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I like Mondays. I might even go so far as to say I love them. Not as much as I love Fridays, because you just can’t beat a Friday, but I do really like Mondays.
This hasn’t always been the case. But then, it’s been about five years since my work week started on Monday, so that’s why. In Japan, my work week started on Tuesday; later, when I started working for Nova, my work week started on Friday. And I hated Saturdays, but that was because they were always my busiest days. No, for the most part, I loved Monday, because everybody else was at work, and I could go and do my shopping in peace. I could go to a mall, and it’d be so peaceful and quiet. I could go to a horseback-riding lesson, and there’d be only two other people in the class. If I avoided rush hour, the trains would be quiet and mostly empty. I came to appreciate Mondays. They really aren’t so bad if they’re not the first day of the work week.
Obviously, things are a little bit different now. Technically, Mondays are kinda like the first day of the work week for me because they are for Geordie (who definitely has it worse than me because he actually has to go and deal with people). I hate getting up at 5:45 on Monday morning, and I don’t like that I have to say goodbye to Geordie for a whole nine hours. But I do enjoy the work that Monday brings me.
I have found that I love to do the grocery shopping. I go at 8am, apparently a time of day when nobody else wants to go grocery shopping. I get that most people think it’s a chore, but I really do enjoy it. And I take my time getting it done, just to be sure I get everything I need, just the way I want. It can take anywhere from 60-90 minutes, and I enjoy it no matter how long it takes. It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment, and I don’t even mean that in terms of saving money. I don’t shop to save money (although I certainly try to save what I can); I shop to buy food that is both tasty and nutritious. I just happen to find food incredibly interesting.
This habit of strolling through a grocery store and checking out the foods developed in Japan, I think. Japanese grocery stores are fascinating. Even after I’d lived there a couple of years, I could still easily spend an hour in a grocery store while shopping for a handful of items. It’s not like Japanese grocery stores are all that different from American (they’re not), but there’s just something so . . . interesting about them. The only time I hated going grocery shopping in Japan was when it was raining and I knew I’d have to walk home/ride a bicycle home in the rain.
So, yeah, my favorite part of the week? Grocery shopping. I look forward to it every Monday. And if a trip to Whole Foods is required – even better! It’s a 30-minute drive, so I don’t go every week, but I love to go all the same. Man, that place is so much fun! Actually, much like Japanese groceries, it has that sense of novelty and adventure to it. Discovering new and unusual foods is fun. It’s just too bad that I can’t bring it all home with me. But at least it gives me ideas for things to try in the future.
And that’s about it for today. Just a little ramble about why I, personally, like Mondays.
In closing, here is a picture of a kitten sleeping on Geordie’s laptop.
One of the Doristas stated that this may be the easiest recipe in the entire book, and she may well be right. It’s steamed spinach. There, done.
Except, this is Dorie we’re dealing with. It’s not quite as bare-bones as that.
We start with spinach. Lots and lots of spinach.
I dislike stems a great deal, so I take the time to remove them. It’s pretty boring. But it’s worth it.
Meanwhile, the steaming apparatus can be warming up. I have three steaming contraptions, all of which I use on occasion but none of which are the steamer basket that Dorie suggests. The method I like to use the most is a microwave steamer, but ten ounces of spinach doesn’t fit into that. Not in one batch anyway. And my big electric steamer is nice, but it needs a good cleaning, and I didn’t feel like messing with it when my counters were already crowded.
Instead, I got out my bamboo steamer, which is my favorite steaming tool. It’s just so cool.
I love this thing. I’ve had it for years, and it’s starting to show its age. It’s easier to use than the electric steamer, and it’s less likely to over-cook than the microwave steamer. It’s also incredibly easy to use. The hardest part is waiting for the pan full of water to boil. Once that’s done, you just set the steamer in the water and let it go for however long the recipe suggests.
In this case, Dorie starts you off with three minutes, suggesting that it might take a couple more than that. Mine took four minutes.
To be honest, this was the only one of Dorie’s directions that I followed. I didn’t even season the spinach beforehand, which is one of the little genius twists on this simple side of steamed spinach. Nor did I add olive oil. Or even any lemon. When I reached for a lemon to zest before setting the spinach to steam, I realized that I was all out of lemons. This hardly ever happens.
Alas, sometimes it does happen.
Fortunately, I like steamed spinach well enough that I didn’t mind. I think Geordie would have preferred the spinach with the olive oil and the lemon, and he’d be right, it is better that way.
I’ve made this lemon-steamed spinach three or four times, and I wouldn’t mind making it more often. The olive oil adds great flavor, and the lemon zest adds a beautiful brightness. It also looks a lot prettier with flecks of yellow adorning all that green. It’s a very simple, very wholesome, very delicious dish that can round out any number of meals. I served mine with Dorie’s “roasted chicken for lazy people,” and it brought a much-needed green-ness to the dinner plate. It’s easily my favorite side dish from Around My French Table, doing well in any season. I could make this once a week and eat it happily every time.
Spinach is one of the few leafy greens that I will eat and never get tired of – in fact, it may be the only one. Though I do enjoy a good spinach salad, steamed is probably my preferred way of cooking it. And this recipe is easily my preferred way of preparing it. It’s a no-fail recipe that gets it done right each time.
Unless you hate spinach, it’s hard not to like this easy side dish. Check out the French Friday links to see how the other Doristas liked it. Happy cooking!