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spinachIf you cook anything Thai, this might be the easiest recipe yet, cause you can pretty much use any leafy green- baby bok choy, savoy cabbage, cabbage, napa cabbage, spinach, kale, or even broccoli. The concept is simple- chopped garlic, add fish sauce, sugar, black pepper and water and there you have it! Don’t add salt to the cooking dish or even soy sauce (as I learned) it will definitely be too salty. Wait until the dish is complete and then add to taste.

I have enjoyed cooking Thai food and getting to know the culture of Thailand. One day, I would love to go and visit Thailand especially the beautiful beaches or perhaps take a river cruise down the Mekong which takes you through several countries like Laos, China, Cambodia, Vietnam and others. Of course, if you are going to do this river, you might find yourself pulled to the quaint towns along the way, but also the memories of war past (Vietnam) might happen upon you. These river villages, Buddhist Temples, women weaving mats, sweet-like people-all these places live up to their calling “land of smiles.”

February Thai cooking offered such a fantastic array of Thai flavors (fish sauce, soy sauce, Thai chilies, to name a few). I know my husband said he could eat Thai all the time- it was one of his favorite months of international cooking ( I have cooked over 16 countries thus far!). What a journey.

Now, I look towards Syrian cooking and culture. I cannot wait to learn about this country which has undergone so much turmoil, war, atrocities since 2011. If you are like me, just your average person who does not know too much about the conflict, well join me as I learn about Syria.

In my little research about Syria so far, I see this – HOPE. In spite of all that is going on in Syria- there is hope admist desctruction and death. Maybe I am naive, but I think that in the kitchen with a pot of water and rice, you can transform 2 simple ingredients into hope. Let’s start there and see what can transform as I enter into this new place with new recipes from long ago traditions and with a people who love their country. I am excited and I hope you are too!

Back to the Thai Recipe:

Spinach with Black Pepper and Garlic (Quick and Easy Thai by Nancie McDermott)

Serves 4

2 Tbls vegetable oil

1 tablespoon coarsley chopped garlic

8-10 cups loosley packed fresh spinach (this will cook way down!)

2 Tbls fish sauce

2 tsps sugar ( I added 1 tsp)

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup water

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet or a wok over medium high heat for about 1 minute, and then add the garlic. Toss well and then add the spinach. Gently turn the pile of spinach to heat most of the leaves and add the fish sauce, sugar, pepper, and water. Toss well, and then cook, turning often, until the spiach is wilted adn tender, 1-2 minutes. Serve warm.

Just a few dishes from me and a few others who contributed in this fine journey.

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