Market Chef : Marliese Franklin

May 29, 2012 |  by  |  Chef Demos

Marliese Franklin’s intimate relationship with food goes way back, but it wasn’t always the sustainability-and-health-focused one that it is today. “I grew up with a single father, and I did all the cooking in our house from about age 10 or so. Hamburger helper was a great friend of mine.” A mayonnaise cake baked for her Fathers’ birthday was an early expression of her passion for baking, though his praise wasn’t quite what she’d hoped for; apparently he thought it tasted like a big bologna sandwich (and, let’s be honest, it probably kind of did).

She quickly found her footing, though, and by 20 was pursuing her particular love of baking working as a pastry chef in Indiana. Like so many others who are drawn to the kitchen and to restaurant life, she found that her kitchen know-how was a wonderful skill set to have. Marliese cooked her way through college, and eventually landed in Europe, where she says she “got stuck” for about 10 years — a ‘problem’ I think none of us would particularly mind encountering. “I worked at a lot of restaurants in Germany, Austria, Switzerland. I got married. Throughout my life, it’s been a stable friend — the skill of cooking and working in restaurants has always been there for me.”

After 10 years in Europe, she knew that wherever she landed in the States had to have great beer, great coffee and great food. One visit to Portland in the early 90’s was all it took — Franklin was sold. Here in Portland, Franklin’s food life blossomed: whether she was working the window at a local food truck, or hosting a food-focused show on KBOO, or tending her own little garden. These days, she’s giving most of her attention to educating herself and others about the Buddhism-inspired practice of Mindful Eating; “The food puzzle is not just about GMOs etc, it’s also about nourishment. How as a society are we taught to eat? Mindful Eating is an opportunity to take the spiritual aspect of food and integrate it into how to we relate to our food, what emotions, histories and societal ideas to we bring to the table. It’s about bringing your breath to the table. Rather than watching TV while eating, it’s about actively having gratitude – thanking the farmers, the environment. Trying to, or beginning to try to recognize all of the elements that brought that piece of spinach to your table, making sure that we are nourished emotionally by the food we  eat, nourished by the people we eat with, not simply by the food itself but the whole act of eating.”

Inspiring stuff, no? So, what does she cook at home? What does she like to ‘mindfully eat’ with friends and family? No big surprise, Ms. Franklin likes nothing more than a big plate of cooking greens straight from the farmer’s market — kale, chard, beet greens, and radish greens. In hushed tones she told me that she seeks out the leafy tops of beets and radishes at the market, asking farmers specifically to load her up on the all-too-often-tossed-out tops. Not only are these cast-offs of produce tasty, they happen to be vitamin bombs to boot! So how would she recommend a leafy-greens-novice approach this new vegetable? Read on for her recipe!

Greens Galore!

Marliese Franklin

1 bunch of greens:  You can use various Kale, Chards, Beet tops,
                                                            Radish tops, Collards, Mustard or
                                                            any variety.
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1 beet halved and sliced thin
1 carrot sliced
1 parsnip sliced
2-4 Tblsp. Olive oil
Salt pepper
Note : Some say to cut the ribs out of the greens first, but I leave most of them in, except for the bigger more woody parts of the beet greens.  I like the texture and chew they provide,  but if you’re not a fan of it then cut the ribs out.
1. Lay the leaves atop one another and cut into 1/4 inch strips.
2. Set aside.
3. After your oil is hot, add the onions and sliced beets, carrots, and parsnips and
saute until the onions are clear, add garlic and cook for about another minute.
4. Add your sliced greens and saute.  I like to use really high heat in an iron skillet, it
sort of chars the leaves giving them that sort of grilly flavor.
5. Saute for about 5 minutes according to desired doneness and season with salt an pepper.
6. Add Cheese at the end if desired, and sprinkle with sesame or pumpkin seed.
Possible additions:  Goat or Gorgonzola cheese
                                     Toasted sesame or pumpkin seeds
                                      small chopped serrano or jalepeno pepper to taste
Another note…Greens reduce significantly…so I would say that one bunch of greens will be enough for 2 side dishes. If you want more of a main course, I would double that…At least!

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