One of the many things I love about living in the South is being able to mow the lawn in December.
Even though we had an unseasonable cold snap last month, the weather has relented once again, returned to its softer nature and smiling upon our lawn, turning it green and sprightly beneath its blanket of autumn leaves.
I confess I enjoy mowing the lawn any time of the year (it's such a meditative, instantly gratifying form of exercise), but there's something especially precious about the greenery that requires trimming in the wintertime... For, as I push the mower along, wearing a T-shirt, I know that much of the world is blanketed in snow!
Zach, on the other hand, adores snow. And, since tomorrow morning we fly to Maryland for 4 days, we are likely to see at least a bit of Zach's favorite weather.
Before we depart, however, I'm savoring my southland for as long as possible, and cooking bountiful batches of a classic southern food - fragrant, crisp, earthy collard greens... (this time Israeli style, in honor of another part of the world where I've enjoyed warmth and sunshine year 'round!)
Israeli-Style Collard Greens
3 T olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 12 oz collard greens, coarsely chopped 1 (14 oz) can chickpeas 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional - leave the feta out for a vegan dish, or use some toasted seasoned bread crumbs instead... Or some browned tofu cubes! Yum!)
~ In a large skillet, saute the garlic and red pepper flakes in the olive oil over medium-high heat very quickly, just until the garlic sizzles, then toss in the collard greens. ~ Saute the collard greens until they begin to wilt, then cover the pan and let them steam a bit until the stalks are tender (5 minutes or so), stirring occasionally. ~ Remove the lid, stir in the chickpeas, and saute a bit more until the chickpeas are heated through. ~ Reduce the heat to low, and fold in the feta just until it begins to melt (if you're using the feta). ~ Season to taste with sea salt, and serve sizzling hot!