Last Sunday, we had a small celebration with two people who, like me, had their birthday earlier this month. As with most gatherings in this house, decor and ambience did not figure in the preparations. We’re more into good food and great company. And we don’t really need sparkling crystal and silver for that.
Whenever we had this joint birthday celebration in the past, we’d consult each other as to what each celebrant would prepare for the meals. Yes, meals, as these have always been lunch-to-after-dinner affairs. Curiously enough, we missed the consultation bit this year. But since they always brought the salad on previous years, I assumed it would be the same this year. So, for our part, Speedy and I marinated sliced pork and whole chicken wings overnight. Just before noon on Sunday, I threaded the marinated meat on bamboo skewers then Speedy grilled them over hot charcoal.
As things turned out, I made the wrong assumption. My co-celebrators brought chips, soda and everything for a burger dinner — meat, buns and veggies — but no salad ingredients. So, while Speedy was doing the grilling, I did some fast thinking. We had a whole bag of spinach in the fridge. I took it out and made this super-fast and super-easy vegetable dish that, fortunately, tasted great too. So great that there was none left by the time Sam came down for lunch. She overslept — what can I say? I woke her up before we started lunch but she took her sweet time getting downstairs so we were halfway through lunch by the time she took her seat.
As an aside, Speedy bought more bags of spinach so that I can make this wonderful dish again. Another long weekend coming up.
And, as a final aside, by the time we were done with lunch last Sunday, Sam asked what was for dessert and I said… oooops, forgot about dessert. And she asked in the most exasperated tone whether we birthday people didn’t plan out the dishes. Never mind. I opened a can of dulce de leche for a quick dessert then I baked brownies and a chocolate cake. At least we had dessert for dinner.
Treat the spinach dish as a salad or a side dish — it’s your call. I just placed the serving bowl on the table with the rest of the food.
Recipe: Sauteed spinach with garlic and toasted sesame seeds
- a large bag of spinach, rinsed and drained well
- 1 tbsp. of sesame seed oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp. of minced garlic
- 1 tbsp. of light soy sauce
- about 2 tbsps. of oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp. of sugar
- about 1 tsp. of toasted sesame seeds
- Roughly chop the spinach. Include the stalks if they are tender; use only the leaves of the stalks are tough.
- Heat the sesame oil in a wok or frying pan.
- Add the spinach. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Stir fry for a minute.
- Add the garlic. Stir fry for another minute. Turn off the heat.
- Mix together the soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar. Pour over the spinach. Stir a few times.
- Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds before serving.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 5 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4