Sometimes I have this fantasy where my biological father introduces himself with a check for $100, 000 and a letter that reads, Sorry I missed everything. Odd to weight the connection with finances, but money is something we all think about: am I making enough, how do I make more, how do I work less but maintain an income I'm comfortable with, how do I achieve stability, how do I strike it rich, win the lottery, open myself to receive some magical gift from the universe, some immaculate pecuniary conception?
Of course that's just a fantasy I allow myself in brief daydreams of grandeurs and could-be's. Daydreams are where it all starts. Hard work follows, then the rewards. I've been rewarding myself a paycheck for forty hours a week, three weeks running now and the schedule is beginning to tax my personal blogging routine. That's not a complaint, nor an excuse for not getting this up and out "on time." It is a justification, however. Not to mention this daylight savings routine is bullshit. I get up before the sun now, and it's not so nice for my sleepy head. But who am I? I'm thrilled and lucky to be living this life and can honestly say, as I've said many times in the last four years, I am exactly where I'm supposed to be. I just may not be as on top of my blogging as I'd like. C'est la vie.
In the South we eat collard greens on New Year's Day as a wish to the universe for money over the year to come. Spring is coming and my collards are bolting. The plants grow florets from the center stem that look like tiny broccoli (both in the brassica family) and which send a 'stop-growth' hormone out to the plant, telling it to quit growing, hot weather is coming. And they are totally edible, delicious even.
Collard tops remind me of broccoli rabe, which I can never find down here - broccolini, yes, but it's not the same. I love broccoli rabe sautéed in garlic and olive oil - there was a little Italian place in Woodside, Queens that used to deliver the vegetable to my apartment door, just down the road. It was so tender it practically melted in your mouth. I cook the collard tops the same way, and the subtle bitterness nearly melts with the sweetness of olive oil and pungent garlic. Chopping the tops from the plant also encourages the plant to keep growing, which means I have more greens to look forward to.
So, if you can find some collard tops (maybe in your garden, or neighbor's garden) clip below the first or second leaves - the stem at the top will be so tender you can eat it raw - and sauté them in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and chopped garlic for just a few minutes. Toss with pasta or serve as a side dish and finish with fresh grated Parmesan or a dash of Balsamic. So good. And who knows, maybe you'll find an extra single wadded up in a sweatshirt pocket while doing laundry this weekend.
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