Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Heidi Swanson's Spiced Coconut Spinach

Things are slightly hectic around here lately, but my mind continually returns to the kitchen, especially as the farmers' market season gets underway.  Several ideas are circling in my mind about refining, nay, reinventing, my way of cooking.  I'm excited about sharing some ideas and approaches I've been discovering.

I am usually a slap-it-together-and-see-what-happens kind of cook.  Once in a while I carefully create a constructed dish, but I've often wished I could be a slow-down-and-think-about-it, mindful, kind of cook more consistently.

Meanwhile, I tried this recipe by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks, who somehow manages to be mindful, deliberate, and spontaneously creative with ingredients on hand ... all at the same time. 

I had what turned out to be 14 ounces of fresh spinach from the very first Pasco Farmer's Market of the year, and so doubled Heidi's recipe, which made four hearty servings.  Having no shallots, I used onion in their place.

I highly recommend this dish.  It's very calming to toast the mustard seeds, cumin and coconut.  The scents and subtle colors appeal to the senses.  You have an awareness that you are doing something to spinach that will be very, very good.   Preparing the ingredients all ahead of time creates a sort of serene kitchen ballet as the dish unfolds in real time, and really, not so much more time than slapdashery would take.

An early Spring dish that nourishes on all levels.

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