I mentioned last week that I was selected for a fabulous opportunity to be a beta tester for IBM’s Chef Watson, and that I had also joined a CSA. In the CSA box last week was collard greens. Neither myself or my husband had ever had them before. I live in Northeast Pennsylvania, have never been farther South than Maryland and Virginia, and don’t really know anyone Southern, so I decided to use Chef Watson to see what I could come up with.
I didn’t follow a recipe that I found on there exactly, more like used it for inspiration. I admittedly haven’t had a lot of time to play around with the app, but I can say that it is definitely still a beta that could use a few improvements. Here is how it works: Basically Chef Watson is a computer program that uses flavor compound algorithms to create recipes. First it asks what ingredient you would like to use, so I entered “Collard Greens”. It also gives you the opportunity to enter ingredients that you do not want to use. Then it asks for the kind of dish you would like to make, and gives you several options such as sauteed, casserole, barbecue, etc. Of all the choices available sauteed was the only one I felt fit collard greens. There are a few options that I felt could be listed but were missing, such as baked. Next, it asks what style of recipe you want to try, and suggests you enter a few styles, so from the list I picked “Southern”, “Way Down South”, and “Cajun/Creole”. Based on what you enter in these steps, you are then given a list of 100 recipe suggestions ranging from “Classic” to “Unique”, however these recipes suggestions vary only slightly. Chef Watson is teamed with Bon Appetit, so the recipe suggestions are based off of recipes from bonappetit.com, although they are different than the original. I was suggested “Way Down South Southern Collard Greens Sauteed”.
I’m keeping in mind that this is still in beta, and I’m even in a group on Facebook where we discuss the various issues we are seeing with the app so we can help them to improve it. While most of the ingredients listed are unique yet what you would expect, the instructions on many recipes are “off”. I know someone in the group received the instruction to “melt the chicken”. I love melted chicken, personally 😉 My recipe suggestion told me to “season with carrot”. It’s fixable, just needs some more work. The goal of Chef Watson is to give the user unique ingredient combinations and let the cook themselves use them the way they like. I can’t wait to see the improvements they are already working on, and I’m sure you’ll be seeing some more recipe ideas from them soon.
As for the collard greens that I made, they are slightly spicy and garlicky without being overpowering. Since I had never had any kind of collard greens before, I wasn’t sure what they tasted like. They are a little bitter, and remind me of kale more than spinach. My husband and I both liked them, and now I’m looking for different ways to make them, so if you have any suggestions, let me know!
- 5 cups chopped collard greens (I just ripped them into pieces with my hands, middle tough stem removed)
- 1 whole garlic scape ,sliced thin (or 2 cloves garlic, minced)
- 1 small chili pepper ,minced
- 1/4 cup butter
- dash onion powder
- salt and fresh ground pepper ,to taste
- Melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic scapes and chili pepper, saute for about 3 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the chopped collard greens by the handful, stirring, until the collard greens are wilted and tender, about 10-15 minutes. Serve hot.