Sunday, November 10, 2013

When it comes to food, green -- not greed -- is good

Garlicky sauteed water spinach delivered by Lotus Cafe in Hackensack and plated the next morning with a homemade cheese-and-smoked-wild-salmon frittata and organic brown rice. 

By Victor E. Sasson

A new buffet restaurant opening soon in my hometown of Hackensack? That leaves me cold.

Eating as much as you can just to get a good deal seems like greed to me, and it can make you feel awful (see previous post).

Now, green is another story. In food, green is good -- even the mold added to blue cheese.

Spinach, bok choy, collard greens, kale -- it's all good.

H Mart and H&Y Marketplace, two chains of Korean supermarkets in Bergen County, are great places to find greens -- as many as 20 are offered in each store.

Baby bok choy and stewed tofu, both from H Mart, served with homemade organic quinoa. The bok choy was on sale for 68 cents a pound.

Chinese takeout is another way to add healthy greens to your diet.

We've switched to delivery from Lotus Cafe in Hackensack after the people who answer the phone at Zen Kitchen in Teaneck tried to add a ubiquitous brown sauce to nearly every dish.

The Lotus Cafe order of sauteed water spinach delivered along with a few other dishes on Friday night was filled with slices of fresh garlic -- one of our favorite preparations.

I brought home fresh baby spinach from a salad bar in the cafe at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, blanched it in boiling water, drained the pan, and added sesame oil and garlic powder. Here, I served it with leftover wild-caught haddock fillets from Costco Wholesale ($8.99 a pound) prepared in coconut milk with sweet pepper, garlic and onion.

Baby bok choy from H Mart with organic brown eggs from Costco Wholesale, above, and haddock in coconut milk over organic quinoa, below. The eggs are from cage-free hens that do not receive hormones or antibiotics.

There is nothing like fresh, leafy collaloo, a spinach-like green, served as a side dish with many a Jamaican meal on that sunny island, but here in New Jersey we have to make do with chopped and canned callaloo in brine (salted water).

This morning, we had callaloo prepared with salted cod fish, sweet pepper, onion and garlic.

Collaloo with salted cod fish, fresh tomato, sweet pepper, onion and garlic, left.


  1. I enjoy seeing the delicious dishes you prepare. I've never cooked baby bok choy before. Is a pan sear the best way to cook it?

    1. Thanks. With most greens, you can take a sort cut by blanching them in boiling water, then drain the pan and add seasoning, such as sesame or olive oil and garlic powder and a little salt.


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