My Ginkgo tree is the most beautiful tree in the neighborhood. When I was a kid, my Grandma gave my brother and me some ginkgo trees to plant.
Mine did wonderfully. My brother’s – 25 years later, after being moved twice – still struggles.
Each November, my tree blushes to a beautiful shade of gold . Then, almost as quickly as the Klimt-like gilt had arrived, the leaves drop. They form a beautiful golden carpet of nutrient-giving riches.
As the early winter breezes blow, the leaves are tossed throughout our garden. The small, fan-shaped, ginkgo leaves tuck themselves into bed with the late season cilantro sprouts and recently planted salad greens.
These golden fans also tumble into beautiful comforters around our kale, collards, Brussels’ sprouts, and cabbage. As it gets colder, these sturdy greens seem to thrive. And they deliver a sweetness that they don’t have during their less rehearsed and sweatier summer performances.
Recipes For Fall
There are many great recipes for these festive fall greens. You may decide to preserve them as Sauerkraut or transform them into an inspired Korean kimchee. I love making a Brazilian style dish of thinly shaved collards, quickly sautéed with garlic and olive oil.
Late-winter greens can also be quickly blanched and used as wrapping paper to fold around various meat and vegetable stuffings during the holiday season. Although my ginkgo tree will most likely continue to be more beautiful than other arbors in the neighborhood, I’m comforted that she’ll save herself-defacing focus on generating fertile fodder for a festival of late-winter greens.
A Gift Lasting Through The Seasons
Her’s is a health-giving gift, which invigorates us during these bone-chilling times. Days after the farmers markets have closed, we still get to enjoy the squash, apples, and pears that have been turned to pies, cobblers, and soup. During these times, I look hopefully at the strong skeleton of my gingko tree.
Couve a Mineira (Brazilian Style Collard Greens)
Serves 4 to 6. Garlic and shallots add just the right amount of tang and flavor to this traditional, yet simple side dish.
Golden Greens: Couve a Mineira (Brazilian Style Collard Greens)
- 2 bunches collard greens
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large shallot, minced (about 1/3 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- freshly grated lemon zest
- freshly minced ginger
- sea salt, to taste
- ground pepper, to taste
- Cut tough end stems off collard greens. Rinse leaves and gather them together into 2 piles. Take each pile and roll it tightly. Cut them into thin strips crosswise. You should have about 8 cups.
- Heat oil and butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Sauté shallot with garlic, stirring often, until they are lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
- Add greens and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until greens are tender but bright green.
- Add lemon zest and ginger and stir to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasoning. Collards should be crunchy but tender. If they aren’t tender enough add a touch of water.