cookbook

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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Cilantro Chutney

by Anne Maxfield on May 12, 2016

Accidental Locavore Cilantro ChutneyCilantro, love it or hate it? If you hate it, you can skip this post (or just read to the end for the quality of the writing).

One of the first recipes of many recipes the Accidental Locavore wanted to try from Made in India was chicken with a cilantro chutney. First up – the chutney. This makes about a pint jar:

  • 4 ounces cilantro (a medium-sized bunch – see photo)
  • 2 ounces peanuts, unsalted and unroasted
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2-3 serrano chiles, roughly chopped (seed and use more or less depending on your heat tolerance)

Accidental Locavore 4 Ounces CilantroWash and coarsely chop the cilantro, stems and leaves. Since you’re using the stems, make sure the cilantro is well washed. Add to a blender or food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Pulse until the mixture has a smooth consistency, like a pesto. Add some water if necessary to help the mixture blend. Taste and add more of any of the ingredients to your taste. Store in a jar in the refrigerator until ready to use and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Fish in Banana LeafMy verdict: I didn’t have many peanuts so ended up with half peanuts and half pine nuts, but there was still a taste of peanuts. I’m sure you could probably use almost any nut. This was really good and went well with the chicken. With the leftovers, I continued my freezer cook-down and wrapped some cod in banana leaves for dinner, which looked cool and tasted great! The banana leaves are from my freezer but parchment paper or aluminum foil (as long as it’s not going in the microwave) would also be fine.

Accidental Locavore Made In IndiaIf you like Indian food, this is a great cookbook! I thank my friend Rob for introducing it to me. I’ve made several recipes from it, starting with the roasted cauliflower and have many more marked to try. So far, nothing is hard or complicated and my basmati rice is hugely improved! Look for more recipes from this great book.

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Reading Cookbooks

by Anne Maxfield on January 6, 2014

Accidental Locavore Vegetable LiteracyAfter the Accidental Locavore posted the review of Provence, 1970an email arrived from the author, Luke Barr. He asked, “Shouldn’t you at least deign to actually read a book before posting a review of it?” I was thinking of his question (which neglects to say; in its entirety)  while admiring Vegetable Literacya beautiful book by Deborah Madison which was a Christmas present from my cousin, because I don’t believe most cookbooks are made to be read from start to finish. There are lots of recipes I’m looking forward to trying, although to really maximize the flavors many of them will have to wait until the key ingredients are in season.

Accidental Locavore Red Cabbage RecipeMy usual method for perusing a cookbook is to open it up and see where it takes me. Then, I’ll hit the index and look for some of my favorite foods. That’s followed by going back to the beginning and skimming through the entire volume. No matter what the method, if something looks wonderful and the ingredients are readily available, a list (and dinner) will be made.

However, no matter how much a cookbook is loved or used, I have never read one cover-to-cover. Never, ever. As a matter of fact, reading a cookbook in its entirety sounds terribly tedious (and do we really need to have yet another pantry list?). It’s probably like reading operating manuals (something I’m also guilty of skipping over – just ask my husband), usually ignored unless dangerous power tools are involved.

There are lots and lots of books on my shelf that I’ve never even looked at more than a couple of recipes (usually just before buying them). Does that mean I couldn’t review them? For that matter, is there anyone who reads a cookbook in its entirety?

Accidental Locavore Modernist CuisineWell, I bet my friend Zhu Zhu does. I’ve lent him a couple of volumes of Modernist Cuisine and I’m pretty sure he did read most, if not all, of at least the first book. And maybe after writing this and realizing that I have never read a cookbook from pantry list to desserts, I’ll pick one of them up and pretend it’s a novel. How about you?

 

 

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