Sunday, May 17, 2009

Greens. The Other White Meat.

I wanted something flavorful, but super healthy for our dinner tonight. We have this wonderful cookbook called 660 Curries, which I think would be a hilarious gag gift for Jill Bari Steinberg, but that's another post for another day. This book is great if you have an over-abundance of something and need a recipe to use it up. There are just so damn many recipes in the book. The guy who wrote it said he called it 660 Curries because he meant to make it 1001 and just ran out of steam at 660!

This vegan dish is a main dish for us, but maybe a side for a carnivore. I just served it with brown rice, and it was very spicy and delicious, but light. And packed with nutrition! Loads of fiber and vitamins and stuff. In fact, it has 100% of the daily requirement of Stuff. It would also make a really nice side dish for a meat entree. It's a quick fix, and here's how I made it:

1 medium onion, chopped
2 T canola oil
1 t cumin seeds
a puree of 10 garlic cloves, 2"piece of ginger root and 4 hot green chillies
1 pound of fresh spinach, stems removed and rough chopped
1 pound of fresh collard greens or mustard greens, stems and spines removed, rough chopped
1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1.5 t garam masala
salt to taste

Saute the onion until it's very done. If you wish, you can add the salt right now--it will help the onions leech moisture and caramelize. Then, add the cumin seeds and fry them until they smell nutty, about 20 seconds. Add the garlic-ginger-chilli paste and swish it around until it colors a bit, about a minute. If it starts to stick to the pan, deglaze with a little water. Now add the greens a handful at a time, and cover between handfuls so they'll wilt. When you have added all the greens and they've wilted down enough, add the can of tomato with the juice. Let that heat through, then add the garam masala. Add more salt if you think it needs it. If it looks too watery, just cook uncovered until some of the water evaporates. Last but not least, and this is optional, give it a whiz with a hand blender. I just did a partial puree because I like the occasional chunks.

I served this with brown rice, but I think it would be lovely with couscous, too! The flavor is very spicy! If you are a wimp, cut down on the hot chillies.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sleepy Old Girl

Gilda is the first kitty I had all to myself. I got her for my 39th birthday from Robyn O'Neill. She was a squirrely little kitten with a short stump where her tail ought to be. I was going through a divorce, living alone, feeling ungrounded, and I am forever grateful that my dear friend recognized that I needed a cat to come home to. I named her Gilda, and she slept in a little pile on my chest the first night she spent in my apartment.

She's 11 now, and officially elderly, but she is really very spry and still lots of fun. I'm pretty sure she spends most of her day sleeping on my bed when I'm at work. She is highly skilled at napping, looking fetching while napping, and displaying her mouthful of teeth with a big yawn.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sally Bell's Kitchen

Have you ever had a Sally Bell's box lunch?

Sally Bell's Kitchen is a Richmond institution. I'm thinking most of you are familiar with this incredibly charming little shop, but just in case you aren't, visit their website!

Yes, Sally Bell's is one of Richmond's shining examples of women's entrepreneurship with a fantastic story that began in 1924. But really, for me, it's the aesthetic aspect of the whole thing. There is no better place to buy a box lunch in Richmond.

Sally Bell's box lunch consists of a sandwich (today it was cream cheese and nut--so delicious), a deviled egg half, a light flaky little cheese cookie with a pecan in the center, a little cup of potato salad--the best I know of, and a cupcake frosted upside down.

I am totally sucked in by the packaging. The darling little box with the logo on top and the black and white checkered tissue paper lining it. It's a compact box, filled with all homemade goodness. I mean sure, they could throw it in a plastic container in a plastic bag like everybody else does, but instead you are handed this little package with cotton string tied to secure it. It's like ordering lunch and being handed a present!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lemon Fusilli with Arugula

I feel like I have been on the arugula channel this weekend--all arugula, all the time! But I still had a huge bunch of it to use up, and I found this fabulous recipe by Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa). It came together very easily and it was delicious. Mine looked just like the picture, which is actually from a lovely blog called Sweet and Saucy. Don't let the healthy vegetables fool you--they're swirling around in a heavy cream, lemon and parmesan sauce. We really loved it!

Support Our Local Growers and Artists!

I found a ceramics artist at the farmers market yesterday who had the most beautiful stuff for sale! Her name is Jane Fencher Hendley and she has a booth at the Saturday market in Forest Hill Park. Go visit her! You will love her work, and Mothers Day is right around the corner. Her website is

This is the beautiful bowl I bought. I was going to send it to my mom, but I am having second thoughts now. Impure thoughts of keeping it for myself!