side dish

Spinach with Garlic and Lemon Juice

by Anne Maxfield on January 12, 2017

Accidental Locavore SpinachSpinach is one of those vegetables that is hard to mess up.

A little fat (butter or duck) or olive oil and it’s a success.

However, there are times when you want it to be a little more…interesting.

The Accidental Locavore was making some Spare Ribs Vindaloo (recipe soon) and wanted an Indian spin on spinach that didn’t require running out for ingredients (I’m looking at you saag paneer).

I pulled out my favorite Indian cookbook Made in India and found this recipe for spinach. Serves 4.

Spinach with Garlic and Lemon Juice Recipe:

  • 1 pound spinach
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh red chili, very thinly sliced (more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • Juice of about ½ lemon (to taste)

Wash the spinach and set aside.

In a very large frying pan, over medium heat, add the butter. When it starts to melt, add the garlic and red chili.

Stir-fry for a couple of minutes until the garlic starts to turn pale gold.

Add the salt and pepper.

Add the spinach in handfuls, toss to coat with butter. As it starts to wilt, add another handful or two until you’ve used it all up.

Squeeze the lemon juice over the spinach and take off the heat. Taste and add more lemon juice if needed. Serve immediately and enjoy!

My verdict: Oh yes! Sadly, we only had a 9-ounce bag of spinach so I did half a recipe and wished there was more. Lots more.

This was super simple and I’ll be making it a lot—so good!

There wasn’t too much heat from the chili, a serrano, so we could have used more, but we like heat. If you don’t have serranos or jalapenos lying in wait in the freezer (when you have a mess of chilis, wash them, toss in a Ziploc bag and freeze them—you’ll always have them on hand), a sprinkle of red pepper flakes would probably be fine.

Try it and let me know what you think.

 

 

 

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Chinese Broccoli: What Is it?

by Anne Maxfield on July 21, 2016

Accidental Locavore Chinese BroccoliHave you ever had Chinese broccoli?

Me neither.

Also known as gai lan, it was one of the choices at my CSA recently and feeling brave, the Accidental Locavore tried it. It looks like just the leaves of broccoli, but bigger, with a little bud in the center.

Since it was Chinese, something Asian seemed to be appropriate.

Because I was trying to get Frank to like it, a recipe from the NY Times with anchovies seemed like it might work and conveniently this serves 2:Accidental Locavore Cooking Chinese Broccoli

  • 1 pound Chinese broccoli, rinsed and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 8 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons Vietnamese fish sauce (more or less to taste)

Split the large stalks of broccoli in half lengthwise. Add the oil to a large sauté pan on high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the garlic and anchovies and cook, pressing on the anchovies with a wooden spoon until they dissolve and the garlic lightly browns.

Add the Chinese broccoli and toss in the sauce to coat. Pour in the rice wine and let it reduce for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and fish sauce, bring to a boil, cover and steam until almost tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover and cook at a lively simmer until the broccoli is tender and the sauce has evaporated slightly. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Chinese Broccoli With ChickenMy verdict: This would have been really good if the Chinese broccoli had been cooked through. What was weird was that it didn’t seem to matter what size the stalks were, some of them were perfectly cooked and others were way too crunchy. Even time in the microwave for the leftovers, didn’t seem to make a difference. Odd.

However, the parts that were cooked until tender were delicious (and yes, Frank liked the cooked parts, too). I’ve been using Red Boat fish sauce which happens to be Vietnamese, but I’m sure Thai fish sauce would work just fine. Go easy with the fish sauce and taste before you add all of it in. Broccoli rabe and regular broccoli would work also. For more acid, I did add another splash of  rice wine vinegar. Serve it like I did with some jasmine rice and grilled chicken thighs.

So, if you see Chinese broccoli, grab it and try this and let me know what you think.

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Roasted Cauliflower With Cumin

by Anne Maxfield on March 31, 2016

Accidental Locavore Roasted Cauliflowe With RibsMy friend Rob, had this recipe on his Facebook feed and the Accidental Locavore thought it looked great. It came from a new cookbook, Made in India, which I promptly added to my bookshelf (floor actually) and am glad I did (even though I always swear, no more cookbooks, it was justified by donating a bunch to the local library).  This serves 4, but you can scale it up or down depending on the size of your cauliflower.

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, about 1 ½ pounds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 5 tablespoons canola or other vegetable oil
  • 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two sheet pans with aluminum foil (or parchment paper) and set aside.

Wash the cauliflower and pull off the leaves. Break the cauliflower into small florets and set aside. Steam the cauliflower in a pot of boiling water and blanch for a minute or microwave for about 2-3 minutes. Drain it really well and let it dry for about 5 minutes.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the cumin seeds with the salt then add the chile powder and turmeric, followed by the oil. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can run the cumin and salt through a spice (coffee) grinder and put it in a small bowl with the chile powder, turmeric and oil. Mix well.

Accidental Locavore Cauliflower Before RoastingPut the cauliflower on the sheet pans in one layer and drizzle the oil over it. Toss to make sure the cauliflower is well coated. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, shaking the pans every 10 minutes to ensure it browns evenly. Put cooked cauliflower in a bowl or platter and squeeze the lemon over it. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict:  This is going to be has become one of my go-to dishes! Delicious, simple and easily tweaked. Since I was making Mexican spare ribs, I used lime instead of lemon to give it more of a Mexican flavor and they were perfect together. I steamed the cauliflower in the microwave—it’s faster and rather than getting oil in my mortar and pestle, ground and mixed the spices, then put them in a measuring cup and added the oil. That made it easier to drizzle over the cauliflower before roasting. Since I wrote this I’ve done broccoli the same way, this time with lemon (and I let the steamed broccoli marinate for a few hours in the oil) and it was great!Accidental Locavore Roasted Broccoli With Cumin

 

 

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Indian Inspired Green Beans

by Anne Maxfield on December 31, 2015

Accidental Locavore Indian Green Beans and ChickenSometimes you just need a different vegetable…the Accidental Locavore was looking for something green to go with the Indian chicken I was making. Usually I toss some broccoli with a lot of sliced garlic and curry powder and steam it, but just wasn’t in the mood. I saw some nice looking haricots verts (very skinny string beans) at the market and figured I could do something with them. Serves 4:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound string beans, stem ends trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger (about a ½” piece)

Put the beans in a microwave-safe bowl, cover and cook until crisp-tender about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.

Accidental Locavore Onions for BeansPlace a large skillet over high heat, and add oil. When very hot, add mustard seeds, and cook until seeds begin to pop, about 30 seconds. Add onion, and cook, stirring until it begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add ginger, and cook 1 minute more. Add the beans, and cook, stirring until hot. Season with salt to taste. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Indian Green BeansMy verdict: A good (and easy) change from the broccoli. The onion gets nice and crispy and the ginger gives it a bit of spice. If you were really, really lazy you could just toss some of the canned fried onions (might there be some left from the Thanksgiving green bean casserole?). I was thinking that a little of the lemon curry powder that usually goes on the broccoli, might be a nice addition. If you were wondering what the difference between brown, black and yellow mustard seeds was, the black are the most pungent and expensive, while the brown and yellow will be milder. They also become nuttier rather than hotter when they’re fried (and its sort of fun to hear them pop).

 

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