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Archive for the 'coconuts' Category

“It looks a little disgusting, but tastes good.”

April
2

One of my favorite dishes, growing up, was a side of sauteed spinach with shallots.
It’s a basic, no-frills recipe that tastes delicious.

All you do is pour two tablespoons of coconut oil (any vegetable oil will do, but coconut oil makes it swoon-worthy) into a heavy-bottomed pan, and when the oil heats up, add a teaspoon of mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter, add half a cup of finely chopped shallots, and two slit green chilies. Wait for the onions to become translucent, about three minutes. To this, add three cups of chopped spinach and cook it down till it looks to be (sadly) about 1/4 of its original quantity. Season with salt. It tastes great with white steamed rice.

I know I am not very scientific in my recipe telling. But I will provide you with the White House Chef Cristeta Comerford’s variation (as I like to call it) of this recipe, which the New York Times recently published. I tried it out last week, and although one is a sauteed dish and the other a soup, they taste curiously alike.

My 8-year-old daughter’s response was equally curious:
“It looks a little disgusting, but tastes good.”

The White House No Cream Creamed Spinach

2 pounds baby spinach, washed and cleaned
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper.

1. Blanch half a pound of spinach in salted, boiling water. Immediately, “shock” the blanched spinach in a bowl of iced water. Drain and squeeze out the excess water. Puree in a blender. Set aside.
2. In a large skillet, sweat the shallots and garlic until translucent. Add the rest of the spinach leaves. Toss and saute until wilted. Fold in the spinach puree. Season with salt and pepper.

Posted by Swapna Venugopal on Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
| | 4 Comments »

Love of coconuts skips a generation

July
1

So this Sunday marks the first anniversary of my father’s death. But according to the Hindu calendar, the day came last week, and we marked the occasion by cooking all of dad’s favorite foods and offering a sampling to the birds and squirrels in our backyard.

My mom, who had arrived the previous week from India, rose at dawn and cooked about eight dishes, all with an abundance of fresh coconut in them. My parents grew up in Kerala, a coastal state in India laced with coconut groves and rice fields.
coconuts2.jpg

While I’ve never cared much for raw coconuts, my kids adored its sweet taste. Left to my own devices, they never would have discovered the white, sweet and fleshy coconut meat or its crunchy texture. I’ve always used the dry and dessicated flakes in all my cooking.

But now that the kiddies have discovered the real thing, I might have to invest in a hammer to crack open the hard nut.

Moms, have your kids ever discovered the joys of cooking with fresh ingredients despite your best efforts?

TJN FILE PHOTO

Posted by Swapna Venugopal on Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 at 12:55 pm |
| | Comments Off on Love of coconuts skips a generation

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