Thursday, June 30, 2011

Currying Favor, Full of Beans

So it's a lovely, warm summer Friday and you're heading out of the office.  If you're a cute girl who might blog in these environs AND haunt a spice emporium, your thoughts will turn, quite naturally, to something golden delicious and veggie.

So say you might zip by someplace like Penzey's Spices in Menlo Park and grab some Hot Curry Powder. Yes, Hot Curry Powder.  You use a literal pinch, and it is not hot in the end, it is ever so slightly, and delightfully, sparkly.  Yes, sparkly.  Then break left or right out the back door and over to Trader Joe's or Draegers,  just across the parking lot.  There you might procure some green beans and a blood orange, being sure you also have butter, olive oil and kosher salt already in your possession.  When you return home, within 20 minutes of washing your beans you will have:



1 pound Green Beans, ends snapped off, snapped into bite-size pieces
1 small Blood Orange, JUICE thereof.
1/8 tsp Hot Curry Powder (yes, Hot. See Above.)
1TB Buttah
1tsp Olive Oil
1/8 tsp Kosher Salt


1.  Snap the ends off the beans, then snap in half and pop into a colander.
2.  Wash them suckers.
3.  Heat a pan on Med-High, only a few minutes, test by sprinkling water into the pan, if it sizzles, you're ready.
4.  Throw in the Buttah and Oil, allow to melt--the butter will foam slightly, make sure the fat coats the pan evenly.
5.  Toss in the beans and toss or stir to coat evenly and thoroughly with the butter.
6.  Allow beans to sit for a couple of minutes then stir well, repeat twice.
7.  Place lid on pan and turn heat to Med-Low.
8.  Wait 3 minutes as beans steam.
9.  Test a bean by spearing with a fork, it should be tender but still snap a bit.  If it's still really crunchy, replace the lid for another 3 minutes. 
 **Be conscious of the color:  The key to tasty cooked beans is they still taste like beans.  They should brighten and darken a bit during cooking but still be a fresh green, and tenderize but still be slightly resistant to a fork.
10.  When ready, turn heat up to High and wait for sizzle to rise.
11.  Sprinkle Hot Curry Powder evenly over beans, then pour juice over beans and stir quickly.
12.  This should all cook down in a minute or less, so as soon as it looks saucy, turn it out into a bowl and eat!

Try it this weekend and fer heavens sake, LET ME KNOW HOW YOU LIKE IT!

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Baa Baa Black Sheep Gathering!

I beg your forgiveness, I have been absent.  Not absent-mindedly lost in my own house (always a strong possibility), but on the annual pilgrimage to the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Oregon.  It’s a sheep, wool and fiber arts festival that masks the greater purpose of meeting up with the Fiber Posse ( KnitCents Roue, Outlier's ToadyJoe, Knitting RN, SpinDoctor Sasha and KnitWits Carin among others) and eat our way from one end of town to another.

There are over-crowded hotel rooms (we stayed at Courtesy Inn Eugene-small rooms, but really clean, really cute motel), crazy shopping and an exhibit hall full of sheep. There was a Sheep to Shawl challenge in which a team of artists spun, plied and wove an entire shawl in one day.  There is the Saturday Fleece Sale, in which Jedi Jasmin scopes the hall full of prize-winning fleeces and cleans the place out. Let me back up there.  A separate hall is dedicated to hundreds of shorn fleeces from different breeders submitted for judging.  They are categorized by length, type, color, etc. and as you can imagine, certain breeders have Brand Recognition and a ribbon has star power. 
During the preview we are allowed to check the fleeces in their bags, noting their entry number, and the table number where their category resides. Jasmin assigns our crack team of Fleece Ninjas table and fleece numbers during the preview.  We are then escorted out of the hall while they prepare for the sale and let back in to shop.  There are strict rules: No Running, No Elbows.  I do not run, but as a lifelong Shorty, I Hustle With A Purpose.  Very, Very, Quickly.  Also, my elbows are sharp, but lady-like--they brush demurely.  Team Jasmin never experiences more than 10% loss on planned fleece acquisition.
So there, I give you proof that we drove 9 hours for something more than just dinner at Marchè.  
HAHAHAHAHA!!!!  Didja see, I nearly got that out with a straight face!  We basically drove 9 hours to eat at the phenomenal brasserie Marchè twice, the diabolically addictive Off the Waffle every morning and the bizarre and endearing Pizza Research Institute.  The drive seems to go so very fast when there is Seared Fois Gras at the end of the line. 
Marchè features a seasonal french menu that just goes crazy with deliciousness.  Since we visited twice, I was going to try several different things, but the second time, I had loved the fois and Moules Frites so very much I ordered them again.  The Fois Gras is seared with a crisp, savory exterior on toasted brioche with---fresh peanut butter and strawberry gelèe.  Phenomenal, as the peanut butter blends with the meatiness of the fois and grounds it.  The gelèe is a lovely counterpoint without being the heavy hand of a traditional sauce.  Alexander’s Steakhouse here in Cupertino did the same thing with their Fois Gras mousse, and it’s a brilliant move--what else works so well with something so etherial as the lovely, creamy liver? Not a big sauce, but tiny, happy, pink berry cubes.  Just a little fruity tartness.  Yummmmmmm.
The Moules Frites was perhaps one of the Perfect Meals.  Two identical bowls on a square plate, presented with house made ketchup and mayonnaise, which I did not, unfortunately, remember.  The mussels were steamed to perfection, served with a gorgeous garlicky butter-wine sauce, while the frites were absolute Matchsticks from Heaven.  They were savory, probably tossed in a bit of truffle oil and salt, but were so clean and yummy, they just snapped on the teeth and fluffed on the tongue.

 Alternating mussels with frites, you will finish the mussels and be left with a bowl of bewitching sauce and half a bowl of beguiling spuds.  You should then deliver several frites at a time into the sauce and eat them cereal- style.  You will experience salty, crispy, earthy, oceany, buttery ecstasy. The JoC Fairy promises.
Off the Waffle offers a dizzying array of options topping their legendary Liege waffles.  Crispy thick, belgian-style waffle are covered in fruit, eggs, bacon, yogurt, whipped cream--go sweet, go savoury, then go back and order them frozen by the half-dozen to go home!  Morning 1 I had the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, which bent my strong preference --nay, OCD obsession with separation of anything appropriately requiring syrup and all other items being carefully and distinctly placed on another plate.  This waffle has havarti cheese melted on, then a sunny-up egg and bacon on top.  So I embraced the Spirit of Vacation and Just Did It.  Good Stuff, but I’m still a double-plate girl. 

Morning 2 was The Overachiever, which was tasty and delicious, also healthy with the addition of yogurt, so I got a full banana and probiotics.  Sound utilitarian and unexciting? 
“Fairy, where’s the exotic mountain of awesomeness?  The pile of chocolate and whipped cream and jelly beans???”
Here’s the thing.  Last year, I spent a month in Portland.  GingerMan came for a weekend and we stayed in downtown, where we ate twice at The Original.  They feature a pancake concoction called the Fruit Loop, a play on an Oregon tradition near the Hood River Valley where you drive over hill and dale through the farms buying fruit right off the trees and bushes, fresh jams, nuts and honey.  These pancakes come in a stack of three huge flappers with a layer of cream cheese icing and Fruit Loops Cereal.  Genius.  It was So. Good.  But here’s the thing, these pancakes were so beautiful I could have eaten them plain.  I’m a HUGE butter and syrup gal, but these were perfection--balanced between fluffy and crispy, cakey, bready, and sweet.  I despair of ever replicating these at home.
Off the Waffle achieves Waffle Nirvana in the same way.  I would take them with a small amount of syrup, but they are so crisp and flavorful, really I would go for just a bit of butter and some crunchy sugar and chow those suckers by the stack.  So the toppings I ordered on any given morning were really a superfluous detail. Oh, and the crazy Ginger-Fro dood on the website?  We saw the owner on Saturday, and yes, that's his spitting image.  NO lie.
Friday night we invaded The Pizza Research Institute, a vegetarian pizza place where we spent a idyllic summer evening in their back patio, our huge 18-person table placed next to the upright bass and slide-guitar duo.  The waiter was a champ, the place was classic Oregon, an ineffable, joyful quality and you’ll really need to visit the website and read the menu to understand what makes them special.  I had the Chef’s Special.  It had everything, from curried cauliflower to apricots with ricotta cheese.  Didn’t like the crust, like, at all, but the toppings, the confluence of textures and flavors was offbeat and delicious.  

All in all, I bought a bit of yarn and resisted the fleece, as I only just received the ones I bought at last year’s Gathering back from Shari at Morrow Bay.  She’s a brilliant, skilled and totally conscientious fibre processor and it’s a whole box full of happy.  So it was easy to simply play for Team Jasmin and come home with money still in the bank.  I indulged in some Stitch Jones ( a Portland gal- She Goes To Eleven!), and Huckleberry Knit’s Silk and Silver.  


A breathtaking fingering weight,  I immediately balled the Garnet silk,  delicately flecked with silver, utilising Knitmore Girl GigiDaaahhhling as ball winder and J’s epipen as a nostepinne and plowed straight into the Citron Shawl.  BTW, HOOORAH for Knitty patterns on the iPhone--we did all this sitting outside the fleece sale hall on Saturday afternoon!

The ride home was short--I finished up to section 4 on the Citron and we drove flat out for home in time for late dinner and bed.  GingerMan had a hotdog and CSA box carrot sticks waiting, and while the sight of a ginger boy with a short 'hawk and a long, flaming beard holding dinner is heavenly, I already hold a certain and unique homesickness for the place I call my second home.  
So I do beg your indulgence for my absence, the journey was arduous and long, but I did it all for you!
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Saturday, June 18, 2011


Finally, Finally, I’m done!  As with many things, I’m somewhat behind since going back to work, but it did give me opportunity to test the products under fire!  We’ll break it down by brand, as most had both a loose and pressed and I tried both where comparable. ***

Application Notes:  All products were applied over Mary Kay’s  Foundation Primer  to obtain an even finish.  They were also tested twice with and twice without concealer, my concealer of choice being Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, in 15.  If a reasonable applicator was included, that applicator was used, or fell back to testing with my standard powder brush from Bare Escentuals, and the applicator design and utility was factored in to the overall score.
Odd result note:  Loose powders are generally available in fewer colours, and in some cases, much fewer colour choices.  I found they also tended toward a toastiness, no matter the shade. At first I thought it was my imagination, so I tried the Maybelline Mineral Loose Powder, CoverGirl TruBlend and L’Oreal TrueMatch Natural Mineral Makeup in a strip test versus their brand’s pressed powders and found it to be true for all three.  The only exceptions were the Revlon ColorStay Aqua and the Bare Escentuals.
Fit Me Pressed Powder:  Part of the brilliant Fit Me system.  This was an easy-to-choose colour which was one of the most accurate Ivory foundations of all, mine is 115 Ivory.  It gives great coverage and silky finish, settles softly and doesn’t cake under my eyes where I have the crepe-y dark circles.  Works brilliantly with concealer from the system for a slightly more full-finish look, or alone for a bit more natural look.  The compact is a lovely little black square that fits easily in the purse for touch-ups, but unless you’re active on the job or chasing kids, when used with primer you probably won’t need to.  It has a great mirror, and my only complaint is the little powder puff.  It is a thin papery-backed spongey thing in the bottom compartment of the compact and is good for the barest touch-ups, so I used my standard powder brush for most applications, then substituted the perfectly-sized compact powder brush from a Mary Kay colour compact.  ***TOP PICK**This is a great product available to all women at any drugstore for a great price-- 4.5 out of 5.  
Mineral Power Powder Foundation:  Used Classic Ivory 2.  Ties loosely into the Fit Me system, but I was less confident in the colour selection and was less satisfied with the end result (see “Odd Result” above). It’s an opaque, browner ivory, still a soft, relatively sheer coverage and finish. It settled well around the eyes without caking and covered the dark circles relatively well without concealer. A brush was packaged with the tub, but was separate, and wow was it rough.  I threw it out.  Meh. 2 out of 5.
Bare Escentuals/ Bare Minerals:
Generally available in sets from their website, from ULTA, Sephora, which generally come with foundation and mineral veil  including brushes.  At first glance, the price seems premium-brand, but considering the brushes and quanitity/ quality of actual product, I truly consider this a steal.  I use the Fairly Light and Mineral Veil, with and without the Maybelline concealer, always with the primer.  The set sometimes comes with BE’s primer, and it is excellent as well, so if it gets you into a good habit, great--you’ll see a real difference.  Follow the directions on the dvd, or if purchased in a shop, get a do-up by a make-up specialist.  It’s really easy and really fast, and I have never felt that my skin looked so radiant made up.  BE minimizes and evens my entire face skin tone--red cheeks, brown sun spots and under-eye circles. ***OVERALL TOP PICK***/  **TOP PICK** Specialty Shop/Online--I put this stuff off for ages, tutt-tutting the ads like I did with Pro-Active, then tried it in desperation and am in LOVE! 5 out of 5!
ColorStay Aqua Mineral Finishing Powder:   >>>COLOUR??<<weeeeiiiird. It feels wet as it touches your face, hence the concealer/liquid-style brush.  This foundation applies really well, especially into crepe-y under-eyes, and is sheer and silky as it becomes a dry powder immediately.  It’s unique and well formulated, gives a good amount of colour correction for all problem areas.  Applicator is a high-quality, soft bristle brush which retracts into a plastic casing which in turn fits into the top.  It can tend to retract while in use, but the brush itself is really lovely and I never used another from my own set.  Another solid Drugstore Find: 4 out of 5.

Revlon Colorstay Pressed Powder: I used “Fair”, and it turned out to be chalky and slightly yellow.  The compact is WRETCHED.  Truly terrible.  It’s a standard two-level round compact, which should open with a button or notch on the front of the circle, but the button on this one is so badly designed that it’s nearly impossible to grip the stupid compact and open it. I had to hold it cupped in both hands on the table, trying to press the button, but it doesn’t pop the lid up, you have to try to get a nail in between the layers and pry it open.  The product wasn’t worth the fight, it left me looking like I was dead or wearing stage makeup for a revival of Cabaret. Complete disappointment after the triumph of the CS Aqua.
CoverGirl:  CoverGirl gets honourable mention for having an online Makeup Match system that helps you find the type of product and shade that works for you.  Although these two powders did not work for me, I have hard-to-match see-through ghosty skin.  The actual quality of the products and applicators is stellar and I would still happily recommend checking out this system for their powder or liquid foundations.
TruBlend Mineral Powder (Loose Powder):  I used 405 Translucent Fair.  It comes in a standard tub, but the lid doesn’t screw on, so for heaven’s sake do NOT travel with this, it just lifts off.  HOWEVER--what you do get is a nifty application system:  There is a lovely, proper puff inside, and instead of tipping a bunch of powder into a lid, you hold the puff on and tip the entire thing upside down, then right side up, lift the puff, which is now full of powder, and sweep across your face.  Applies softly and evenly with the puff.  This powder, however, has a sheen.  It’s almost sparkly.  It would be a great foundation for younger users, as it is light coverage, good quality, stays put and has this, well...luminous quality.  A good first powder.  But for older users, not so much.  2.75 out of 5.
CoverGirl Clean Pressed Powder:  I used 205 Ivory.  CoverGirl has an insane number of powders, a huge number of those pressed powders alone--so after much deliberation, I opted for the Clean for Sensitive Skin.  It’s a nice formula for the skin condition it claims to address.  It feels clean, and wore well all day without requiring re-application.  CG really seems to pay more attention to their applicators than other brands, as the little puff in the bottom was actually puff-y.  I just felt it was yellow for an Ivory and slightly chalky, but these are the two main complaints for Ivory pressed powders. Meh.  2.5 out of 5.
True Match Pressed Powder “Super-Blendable Powder”:  L’Oreal have a nice system with Warm/Cool/Neutral delineations, and an online system to help you choose. I chose Neutral-1/ Soft Ivory, a nearly exact neutral, only slightly too pale upon application.  Very good coverage in first pass, and it is, indeed, very blendable.  If purchasing again, or recommending to a twin, I’d go with the Cool 1 or 2 to get a bit more pink.  It works well with concealer, but as with most pressed powders and many drugstore brands, the colour is a bit flat. Flat, but not chalky, in this case.  It stayed put all day, but this powder did eventually cake under my eyes, with and without concealer.  3 out of 5.
True Match Natural Gentle Mineral Makeup:  I went with the Light Ivory 458 with SPF 19.  This loose powder fell into the problem category mentioned at the start.  It was too toasty and a bit off in the colour.  The powder gave decent coverage, but seemed to darken under my eyes, working better with the concealer for a more polished overall look. Application was awkward in that it was a cylinder package with a screw-off top.  The brush is part of the screw-top construction and topped with a clear, tall cap, but when removed, that cap became the inner lid and was really deep. So there was really nowhere to shake the powder into that the brush could reach, plus the construction of the lid/brush was awkward to hold.  Bit of an engineering fail, but the quality of the brush itself was pretty nice.  I ended up unscrewing the entire lid, shaking powder into the much shallower lid underneath the brush and using my BareMinerals brush.  Meh.  2 out of 5.
Mary Kay:  

Mineral Powder Loose:  Gentle formula, and available in a decent of shades.  Not as many as liquid foundations, but  more than most brands anywhere else (shades .05-2.0 in Ivory, Beige, and Bronze), and your consultant with help ensure you get the right one.  I have used Ivory 1, and found it covered very naturally, comfortably and easily.  This is the foundation that got me into wearing foundation--until this powder I thought I’d have to resort to pancake or suffer with my uneven “natural” look.  Comfortable, even in Summer. Works great with concealer, and of course using over the Mary Kay Foundation Primer. 4 out of 5.

Mineral Pressed Powder:  Works just as beautifully as the loose, comes in the same lovely pleasing tiny square black compact as the Maybelline and has the best little brush.  I love stepping out knowing a perfect little compact is in my purse--I feel invulnerable!  Well formulated, well-designed.  While some pressed powders can seem a bit chalky compared to their loose counterparts, my Ivory pressed powder seems just a bit more delicate in colour but just as sheer, if not a bit more.  Even if I’ve applied with something else at home and need 911-touchup, if this is in my bag, I just dust it on sparingly and it looks great. **ANOTHER TOP PICK 4.5 out of 5**
I rate Mary Kay, Bare Minerals/Bare Escentuals and Maybelline’s Fit Me highest overall for accuracy, quality and value.  You’ll be able to access these easily and at a range of price points to create a polished, professional look, or your first Basic Face with confidence. 
***Full Disclosure: I have, in the past, been a Beauty Control consultant and am currently one for Mary Kay. I do it solely for the discount and do not sell for profit, the same way I also hold discount/membership cards for Sephora, Ulta, Peninsula Beauty and Sally retail cosmetic and aesthetics shops. I strive to give fair reviews of all products used in this blog, and pay for everything out of my pocket. If ever a product is given without purchase by a shop, Independent Consultant of a direct marketed brand, or manufacturer, this will be *explicitly* stated at the beginning of the review and the product will be highlighted as such.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sock It To Me One More Time

This is my lovely sock.  I’ve been in a fibre wasteland for a while, as life has begun sorting itself out in other areas.  I basically have finished two pairs of socks since last October (2010).  I started the Ishbel by Ysolda Teague, but got to the pattern chart and had a major head crunch, which I’ve already whined about.  That’ll probably be an R & R (Rip & Restart).
Stitches West 2011 in February afforded me the opportunity to explore the Sanguine Gryphon booth and I came away with this gorgeous purple Bugga sock yarn, among many, many other things.  So I thought, why not do something adventurous a sock!  I wanted something a bit more than a plain vanilla, but faced the fact that right now conquering Cookie A’s fab book is a bit out of my mental range.  So I sat down and wrote out an alternating twist 4-cable pattern with some ribbing.  
I cast on 64 stitches and went to town.  This was last Saturday, when many of you noticed that many of us were supposed to be at Retzlaff Winery for the afternoon. The event, of sudden notice due to the winter weather (it being June and all), had been cancelled, and Dr Gemma of CogKNITive podcast being in temporary residence, meant the motley bunch of us adventured and Pho’d and settled in for a long winter’s evening of fire pit s’mores and knitting.  
I kicked the sock off with 1.5 inch of 2X2 ribbing, then got to the pattern, asked for aesthetic feedback about 2.5 inches down and tinked several columns down several rows and was quite please with the overall effect.  Proceed with the Speedy Delivery.  So last night, GingerMan being released from Apple servitude at WWDC and home where he belongs to do my dishes, I was cranking along at about 5 inches and went to pull it on and show off my bad-assness.
Blur my lower face and break out the Bleeps.  Frikkin’ cabling.  All those beautiful 8-right and 8-left cables just cinched that sucker riiiiight in. #(*$&(&*#%^(#*(@#(*
A’Rippin I will go.  The entire sock, all the way back, to cast on 72 stitches and try it again.
Sock it to me, Baby!

**I know, it's very silly, but to be clear, this pattern is an original pattern belonging to Laura Ogilvie.
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Sunday, June 5, 2011


I have an itchy brain.  There are certified (certifiable?) reasons for this, but mostly it means ideas go round and round and round the old brain pan like a tiny mental roller derby.  Stuff just zooming round, bashing into each other. It’s chaos. And some of these ideas have been in here for so long that they’re either geriatric retirees sitting by the pool at some cognitive Miami Beach resort or they’re fresh, new Hellions--the grandchildren of those past unheeded creations, or perfectly pristine darlings. Young or Old, in the past year, they have teamed up in a ploy to be noticed. 
Stories and characters.  People who want to live their lives somewhere outside these confines and come talk to some of you.  They’re really a bit sick of my cowardice.  Of pages containing a few scribbles, allowed to exist for piddling nanoseconds before being torn out and torn asunder.  People hate asunder, dontcha know.  It’s painful.  And only The Inner Jerk, Bern, really thrives in the gated community up here--everyone else has been kvetching the tour guide, ever more insistently, that this confinement was not in the brochure.
It’s letting them out in any orderly fashion that’s the problem at this point.  They’re so used to the banging and crashing and hiding in corners that they’re likely to mob the exit , or worse, tell me to sod off and disappear.  That’s what native cultures supposedly feared of photography--that the box would steal their souls?  Perhaps by now they’re sure the notebook is certain death and they’re all gonna bugger off.
And then there’s the terminal embarrassment.   Somehow, I was able to start this blog.  After years of posting on FaceBook, writing about the here and now became unlocked, like an easter egg.  I don’t know how to level up for this, to let these freaks out of my head without dying of mortal humiliation.  I never really had a real-life embarrassing family, they were all very nice.  It’s explaining the lives of incorporeal characters, their words and actions and loves and losses that I’m sure will kill me.  If I ever posted a chapter of their lives, much less published a book, it would prove me a roiling mass of silly, stupid freakiness.  I could never show my face in public again.
Did you read that girl’s book?  Did you read what she said the widow did with the musician in the photobooth????” 
Really, why does anyone do this?  
Because of all the sniggling little voices.  Not the bad ones, I took my meds today (I even double-checked the pill case), just the huddled masses yearning to be free.  They may rush the door like a Who concert, or they may keep rolling round, playing side-on-side in an orderly fashion until they’re called out.  I don’t know how, but some day, they’re gonna go sniggle your brain for a while.  
The End?
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Thursday, June 2, 2011

WE HAVE A WINNER! Recipe *buurp* Contest Winner Here!

So I put out the call, and you, my lovelies, did NOT disappoint!  I have spent my wholelivelongday cooking my brains out and have made my decision.  A few comments first:

1)  THANK YOU ALL for entering!  I loved how each of you chose something that is deeply comforting and gives so much pleasure to the people you cook for--That's the most important part of cooking, and jumping in to join a contest shows bravery, so each of you, give yourself a Merit Badge--you deserve it!

2)  Jasmin's Ice Cream Recipe:  I do not yet own an ice cream maker, so I relied on the fact she has made the recipe several times in the last few weeks for various family 'dos and just because she really can't help herself at this point, it's like heroin.  And it is.  It's really really lovely, creamy and tasty, but I didn't make it myownself.

3) Yes, I was going to present these dishes photographed on my good china, but life has been mad as pants this week and the short of it is the china is not yet in the hutch, much less accessible while GingerMan is slaving away up in the city for The Steve.  But boyhowdeeee do your recipes look good in just about anything!  Photos of most dishes can be viewed here: Recipe Contest!


...I love spinach.  IdoIdoIdoIdo.  I've just never really like creamed spinach, as it is classically presented in barbecue or steakhouses.  It's always been a dark, bland watery mass of disagreeable nature.  When Mari posted her entry, I believed she was out to get me, because she is Crazy and Dutch.  And in her impetuous youth, she learned to cook so she tends not to kill stuff.  But I was pretty sure I had told her that creamed spinach is IKKY. But I have journalistic integrity.  I have Fairy Pride.  I have a Sacred Duty to the Joy of Cooking.  I made it first, just in case.  Basically, you flash-cook a tonne of FRESH spinach, gently squeeze the water out, so it isn't a runny mess later, then you do up a bunch of fresh garlic and shallot in butter, add the spinach, let the liquid cook down a little more just in case, then add the cream and let that cook down a little bit, adding salt, pepper, and the best thing to happen to dark greens: nutmeg.  I dished it and took a bite.  

I have to explain sometimes, to people sitting near me when this happens.  Sometimes, food is too good. Sometimes it is so, so good that I am filled with joy and happiness and warmth and it leaks out my eyeballs.  

I cry when I eat really beautiful food.  And this creamed spinach made me cry a little bit.  I felt like I met a long, lost friend.  I really, really love this dish.  Follow the recipe here and please, enjoy it like a hug from a dear friend, or better, enjoy it with a dear friend and hug them.  So here it is:

Mari's Prize-Winning Creamed Spinach

2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and tough stems removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream

Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat.
Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes
Drain in a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a large spoon to get as much water out as possible
Finely chop and set aside

Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium high heat.
Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the spinach and cook, stirring, just until the liquid is released.
Add the cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook until the cream is reduced by half, about 4 minutes.
Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

To everyone, thank you again for entering!  It gave me the opportunity to try some new tricks--I've never really made lasagna (well, once, and it's not spoken of...), or molè, and it was a lot of fun!  Next week a couple of new recipes for summer fruit!

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