One of the things that I try very hard to convince everyone of on this blog is the notion of a foundational model of home cooking driven by the quality of the end results. As much as we shouldn’t let what we see on Pinterest and the food media affect our self-esteem about what we put on the table at mealtime, we still do. It’s easy to forget that almost everyone has staff in the form of assistants, food stylists, professional photographers, and the like. That’s not to say that you can’t compete at home with what you see, it just requires a different perspective than viewing your cooking as a group of stand-alone recipes. My Creamed Curried Baby Greens that use this site’s Madras-Style Mild Curry Powder are a great example of that philosophy in action.
In the interest in minimizing food wastage and maximizing time savings, it is good to buy things that have versatility in a lot of areas of your cooking. If you use something frequently in different ways, you are much more likely to use it all up than to have to throw it away due to spoilage. If it is something you keep in your pantry or fridge at all times, you’ve just gotten one step closer to a meal on the table by virtue of not having to shop for something. When you are at full saturation of your daily schedule like we are, that’s really welcome. Every unnecessary shopping trip puts off something else that you’d like to be doing.
I like the enormous tubs of sour cream that Costco carries a lot for the purpose of adding cream to the curried baby greens in this recipe. That is not only because of their utility and price, but because of the lack of food additives and preservatives. I always favor short ingredient lists in my shopping and cooking.
My father, who was an excellent woodworker, always taught me that one of the best ways to improve the quality of your work in whatever you do is to use a tool if there is a tool available. It’s a great philosophy that has served me well in the kitchen, but it can be taken a step further. Sometimes you have to make your own tools and create shortcuts to quality down the road. This is something we’ve talked a little bit about here before in a discussion on home-crafted spice blends like the one in my Madras-Style Mild Curry Powder. That very recipe will be used as a tool here to leverage past work towards getting meals on the table more quickly in the coming weeks and months.
While I am a mortal enemy of the idea of pre-packaged and processed food, I am much more friendly to the idea of pre-prepped raw ingredients for home cooking. Buying whole bunches of greens, stemming them, and washing them is a time consuming process that dirties a lot of dishes. I take the approach of buying packages of pre-washed greens of all kinds. This dish uses a bag of deep greens from Costco. I alternate between those and baby spinach to introduce some variety and to keep our food costs down, as the spinach is a fair bit cheaper. Either will work in this recipe for the curried baby greens, so experiment!
Creamed Curried Baby Greens
Heat the oil just briefly in a tall sided pot over high heat and add the greens. You may have to wait a minute until they start to soften to fit all of them in the pot.
When the greens are about half glossy and broken down, add the curry powder. Stir to combine the greens, residual oil, and curry powder.
Cook until the greens are completely broken down and glossy, but still bright green. Remove the pot from the heat and add the sour cream.
Stir everything together, allowing the flavors to meld. The sour cream will warm and thin slightly. By this point, a wonderful yellow color will permeate the dish. Remove the greens from the pot to a serving bowl to halt their cooking. Serve.
You can certainly use any store bought curry blend you like, but the one I use myself is my own Madras-Style Mild Curry Powder.
It's very important to have everything set up and pre-measured for yourself before the greens hit the pot. We are not cooking them to death like is usually the case, and things will move fast.
Don't add salt to this until you are ready to serve it, as it will make the greens weep and get watery. The sour cream makes things just thin enough and the salt will take it overboard if the greens sit in it.