Turns out it wasn’t really all that bad: Just that the juice I’d been making for her had started to really hurt her mouth (which is full of sores from the radiation treatment) that morning. She said she didn’t think she’d be able to drink it any more—at least not until her mouth started to heal.
“That’s okay,” I said. “We can try to isolate which ingredient is hurting you. And if they all are, we can just start up the juice regime again when you’re better. And I’m happy to drink this juice.”
I walked over to the counter and took a big gulp from the glass of beet-red juice. “Whoa!” I exclaimed. “That really is hot! Like horse radish or something. How weird.”
I tried to think which of the ingredients could be the culprit: carrots, beets, celery, parsley, apple, cucumber, kale? And then it hit me: Maybe it wasn’t really kale. I took the rest of the bunch out of the fridge, ripped off a piece and popped it into my mouth.
Wow. That was definitely not kale. But it had looked like kale at the store, and had been under a sign saying kale.
I realized it must be mustard greens. Here’s what mustard looks like (I neglected to photograph my bunch before cooking it, so this is a web image, which shows it to be a lighter green than mine was):
And here is some real kale I bought yesterday:
They look a lot alike, don’t they? But still, my bad. The good news was, however, that Robin’s mouth hadn’t gotten any worse after all, and she could indeed still drink the juice (if made with the correct ingredients).
Now the question was, what to do with those mustard greens? They were way too hot to eat raw, and I was dubious about simply sautéing them, as they would still likely retain a lot of their heat if prepared that way.
As luck would have it, that very day the post on a blog that I follow was all about collard and mustard greens. Ken (the blogger, an expat who now lives in the Loire Valley in France) is originally from the American South, and loves Southern-style greens.
That’s what I’d do. Following Ken’s method, I chopped up the mustard greens and put them in a large pot along with some chicken stock, white wine, a few tablespoons of pork fat I had in the fridge, and salt and pepper. (Sorry there aren’t any photos of it cooking, but I forgot to take any.)
I cooked it all for close to an hour, and then just let the greens sit in the pot until dinner time. Believe it or not, this is the first time I’ve ever cooked greens this way (though I always order them when I’m in the South).
They were great—they still had a little of the zing, but not too much. (In fact, I added some Thai chili sauce to them, to add a little heat back into the mix.)
I ate them with some brown rice and refried beans that were left over from a bean soup I’d made for Robin that day:
And now for the Ziggy photo: She was spayed a week ago, which has made for a tough week for us, since we’re supposed to keep her “quiet.” Right. You try keeping a five-month-old Jack Russell Terrier quiet for a week. (Benadryl has helped a lot.)
She was sent home from the vet’s with an Elizabethan collar, but we immediately went out and bought what we call “the donut” for her. Not surprisingly, she likes the donut a lot better. You can see her here, with Robin in the cone of shame.