Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Notes From Nikki-some great ideas for all those greens

I thought I would start off this week's "Notes From Nikki" (which she actually sent to me last week) with a photo of Nikki (middle), her youngest daughter (Nikki has four beautiful children), and her foodie friend Heidi Swanson author of Super Natural Cooking (the picture is from Heidi's blog). I cannot tell you how blessed I feel to have Nikki's amazing recipes, the resource of her friend Heidi's blog, and the fantastic photos taking by her oldest daughter Azia. Enjoy Nikki's cooking ideas.

p.s. if you are all out of spinach, I am sure you could substitute the perpetual spinach or chard

Spinach Curry

This must be a great year for spinach! There seems to be loads of it everywhere I go. Yum!
Below is a recipe for a spinach curry that my family really enjoyed. I hope you do too. Unfortunately, Azia accidentally deleted the photo she took of her plate. :-( I'm sure you can envision it though. Think deep, dark, earthy green. Gorgeous~

A glug of olive oil
3 garlic scapes, minced (garlic cloves are fine too)
1 large leek (white part only), thinly sliced (a chopped onion would be fine here too, I just needed to use up a leek I had in the fridge)
1 Tbl fresh ginger, peeled and minced
I 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes (with juice)
1/2 -1 Tbl garam masala (I happen to LOVE this spice blend, so I went for closer to 1 Tbl (perhaps more). I would suggest starting with 1/2 Tbl and adjusting from there. You could also substitute your favorite curry powder for the garam masala and leave out the turmeric, or use less garam masala (1/2-1 tsp) and add in a tsp or two of cumin and coriander to lessen the clove, cinnamon, and cardamon flavor.)
1 tsp turmeric
1 15 oz. can coconut milk (NOT the light version)
2 1/2 - 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken cut into bite-sized chunks (swap out chicken for chickpeas or paneer (Indian cheese) for a vegan or vegetarian version of this dish)
2 bags Inverbrook Spinach (about 1- 1 1/2 lbs), finely chopped (I used the food processor to save myself the trouble)
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste

About 6 C cooked brown rice (I love Trader Joe's frozen brown rice, in a pinch. I just empty all three bags that are in the one box into a glass bowl with a lid and nuke it in the microwave for about 7-8 minutes, stirring in between.)

I dollop of sour cream, plain whole milk yogurt, or creme fraiche to top each serving (optional, although, this is one of my favorite aspects of the dish)
Cilantro sprigs as garnish

Saute the garlic scapes, leek, and ginger in olive oil over medium heat until fragrant and softened a bit.
Add in the tomatoes, garam masala, and turmeric (or whatever combination of spices you come up with), stirring to combine everything.
Allow this mixture to simmer for a few minutes so the flavors can meld.
Add in the coconut milk and stir to combine. Allow to simmer for a few more minutes.
Add in the chicken and spinach and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the spinach is deep, dark, and earthy green, about 20 minutes.
Add in sea salt and pepper to taste (garam masala generally has black pepper in it, so you may want to go easy at first and then adjust accordingly).

Serve over brown rice, topped with a dollop of sour cream, plain yogurt, or creme fraiche, and a sprig or two of cilantro.

Serves 6-8

Orange Sesame Salad

Greens, Greens, Greens! My body is loving all this roughage!
Below is another salad recipe that my kids, in particular, really enjoyed.
I hope you'll give it a try too.


3 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl toasted sesame oil
2-3 Tbl rice vinegar (unseasoned)
1-2 Tbl honey (agave works nicely too)
1 tsp fresh peeled, minced ginger
1-2 Tbl tamari or shoyu

1 bag Inverbrook lettuce mix or spicy greens mix (or a combination of both), washed, spun dry, and torn into manageable pieces
Orange segments from 2-3 oranges, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbl toasted sesame seeds
Avocado chunks (optional)
Chives or scallions, snipped into little pieces with kitchen shears, to taste (optional... I recommend adding these only if you're NOT using the spicy greens)
A handful of chopped cilantro leaves (again, I recommend using this WITHOUT the spicy greens)

Give the olive oil, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, and tamari a whirl in the food processor, or whisk together by hand, until well combined. Taste and adjust.

Toss the greens with the oranges, sesame seeds, avocado (if using), chives (if using), and cilantro (if using).

Drizzle with as much of the dressing as you like, toss gently one more time, and serve.


Incidentally, the dressing for this salad goes beautifully with Claire's Asian turnips and radishes too. Also, the 2nd photo is simply a plate of spicy salad greens drizzled with the aforementioned dressing, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and topped with a fried egg. Lunch!

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