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

54321

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 Deen
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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 8:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 4:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm