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Entries in collards (4)


How to wash kale, collards, chard, and other greens

Some kitchen workers must not know how to wash kale or other greens. All too often when I eat out, I bite down on unexpected grittiness in the greens. Yet it's easy to get greens clean if you use a wash tub and a little patience. Save time and water by choosing easy-to-clean greens.

washing beet greens in a tub

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SNAPcut Challenge Day 4 - Pizza, Carrot Cake, & Vinegar

Pizza can be healthy and affordable if you make it yourself. And as odd as all get-out, too. Take this pizza, for example. The crust is my Whisk Pizza Crust from Wildly Affordable Organic, with regular (red) whole wheat flour in place of the white whole wheat flour. The next layers are mashed Cuban Black Beans, steamed collard leaves (no stems), the pizza sauce from Fifty Weeks of Green minus the olive oil, and sliced yellow onion.

My Taster said, "It's not your best work," and he was right, but if I could order this from a pizza delivery service during crazy busy times, I'd put them on speed dial. The trick is to the tomato sauce on top of the steamed collard leaves. The collards won't burn and are barely noticeable.  This pizza is not nearly as good as my pizza with hummus and roasted butternut squash, but it answers my brain's call for pizza  pizza pizzai. It does so much more affordably and with much less fat than Papa Domino would.

This low-fat, dairy-free pizza with black beans, collards, tomato sauce, and onions is easy to make and pretty darn good. From the #SNAPcut Challenge at

Ginger-Glazed Carrot Cake

This cake is a good example of how to swap ingredients ...

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Riding the Wave of Winter Greens

Winter is all about greens: collards, kale, chard, mustard, and more. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to see so much leafy goodness in your CSA box or at the farmers' market. Try these tips to make the most of these delicious super-foods.

Storing Winter Greens

Check your mess o’ greens when you get home. Remove any leaves past their primes: one sneaky slimy bit can ruin a bundle. Use them as soon as you can, but fresh leaves will keep in a plastic bag or a container in your vegetable drawer for up to a week. Cooked greens keep for about four days refrigerated or a year frozen. In July when it's too hot to cook, you'll be very glad to thaw and heat some local, sauced greens.

Cooking Winter Greens

Steaming is a particularly fast and healthy way to cook greens. Bonus: a few minutes over hot water will shrink a bagful of leafy greens down to a handful or two. Get the most value from your greens by cooking the stems as well as the leaves. Just cook the stems about five minutes longer than the leaves.

To get the most nutritional value from collards, steam them until just tender. That’s when they bind the most bile, which helps lower cholesterol and reduce fat absorption, according to a 2008 study in Nutrition Research. The researchers urge us to eat our steamed greens to ” lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, advance human nutrition research, and improve public health.” Now that’s a mouthful!

  • Raw. Kids love the sweet crunch of collard stems. Add mustard greens to your salads to make them spicy and sliced bok choy for crispy crunch. Add apples and raisins to raw collard shreds for a Sweet and Tart Collard Tangle, perfect for people who don't like the smell of greens cooking.
  • Rich. Steam big batches of greens in lime-peanut sauce. Eat some now and freeze the rest.
  • Sweet. Saute onions and the stems of greens with onions. Cut the leaves into ribbons and add to the stems when the onion is tender with a minced clove of garlic. Toss in a handful of raisins and chopped walnuts to add sweetness and texture.
  • Strong. If you love assertive flavors, try my Grown-Up Mustard Greens. Mustard greens come with a built-in whiff of horseradish. Some recipes tame them by boiling and draining. I'd rather cook them with onion, garlic, and jalapeño, then steam until tender but still springy-chewy.
  • Tender. Stir-fry thinly sliced bok choy stems with a little oil, garlic, and ginger for about five minutes, then add thinly sliced leaves and cook for another minute.Stop there or add three-quarter cup water or chickpea broth, cover, and simmer for about nine minutes until very tender. Finish with a splash of rice vinegar.
  • Toothsome. Grilling bok choy concentrates its flavors.
  • Downright odd but delicious. Try my Hot Collard Courage Sandwich with Peanut Butter and Pickles. This recipe also helps solve the "what to do with all those daikons and turnips?" question.

Where do greens come from?

  • Bok choy, also called pak choi or white mustard cabbage, comes from China. The botanical name, Brassica rapa chinensis, reflects its origin:. The Chinese, who already knew where it came from, call it white vegetable. Varieties much like those we enjoy today were grown in 14th century in the Zhejiang, a province along China’s east coast. Over the centuries, northern Chinese farmers got on the bok-choy bandwagon.
  • Wild chard grows in the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean, with sightings from India to coastal Britain. Aristotle referred to red-stemmed chard in 350 B.C. and Chinese writers mention it in the 7th century, says Sturtevant. What about Switzerland, you ask? In the 1800s, purveyors of fine seeds called this leafy green Swiss chard to distinguish it from the French chardon or thistle.
  • Collards are mild, broad-leafed members of the cabbage family grown in Europe and the Mediterranean for two thousand years and at least since the 1700s in West Africa. Some sources say British and European colonists first brought collard seeds to the United States; others say they came with the slave trade by way of Haiti and West Africa. The inexpensive, easily grown greens became a staple of Southern soul food.
  • Wild mustard comes from India, where it has been grown for about five thousand years.

Kids won't eat their greens? Try raw collard stems! Really!

When I first saw Scott Smith, the first organic farmer at North Carolina Farmers' Market in Raleigh, he was telling a French family about Southern greens. Some people find collards bitter, he said. But kids like to eat the stems raw.

Scott broke off a piece of raw collard stem and offered it to Dylan (right) and his mother. "Try it," Scott urged. "It's sweet."

Dylan hesitated, bite, and broke into a big smile. "It's good!"

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