Italian Greenies and a Gift from Up

by Fresh and Frugal

A parcel! Oh me oh my! While somewhere in the busy screech of my mind I knew that he sent it, coming home to find a parcel from one of my favorite people made the anxiety of a late-night trolley ride through a not-so-great part of town and a long day (8:30 am-8:00 pm) working for my fellowship, going to class, touring the library’s finer crannies, and meeting with the dean, (pause to breathe) melt away. A smile smothered my face the way I smother my toast in jam.

Speaking of jam, look at what he sent my way.  Up, you never cease to amaze and baffle me.  I’ve been rambling about my endless desire for figs for more than a week (they really are the sexiest fruit on the planet, aren’t they?), and just this past Sunday had to force myself to put back a box of soba noodles and an interesting jar of what I think was jam to pinch a few pennies. Nearing the end of  a fantastic book, I was despairing at my own lack in inspiration for book-hunting.

He encouraged and fed me (yes, I remember those tamales!) during my freshman year, nudged me toward scholarship during my sophomore year, and composed his own reading material for me during my time in the UK. Here he is, doing it again. Giving me space without interruption when I need it, and caring deeply from a distance, he is one of the few I can count on to just get it. You’re an absolutely amazing person. Thanks, Up.

Don’t worry — I’m not worming away without dropping a quick recipe into your world. It’s more of a method, to be honest. It’s hard not to agree with Jamie Oliver when he says that we all need to eat more greens, so this week I really have been trying, and have already done this three times with different veg.

Italian Greenies

1 handful of something green: kale, chard, courgettes, spinach, broccoli, etc.

1 lemon (for juicing)

3 parts olive oil to 1 part lemon juice

Optional: garlic cloves, fresh herbs

Get a pot of heavily salted water boiling on the stove.  Peel and drop garlic cloves into the boiling water to soften them for mashing, if you’re including them.

Wash (and cut smaller, if necessary) the greenies and drop them into the bowling water before placing a lid over it all. We’re blanching.

Cut and juice the lemon. Lay out either a paper or tea towel, and when the veg is bright and just a bit softer (3-5 minutes depending on what it is), drain it and dump the steamy vegetables onto the towel to let some of the steam escape.

This is your chance to add the olive oil to the lemon, give a quick chop to the herbs and drop them in, and smash the garlic. Add the garlic to the mix and give it a whisk.

Put the greens on a plate and treat the mixture like dressing, drizzling/forking it over the warm veggies. Serve immediately.