Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Spiced spinach

It's hard for me to find new and interesting things to do with spinach, or with any greens, for that matter. I don't care for raw spinach in salads very much -- except for in the wild beet spinach salad at Lennie's. It's fantastic!

But I've started sauteeing spinach and other greens with various ingredients, and that's opened a world of possibilities.

My favorite spinach recipe has been mentioned before on this blog -- it's a Turkish spinach recipe from Dr. Zorba's Web site. It's got a little tomato paste and some rice with it, and I like to make a big portion to eat as a main dish. I use quite a bit less salt and oil than the recipe demands, though, and I use brown rice, which takes a little longer to cook.

Well here's another way to use spinach, and it calls for less dicing and less time than the Turkish spinach. It's also versatile; you can change the ingredients to suit your tastes. If you don't like spinach, just substitute your favorite greens. (They may require a little more cooking time, though.)

Spiced spinach (makes 1 main dish, or about 3 sides)

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 shallots, chopped (you can substitute onion)

1 bunch of fresh spinach, or 10 ounces of any of your favorite greens, stems removed

1/8 cup golden raisins (or chopped sun-dried tomatoes or dried apricots)

1 tablespoon sliced almonds (or any nut you prefer)

1/2 teaspoon ground curry (or cumin, rubbed thyme, rubbed sage, etc.)

optional: 1/8 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

optional: handful of chickpeas

splash of sherry vinegar

salt and pepper, to taste

1.) Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and shallots and cook over medium heat, until golden brown. (If adding ginger, cook it here.)

2.) Add the spinach, stir, and cook, covered, for 5-6 minutes.

3.) Uncover, and stir in raisins, almonds, and spice or herb. Splash with vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and stir.

Q: How do you make a cream puff?

A: Chase it around the block. (from the Scholastic's "ROFL" book)

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