If ever there was a need for fast food, it was today. Yesterday afternoon I found out that one of my darling chicklings had LICE. Ewww. That word is so hard to say.
Actually, after having 5 children, the oldest of which is 14, I am surprised that the little buggers and I haven’t met before. Let me tell you, to be so little they cause an awful amount of extra work. I have had to turn my house upside down, washing sheets, towels, basically anything cloth in sight. And vacuuming….everything. Then there is the olive oil treatment, the combing (they would select my child with the most hair!), and picking, and washing, and combing, and picking. I do have a little secret to pass on…if you are ever visited by such a pest, buy a Robi Comb. Well worth it. Plus, there’s vengeance in electrocuting the little suckers to death.
Dinner has its way of sneaking up on me on days like this. Ugh. What to cook for 7 hungry people who all need to rush out the door in thirty minutes? Then I remembered the water spinach, or swamp cabbage as it is also known.
Last Saturday, the asian farmer who opened up a market just down the road filled a bag for me, listing its nutrients (rich in minerals, vitamin K, and Bs), explaining how he even had a license just to grow it (that concerned me until I googled it…considered a noxious, invasive weed to the FDA, meh…all are weeds until we eat them, right?), and regaling its sweet, lighter-than-spinach taste. Earlier in the week I had looked up ways to prepare it and the favorite among asian cooks was to stir-fry in garlic and oil, soy sauce optional. So, after a quick wash (it wasn’t very sandy…I think it grows in water, hence the name), I chopped it up quickly and stir-fried it with some chopped garlic and a dash of salt. I also added a little bit of water. Fantastic. Very mild, slightly sweet. The hollow, tender stems were the best part.
I also split sausages and pan grilled them until the edges were crispy. The sausages were made just down highway 59 in El Campo, TX. Prasek’s Smoked Pork and Beef Sausage, with Jalapenos was coarse ground and meaty, with the right balance of spicy jalapeno flavor. Nearly perfect, although I don’t know why they needed to add red food coloring. It wasn’t much, though, because I never noticed until I read the label.
The asian green meets the Texas sausage was a beautiful taste combination. All told, dinner took about 20 minutes to make, from fridge to plate. For slow food, that’s pretty durn fast.
This was so simple, I almost just left my above description suffice, but for the recipe minded individuals, I present to you instructions for cooking the temptingly named “Swamp Cabbage.” Hmmm….that name just doesn’t seem to have broad appeal.
Water Spinach (Swamp Cabbage, Kang Kong) Stir-Fry
4 large handfuls water spinach
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
Wash the water spinach and roughly chop, stem to tip. Heat 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic to oil, swirl without browning, then add the water spinach. Stir for a minute or two, add salt, stir a little more, then add a bit of water to the bottom of the pan to help the spinach cook without burning. Continue stirring until wilted and the greens darken a bit.