Over the course of 29.9 years, I’ve ever so slowly heeded my parents’ advice, or demands, rather. I’ve eaten my vegetables. And I take that back – I’ve heeded my mom’s advice; my dad despises any food that’s green. In fact, he just hates green altogether.
My mama though, she bonded with my dad’s family over collard greens like you wouldn’t believe. Even though my parents are divorced, she still comes to Aunt Faye’s house for Christmas dinner with us, and I’m sure those collard greens are in the top three on her agenda. She eats beans and carrots and broccoli, and she never understood why even eating one spoonful (my “no, thank you” serving) was almost as bad as having one’s mouth washed out with soap, perhaps worse.
I remember it all very clearly. I remember those canned green beans, the fresh-from-gramma’s peas, and those lumps o’ mustard greens at Christmas that were dumped into a bowl and eerily similar to creamed spinach, without the cream. They all scared me; they were soft and chewy, reminiscent of baby food (except the mashed bananas, which I continued to eat for quite some time) and when paired with barbecue chicken and french fries, it was hard to take even one bite, let alone an entire serving.
I like to think that, had my mom fed me a dish of sauteed chard with steak and edamame, that I wouldn’t have turned my nose up at it. But since she didn’t, I’ll never know whether introducing chard in adolescence would have been a pivotal moment in my opinion of and love for greens, or not.
Though you’d think the sirloin would play a major role in this dish since it’s the primary source of protein, it actually takes a back seat, and the green components are really what stand out here. The chard is perfectly, barely-wilted and the edamame add a wonderful crunch; herbs thrown in at the end add freshness and brightness. Toss it all around with caramelized onions, asian flavors, and a new favorite of mine, red rice, and you’ve got yourself one lovely, healthy, vegetable-lovin’ dish; the steak happily lurks in the background.
So sure, years 1-25 were not full of vitamins A, K, and beta-carotene, but they are now, and happily so. My mom can finally be proud of her little daughter’s food choices. I doubt she even eats chard or kale, but I know it makes her happy that I finally do.
Collard greens? Southern I may be, but still, “no, thank you”.
Stir-Fried Red Rice w/ Sirloin, Edamame, & Chard
Adapted from Food & Wine, March 2010; serves 4
1/2 c red rice
1 c water
3 T canola oil
8 oz thinly sliced sirloin steak
salt and pepper
1 lg vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 T minced fresh ginger
1 bunch red swiss chard, thinly sliced
1 c shelled edamame, fresh or thawed
3 T reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 c cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 T mint, coarsely chopped
lime wedges, for garnish
in a small saucepan, cover rice with water and bring to boil. cover saucepan and cook on low for about 25 minutes, until rice is tender. spread rice out on baking sheet to cool. can be made in advance and stored until needed.
in a large skillet, heat 1 T oil. add garlic and cook over mod-hi heat for 30 seconds. add sirloin, season with salt and pepper and cook, turning once, until browned – about 1 minute. transfer to plate.
heat remaining 2 t oil. add onion and ginger and cook over mod heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. stir in greens and stir fry over high heat until wilted, about 1 minute. stir in rice and edamame, then soy sauce and steak and stir well. season with salt and pepper. garnish with cilantro, mint, and lime wedges.