plants in the garden, so I'll try that with them. Do you want some seeds?

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    Replies
    1. Yes please to seeds. As they overwinter they will suit me fine as a crop. How's the new puter going?

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    2. I have some packets of seeds. I'll look to make sure they aren't too old. And I can and will bring some packets back from N.C. in mid-April.

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    3. Oh, and re: the computer, two of my old favorite applications installed successfully and seem willing to run on Windows 8, which has been busy downloading and installing more than 100 updates this afternoon. Right now I'm downloading the upgrade files for Windows 8.1. So much excitement for March Monday. March Madness, really.

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  3. Newsiness: the delivery truck arrived at 8:20 this morning. I'm just about to turn the new computer on for the first time.

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  4. What a cliffhanger! Have fun with your new computer. Don't give in to the temptation to throw it out of the window at some point.
    We've collard greens to process too, plus red cabbage that have "monté en graines". And seeds to sow, and trees to plant, and mowing, and spring cleaning...

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    Replies
    1. Never a dull moment, n'est-ce pas, P.?

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  5. Windows 8? A Mac this time? A desk computer or a laptop?

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    1. Ellen, sorry. Windows 8. So far I'm not thrilled. It's an Acer desktop. More tomorrow, if I make any progress...

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  6. Cool beans about the new computer! And, big congrats on a greens job well done.

    Are greens like this ever a normal part of any French cuisine? Do you find anything negative about freezing them, or do you enjoy them just as much as freshly cooked?

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  7. Oops! That was me up there as Simpson Chabot... that's our joint account-- forgot I was signed in.

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    1. Judy, hi, people in France eat chard, cabbage, and brussels sprouts, but not collards or kale much, as far as I know. Collard greens and kale -- all the greens -- freeze really well, like spinach.

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  8. Even if I had greens in my back yard, here in Northern Virginia, I could not see them this morning because we've had our weekly snow storm during the night [10 cm +]. It has stopped right now, but it is supposed to be snowing all day! No need to say I don't plan to go anywhere soon. Hope your mother is okay in North Carolina.

    Good luck with fiddling with your new computer. You'll probably say at one point, " Pourquoi faire simple, quand on peut faire compliqué"!

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    1. Bonjour CHM, je l'ai déjà dit plusieurs fois ! J'ai fini par commander, à mon insu, un ordinateur sans adaptateur wifi incorporé. Et bien sûr, les adaptateurs USB wifi que j'ai ne sont pas compatibles avec Windows 8. Pour l'heure, j'ai une liaison filaire entre l'ordinateur et le routeur. Ça marche. Demain, j'irai essayer de trouver et d'acheter un adaptateur compatible.

      Je ne sais pas quel temp il fait en Caroline du Nord. Faudra que je regarde Accuweather, si je un moment d'émoussé (MDR).

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  9. You are having quite a winter in VA, CHM. My brother keeps me posted about your snow events. Just rain here in 'Bama, but enough already!
    Hang in there, Ken! Your new computer has a good birthday- you should name it Patty.

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  10. Hmm, I meant to spell that PADDY

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    1. I guess I should set my desktop background color to emerald green!

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  11. chm, only weekly snow? You've been lucky compared to us! Though here in the hills of PA, we think VA is in the tropics.

    Ken, you are an intrepid man. I know you will wrestle that new computer into submission.

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    1. Carolyn, my impression was that Virginia was in the "Deep" South, but never considered it as being in the tropics, even though summers can be scorching. LOL

      In my forty years living in NoVa, I don't recall having that much snow that late in the season, and on a weekly basis!

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  12. So far, it's me: 2, computer: 2. But I've got firefox working, and my external USB drive with all my photos on it!

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