We’ve had a couple of days of unseasonably warm weather with thermometers posting numbers typical of early summer at 70 degrees. For folks who are enthusiastic gardeners the remnants of summer edibles are holding their own in almost empty garden beds. I checked in with my friend and favorite gardener Sylvia to see what was still in the garden and she shared that her plot still has bitter greens and rutabagas.
Now the descriptor bitter may be a turn off to some, but most of the cooked greens folks love are in this family of
vegetables. Bitter is better—-bitter vegetables include kale, collards, chard, and arugula. Though we’ve enjoyed these last few days of warm weather Chicagoans know the brisk winds of “the hawk” will soon blow this way. That is good news for kale, collards and rutabagas. Back in the day my grandmother aka Gonga would say “those vegetables will be sweeter after the first frost.” Arugula and chard however will not fare well—they will shrivel and droop with wetness from frostbite.
Bitter foods are good things to include in your diet. They stimulate appetite and aid with digestion. They are good for you and contain plenty of vitamins. These greens can be slow simmered, sautéed or served raw in salads, on pizza or in sandwiches. Now if you don’t have a garden look for those veggies at the supermarket or produce stand. And in the new year, plan to grow your own!
Arugula Topped Pizza with Brie and Bacon
1 Stonefire thin artisan pizza crust
2 teaspoons olive oil
8-ozs. Brie cheese, rind removed, cut into cubes
4 slices crisply cooked bacon, crumbled
2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
Arugula, rinsed and well drained
2 tablespoons honey
Pre-heat oven to 450°. Brush crust with olive oil. Arrange Brie cubes on top of crust. Top with bacon and walnuts. Place on baking sheet and bake 6 to 7 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top pizza with arugula and drizzle with honey. Cut as desired to serve.