It’s Winter in Central Ohio which means gray skies, moderately cold weather and occasionally snow/ice. I’ve had the fortune to have a friend who is into hiking outdoors with me who happens to be from the South and a recent Ohio transplant. His experience of losing an established support network of friends and family remind me of Eddie’s and my years in Texas. We were lucky to have each other a colleague once told me.
Relocation has both an ambiguous set of challenges and exciting set of reinventions. It’s through making new friends and exploring the region and it’s traditions that you typically find more of the latter than the loneliness of the former.
Being back in Ohio, the phrase “you can’t go home” has crossed my mind every so often. Which of course we proved wrong. It’s through sharing stories like the ones I’ve heard our new Southern friend talk about related to Louisiana, among other places, that have highlighted the things Eddie and I brought back from Texas. Things like beets, greens, brisket, BBQ, slow roasted pork shoulder, Tex Mex… and so on.
While making this dish from a collection of items we had on hand including a bunch of yellow and red beets & fresh collard greens I had one of those moments. I thought about the vegetable co-op in Oakcliff Texas where I first started playing with beets and greens. The restaurant down the road where I discovered chicken and waffles (with gravy), and the sheer volume of Summer heat and depth of blue in the Texas sky. All that and the feeling of loneliness that cast a tone over much of the time we spent there.
I think what this dish and my Winter hikes with our new friend have reminded me of is our experiences are all much more similar than we normally think. Flavors imprint people, times and places on our hearts. It’s a a great thing to find new ones. It can be transcendent however when you share it with old, and if you are very lucky, new friends.
Note on the pictures; we saw a bunch of wild turkeys on our most recent hike so I threw a snapshot into the mix to add a visual association to the recipe for the sake of tone.
- 2 bu. of collard greens, stems removed & chopped into bite
- sized pieces
- 1 bu. beets, washed well (use beet greens, chard, kale or
- spinach to supplement the collard greens if you need to)
- 1 entire bulb of garlic, minced
- 1 to 2 c. cooked white beans
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- Wrap the beets in foil, place them on a cookie sheet and put them into a preheated 400° oven for about 45 minutes to an hour or so (or until they are tender).
- In the meantime, coat a large sauté pan with olive oil and gently heat. Over a low heat, toss in minced garlic and stir.
- Next, add in chopped collard greens and sauté until tender.
- Once the beets are cooked, remove from oven and let cool for about 30 minutes or so. Open the beets and remove the skin with your fingers (they should come off easily).
- Cut the roasted beets into bite sized chunks and add to the collard green sauté mixture and stir.
- Lastly, add the cooked beans and warm the sauté mixture.
- Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Enjoy!