Cooking in the moment with greens

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 19, 2011

There is something fun about spending a Saturday in a new place and eating at some different places with old friends. We did this a few Saturday’s ago in North Carolina, by going to the Chapel Hill area and visiting a farmer’s market in Carrboro, eating at Saxapahaw (I wrote about this place last fall), and eating at a really delicious restaurant call Lantern.

We began our journey at 8:30 a.m. and picked up our friends and traveled three hours (I know this is not eating local) to the Carrboro Farmer’s Market, in Carrboro, N.C. This one has a reputation for the best in the upscale North Carolina piedmont. The market is open year round in the Triangle area, which is not often the case with farmer’s markets, since some close in the winter.

Even though this was a cold morning with snow on the ground in places, the market was busy. There is a roof but it is not in an enclosed space. There was not as much offered as in the summer, but we were able to buy some really good local cheeses, bread, and some pastured pork sausage and pork chops. There were also winter vegetables, crafts, jellies and even an Indian woman cooking tasty Indian treats. I also bought a pork belly. I have more to say about it, but that is for another article.

After a little shopping along the way we drove on to Saxapahaw, about 10 miles from the market, and had our lunch. This is the place where the old Shell station got turned into a decent diner using the produce of local farmers. My husband and Alice had Cozy eggs with Succotash, now we all thought the cozy eggs sounded so nice, but actually it was the name of the farm where the eggs came from.

Larry and I had a meat loaf sandwich with caramelized onions, and boy was that tasty! We waited quite awhile for the meal but it was worth it! They just need a little more help in the kitchen. While I was there I bought a pasteurized beef chuck roast, which I have since cooked and it was really good.

Along the way to the night entertainment, my husband found a Camellia Nursery (actually this is why he wanted the trip), where he got to purchase several plants without paying the shipping. He was a happy man!

Our dinner reservation was at 5:30 p.m., so we stopped and had a drink at 411 Franklin in Chapel Hill. We ran into old friends there and got to catch up with what had been going on with them.

Gourmet magazine ranked Lantern as one of the 50 best restaurants in the country. The owner and chef is a young woman named Andrea Reusing. She has been nominated as a James Beard best chef of the Southeast in past years. She is known for serving locally grown pastured beef and pork. The restaurant has a definite Asian flavor, but the combinations of her spices and use of local produce left a definite impression on the palate. Some of her entrees included a whole fried red snapper, tea and spice smoked local chicken, coconut braised pork shoulder, steamed Arctic char with house-pickled ginger, lemongrass and onion cucumber-mint salad, crispy slow-cooked duck soup with fresh egg noodles….you can see what I am talking about.

If you are in the Chapel Hill area, go to eat at Lantern. I don’t think you will be disappointed. To view the appetizers, entrees, and desserts go to

I was flipping through the January 15, 2011, edition of the Wall Street Journal, and there was a section on fresh winter greens. There were recipes from top chefs and Andrea Reusing had a recipe from her new cookbook to be published in April 2011, Cooking in the Moment. I tried it and it was quite good. The ginger added that Asian flavor, but the recipe was simple and fresh. My husband just had enough baby collards in the garden.

Wilted Collards with Ginger and Shoyu

Serves 4 and is a flavorful dish to serve with roasted pork or steamed fish.

From Andrea Reusing of Lantern, Chapel Hill, NC; author of Cooking in the Moment (April, 2011, Clarkson Potter).

Blanch two pounds baby collard greens—stemmed, leaves cut into ½-inch strips—for 30 seconds in a large pot of boiling salted water and shock them in ice water. Drain and squeeze as dry as possible. Transfer collards to a large bowl and toss with your fingers to separate, adding two tablespoons shoyu or regular soy sauce and ¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil and distributing evenly. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add two tablespoons thinly julienned ginger, and two crumbled dried red chilies. Sauté for 1 minute, raise the heat to medium and add the collards. Season with salt and toss to coat. Add 2/3 cups chicken stock and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Season with additional salt, if necessary and serve.

Another recipe in the Wall Street Journal was from Deborah Madison, author of Local Flavors. Again it features greens with an Asian flavor. I did this recipe and with the rice it makes a complete meal.

Mustard Greens with Ginger, Cilantro and Rice

Serves 4-6

Heat three tablespoons olive oil in a wide heavy pot over medium heat. Add one onion, diced; ¼ cup white rice; two tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger; and 1 teaspoon ground cumin and paprika. Stir to coat with oil. Cook for two minutes, then add one cup chopped cilantro (leaves and stems) one cup chicken broth, two bunches mustard greens, stems removed. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, cover, and cook until volume reduces, about 10-15 minutes. Stir, reduce heat to low, cover and cook slowly for another 15 minutes. Check occasionally and if the pan seems dry add a little water. Serve warm or at room temperature, with plain yogurt spooned on top or just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

The farmer’s market in Carrboro had some recipes one could pick up. This was their recipe of the week using greens. This recipe was provided by, Linda Leach, from Pine Knot Farms.

Linda’s Fresh Green Salad


2 lbs. kale, collards, or any mixed greens

1 red onion (optional)

1 teaspoon sea salt


Wash, wash, and then rewash your greens.

Cut greens into bite size pieces.

Place in large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and allow to sit for a minimum of 30 minutes.


1 Cup extra virgin olive oil

1 clove of garlic

1 lime juiced (large)

¾ teaspoon of something sweet (Maple Syrup or Raw Sugar)

Mix together ingredients, pour over greens, allow to sit at least a couple of hours before serving.


Use any type of onion, lime or lemons, and any type of pepper. Also, may use a handful of raisins for something sweet.