Ronnie Paul
Special to The Union

Time to try eating in the moment

I’ve noticed it’s almost impossible to organize a dinner party anymore.

It’s not that all my friends are busy knitting or night-clubbing, I’m just sour about everyone’s food fetishes.

Gluten-challenged, no-grainers, lactose-intolerants, acidity shunners, fruitarians, paleos: my friends’ diet restrictions come in Heinz 57 varieties.

I’d need a Dewey decimal system to categorize all their various predilections, plus subcategories for “yes eggs” or “no eggs” vegans and white, brown, or black rice macrobiotic preferences.

And those more-or-less vegetarians! Is fish OK? How about chicken?

The no-food-after-5PMers really confound me, and I’d only invite them for a cup of herbal tea, or in extreme cases, a demitasse of spring-fed water.

Over the years, I’ve surrendered to diets including strict vegetarianism, raw food nibbling and protein scarfing, and learned regimented ideals nourish my belly but starve my soul.

That’s why I’m fired up about the fad I’m starting, Momentarianism, chowing down whatever I truly crave.

Because I write this food column, my nutritional habits are often scrutinized, but now that I’ve spilled the beans about my current regime, grocery shopping will become stress-free. Anything’s game, so I’ll no longer hide the inorganic potato chips under the arugula or the pork loin behind bags of sugarless granola.

The one constant over the years, is my love of homemade food. No matter what your dietary leanings, I hope at least one of these recipes serves you.

Mango-Cabbage Slaw

Serves 4-6

Here’s something untraditional for your slaw file.

1 ripe mango, cut in small pieces

2 cups well-chopped Napa cabbage

2 handfuls mung bean sprouts

1/4 cup thinly sliced radishes

4 scallions, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Dressing

Puree in a blender:

3 tablespoons white miso

6 tablespoons olive oil

6 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon honey

Toss the salad ingredients with the dressing, and get ready to take a bow.

Spinach Bake

6-8 servings

This is one of my favorite feed-a-crowd casseroles.

1 leek

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 garlic cloves, pressed

12 ounces baby spinach leaves, chopped

6 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives

3 scallions, cut in Os

2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped

8 ounces crumbled Feta

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup Parmesan

Sauté the leek and garlic cloves in the olive oil, until the leek is limp. Add the spinach, and continue to sauté until it wilts.

Separate the eggs. Whip the whites until they hold their shape, then set aside.

Mix together the egg yolks, sour cream, olives, dill, Feta, salt and pepper, and sautéed veggies. Carefully fold in the egg whites — you want them to hold their loft -- until everything is combined.

Spread the mixture in a greased 9 X 13-inch glass pan, and sprinkle the top with Parmesan.

Bake for 45 minutes in a 350-degree oven until the casserole is golden on top.

Corn Salsa

2 generous cups

I declare this my salsa experimentation year. Here’s my latest musing.

1 cup frozen corn kernels

1/3 cup chopped red pepper

1/3 cup chopped mango

1/3 cup chopped red onion

2 tablespoons minced cilantro

1 avocado, chopped

Dressing

Whisk together:

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon honey

2 garlic cloves, pressed

Mix together the corn, red pepper, mango, red onion and cilantro and toss with the dressing.

Chill for several hours. Right before serving, stir in the avocado.

Potato-Kale Tart

Serves 6

Coincidentally, this savory tart becomes more brilliant when accompanied by corn salsa.

1 cup white flour

4 ounces butter

2 tablespoons ice water

2 cloves garlic

1 pound potatoes, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

1 small onion (about 1 cup) finely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 packed cup chopped kale

1 teaspoon powdered mustard

Salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups grated Jarlsberg cheese

To make the crust, put the flour, butter, ice water and garlic in a Cuisinart, and whirl until it forms a ball. Wrap it in wax paper and chill while you make the filling.

Put the potatoes in a pot with water, and boil until tender. Sauté the onion in olive oil until translucent, then add the kale and powdered mustard, and sauté for a few minutes until the kale wilts. Turn off the flame, and carefully stir in the potatoes, and salt and pepper.

Roll the crust out a bit, and press into a 10-inch quiche pan. The artistic style of your edges is up for grabs.

Cover the bottom of the crust with 1 cup of Jarlsberg.

Layer on the veggies — press down and smooth the surface — and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Jarlsberg. Bake for 50 minutes in a 350-degree oven until the crust is golden.

Ronnie Paul is a freelance writer in Nevada City.


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The Union Updated Apr 22, 2014 09:46PM Published Apr 22, 2014 09:46PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.