Seasonal Kitchen: Winter Greens
Haven restaurant's Kim Alter gives us her favorite quick n' easy recipes for healthy greens.
Illustration: Lucinda Rogers
Execuctive Chef, Haven, Oakland
Rich in nutrients and low in calories, countless studies point to winter greens as some of the healthiest foods. To indulge in this season’s bounty, we asked Kim Alter, executive chef of Daniel Patterson’s new Haven restaurant in Jack London Square, for some quick and easy recipes. Alter brings serious veggie cred from cooking at Ubuntu in Napa and Manresa in Los Gatos, both of which source produce from nearby farms and gardens. Her advice? Focus on straightforward preparations that highlight the vegetable’s natural flavor while adding a few simple elements (citrus, garlic, chili flakes) to keep things interesting.
Health factor: Rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and several essential minerals.
Health factor: Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium and potassium.
Health factor: Rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and folate.
Sauteéd Bok Choy
“I love bok choy! I think it is easily accessible and tasty, but you never hear about people cooking with it. You can eat it as a snack or a side dish, and it’s so easy: It takes five minutes to cook.”
4 baby bok choy • 2 tablespoons olive oil • 1 clove of garlic, crushed • juice of 1
lemon • 1 teaspoon salt • 1 pinch chili flake • zest of 1/2 lemon
Cut the bok choy in half, leaving the vegetable intact, and dry it off. Heat a sauté pan, add oil, and place bok choy in pan facedown. Add garlic, and turn down heat to medium (if the pan is smoking too much, add water, and let burn off). For firm vegetables, cook for 2–3 minutes. Add lemon juice, salt, and chili flakes. Remove from heat, and add lemon zest. Use as a side dish, snack, or the whole meal.
Braised Kale Soup
“Kale is a really hearty vegetable, so I like to braise it to the point where it’s broken down but not totally hammered: You want it to have some toothsomeness, or heartiness, so you still get the flavor and nutrients.”
2 tablespoons olive oil • 1/2 medium
yellow onion • 1 carrot • 2 garlic cloves •
2 bunches lacinato kale • salt • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock • 2 pounds cleaned dirty girl cannelini beans (sub dried beans, if needed) • 1 teaspoon pimenton • 1 orange (zest the whole, juice half) • finishing olive oil • baguette
Heat olive oil in a medium size pot. Add small diced onions and carrot, then peeled garlic, and cook until onions are translucent. Add kale (remove most of the stem, and rough chop), and braise down till soft. Salt throughout the cooking process. Add stock and beans, and simmer until beans are cooked through. Add pimenton, orange zest, and juice. Transfer to serving bowl, and add finishing oil and baguette.
“Daniel Patterson and I were talking about this, and he said that this was his favorite go-to dish. When you broil it, I think you get such great texture, and you get that charred flavor that takes it to a different level than just steamed broccoli.”
1 head broccoli • 1 tablespoon olive oil • salt to taste • chili flakes to taste •
juice of one lemon
Remove the stems and rough chop the head of the broccoli. Place on a sheet tray with aluminum foil. Drizzle oil and salt, and place in oven on broil to almost char the tops. Cook to desired doneness: for a slight crunch, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chili flakes and lemon juice.