Paula’s Spring Greens

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By Paula Deen

This month we’re going green down here in the South—and I’m not talkin’ composting and recycling. You see, each year Savannah plays host to the second largest St. Patty’s Day celebration the country has to offer. Nearly half-a-million people flock to our little downtown for the purpose of eating, drinking and being merry. Everything is dyed green—from the hair on people’s head to the fur on their dogs’ back. The city even goes so far as to dyeing the water in our fountains!

My backyard is no exception to the March greenin’ trend. There are truckloads of delicious spring greens covering every inch of my garden. It’s overflowing with fragrant herbs, thickly leafed collards, delicate salad greens and bushels of Swiss chard that somehow managed to survive all winter long. If Heaven has a garden—and I’m thinking it does—I swear it must look like mine right now. Lush, green and beautiful. I can’t bear to let a single heavenly leaf wilt away, so I’ve got to put ‘em to some good use.

And I know just where to start. Home-cooked collard greens have always held a special place in the hearts and bellies of Southerners. For the New Year, I simmer them down with meaty ham hocks or salt pork and eat ‘em for good luck and fortune (because the cooked leaves resemble folded money). But Southern families actually feast on them all year round; it’s in our blood. There’s just nothing that warms my heart more than watching my grandson shove a forkful of greens into his mouth and then ask for more. He’d choose his grandmomma’s greens over a boxed cookie any day. I hear some people complain about the pungent smell of greens cooking on the stove, but I consider it a test of your Southern breeding. If you can’t stand the smell, then you best get out of my kitchen. At least until dinner’s served.

As for all those crisp salad greens and fragrant herbs, well, don’t go thinking that I’m going to turn over a new leaf and start eating rabbit food. I’m too set in my ways. I have a hard time calling anything a salad unless it’s made with mayonnaise or Jell-O. But my recipes for Citrus Salad and Spinach Salad with Hot Blackberry Walnut Dressing change all that. I take those delicate and sweet salad greens and dress ‘em up in surprising ways, changin’ that bowl full of rabbit food into something you will remember. As for those fresh herbs, I plan on chopping them up to make a wonderful herb butter (1 stick butter mixed with 1 tablespoon of your favorite herbs) that will dress up any ol’ biscuit.

This St. Patty’s Day, I think I’ll skimp on the partying and instead spend a few quiet hours tending my overflowin’ garden. But I won’t miss Savannah’s Grand Parade. I get so excited seeing the marching bands play and the crazy folks waving from their floats. And I always get choked up when the service men and women who protect our freedoms come marching by. My favorite part is running up on our troops, to plant big, lipstick kisses on their cheeks. I think they’re a little surprised when they realize that Paula Deen is puckerin’ up, but they’re good sports. That’s what this season is all about. Celebrating. Having fun. Appreciating our blessings in all their many forms, especially the green ones.

Get the look! Paula Deen Apron, available at retailers soon. Paula Deen Signature Wood Salad Bowls, available at Wal-Mart.

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Reader Comments:

54321

All I can say is thank god you bought Paula back.We missed her and her great recipes .

By Anonymous on March 12, 2014

54321

I always enjoy reading the things that you write about. Thanks much.

By ann potter on March 08, 2014

54321

I recently tried your strawberry cream cheese french toast with the home made strawberry syrup. I made it for brunch for Memorial Day for my son, his fiancee and my husband. It was fantastic! It was wonderful to find a dish that was so tasty and still okay for my diabetes. Thank you so much. Any other diabetic dishes that you have come across would be very much appreciated. I'm so glad that summer is coming so I can get back to fresh greens for salads. The stuff they try to sell here in winter months... *shudders* just hard to take - plus they charge more since it's out of season. Anyway, thanks Paula. I've always enjoyed watching your shows and picking up cooking tips, and now I watch your sons & learn even more. HUGS!

By Beth Hunt on May 29, 2013

54321

I love everthing cook because it look so good

By Anonymous on November 16, 2012

14321

that story about the greens is to late paula be brave you can cook whatever you want.

By Anonymous on February 02, 2012

54321

Hi Ms. Paula: I love your show, your website/newsletter and those wonderful recipes!!! Everything that I have tried using your recipe has turned out delicious! I was born in the North, but raised by Southerners so my cooking is very southern and its so nice to see my Grandmothers southern cooking traditions carried on by you. I love you Ms. Paula and your family and may God continue to Bless and keep you all in his grace. Talk ya'll later Love Mikki

By Mikki Hardwick Lett on April 05, 2011

54321

You look cleaner at cooking vegetables than I do. Love Your Site!

By southern living on March 18, 2011

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By southern living on March 18, 2011

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By shirley McDowell on March 13, 2011

54321

I want the recipe for Red Velvet cheesecake.

By lillie on March 10, 2011

54321

i love your recipes.

By sue wolf on March 09, 2011

54321

I used to make your pork roast with plum sauce. I can not find the plum preserves any where. What can I substitute for the perserves? I love that recipe and so does my family. Help.

By Arlene Smith on March 08, 2011

54321

I am GREEN with envey reading about your garden filled with some many wonderful choices to eat! I have to close my eyes and dream of such beauty as everything here is stilled covered with snow with more still to come.

By Misha on March 08, 2011

54321

I love to read you emails, and I really enjoy your recipes I watch your show everyday It comes on 2 times in a row every weekday. I love how you have your sons cooking with you and keep things down to earth , so country and friendly ... Have a great day Paula from my home to yours smile

By Gale Powers on March 08, 2011

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm