Friday, June 18, 2010

Go Greens!

My first recipe for using up all those Dark Leafy Greens you get this time of year in your CSA produce box is a Greek Green Calzone.  Or, if you aren't a CSA member but are feeling a little nutrient-deprived, go buy some greens and eat 'em like this!

Now, I'm no nutritionist, but I used to do a lot of reading on dietary habits and pitfalls as part of my graduate work.  One thing I know for sure is that most people rarely eat greens like kale, swiss chard, and the tops of radishes and beets except on New Year's Day in the South.  Greens are, calorie for calorie, one of the most concentrated sources of nutrition of any food. They are rich in vitamins and minerals (K, C, E, and many of the B's, iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium).  Plus, they provide a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which protect our cells from damage and our eyes from age-related problems, among many other effects. Perhaps the star of these nutrients is Vitamin K. A cup of most cooked greens provides at least nine times the minimum recommended intake of Vitamin K.... Nine Times!  Research has found roles for Vitamin K in blood clotting, inflammation, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis and even diabetes.

OK, no more geeky science and nutrition talk.  Let's eat!

Here are the greens I started with (swiss chard, radish greens, and beet greens):

Basically, on Sundays when I pick up my produce box, if there are any greens I immediately take them home, chop them off of their "roots" (beets, turnips, etc), and throw them into my sink that is filled with cold, highly salted water.  The salt helps pull off any bugs that might be present (they did come off a farm after all) and shaking them around in the water removes most of the dirt.

I pulled off all of the thicker, tougher stems, then roughly chopped all my greens and put in a colander in the sink to drain off some of the water. I'm guessing I have approximately 5-6 cups of greens here.
I chopped up 6 scallions, and threw them into a big saute pan with some garlic.  Then started adding my greens, letting them wilt and cook for about 10min or so.

** This is literally all of those greens that you saw in the sink and bowl above.

I put the cooked greens back into the colander in the sink to let them drain.  Once they were cool enough to handle I squeezed as much liquid out as I could and place them in a bowl.  I added some salt, pepper, feta (maybe 3oz?), parmesan (2-3 tbsps?), and roughly a tablespoon each of dried dill, dried oregano, and fresh basil.  I'm not really sure about those measurements because I just sprinkled and tasted... when it tasted right, I stopped seasoning it.  Simplicity!  Once the tasting/seasoning was over, I added an egg and mixed it in (see picture at the top).

Next, I whipped together an easy dough in the KitchenAid by mixing 1 cup of whole wheat flour, 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1 tbsp red wine vinegar.  I had to sprinkle in slightly more flour because my dough seemed too tacky, and you should start with the above measurements and adjust accordingly.  Wrap dough in plastic and let it relax in the fridge for about an hour or overnight.
Yay!  Dough is done!  Time to make some calzones baby!  And thank god cuz I'm hungry!  Wow, I'm actually getting hungry writing this.....

I divided the dough into 4 equal pieces and rolled it out to about 8" diameter and plopped 1/4 of my greens mixture toward the bottom edge like so:
*nice shadow of me taking the picture... doh!
Fold the top edge down to meet the bottom and pinch together decoratively like so:
Obviously this is just me trying to be Miss Fancy-Pants, the easier method is just to bring the top edge down and crimp it with a fork.

After forming them, I put my 'zones on a floured baking sheet while I heated up 1/4" of vegetable oil in a saute pan (same one as before, just wiped clean with a paper towel... yeah, some call it lazy, I call it no dishwasher = use as little cookware as possible.
 Oh look!  Another stupid shadow of me taking the picture...

Cook the calzones in the hot oil about 3min per side, look for golden brown crunchiness.  Clap your hands for some finished Greek Green Calzones!  Yay!

These came out super-tasty but slightly dry on the inside.  Maybe I squoze... squoze? squeezed? hmmm...  squoze out too much water from the greens.  Next time I think I might add some ricotta to the filling for more creaminess since feta doesn't really melt.  Because of the dry-ness, I made a last-minute dipping sauce by microwaving cream cheese (to soften), then adding some light cream, dried dill, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  Boyfriend said that the dipping sauce improved the meal tremendously... however, anything with a sauce is a winner in his mind.  The man just loves sauce, what can I say?

The dough was perfection.  I'll be using that dough recipe again and again. We drank beer with this (we were going to play kickball and drink lots o' beer later... just wanted to stay consistent) but a light and fragrant white wine would have been wayyyyy better.

Oh, and the leftovers were not soggy and gross as I predicted... even tasted pretty damn good cold, right out of the fridge.

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