These two words form one of my absolute favorite phrases in the realm of practical living.
All-purpose flour, all-purpose cleaner, all-purpose oil… I love it all.
Wouldn’t it be swell if someone could develop all-purpose underwear?
One can dream.
Sure, every now and again, you enter those select mentalities where you feel like Mrs. Howell… and leisurely gallivanting between various specialty stores to pick up specialty goods with nifty specialty names and lovely specialty labels in order to make extra super special stuff is so completely necessary.
Because good gracious doll-face, you are special. Treat yourself accordingly.
But then, you always have to come back to reality, where the to-do list is longer than a Kroger check-out line.
For Mrs. Howell, reality was inappropriately wearing dainty lady gloves on the beach.
For me, reality looks a lot like yoga pants going everywhere besides yoga and a messy wad of hair piled on top of my spastic little head.
I sincerely hope your reality is slightly cuter than mine.
Closer to Mrs. Howell’s. Minus the stranded on a deserted island part.
This dish falls into the category I like to call all-purpose veggies.
All-Purpose Veggies: Vegetables prepared in a quick, painless manner which can be pleasurably consumed as is or serve as a base for a variety of further recipe options.
My daily diet relies heavily upon all-purpose veggies.
Take for example our sautéed kale/chickpea/feta toss-up here, I’ve been chowing on this mix just as you see it before you. In fact, it’s borderline embarrassing how addictive I’ve found the stuff. There’s something about curly kale leaves bursting with leafy green body and cradling bold salty feta crumbles plus my dear little chickpeas, with their comfortingly tender texture. Oh and the dressing… I’m so in love with this simple, all-purpose vinaigrette. Sumptuous notes of olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil so kindly befriending the bite of Dijon mustard and cider vinegar. Lordy.
Gets me every time.
All this vegetative vigor leaves an open door to endless possibility…
Here you have a magnificent soup in the making.
Or exactly what you need to toss up with some quinoa or pasta or other starch of your choosing. Risotto could be a blast.
Shoot, fold it up in a pita or wrap and you have brown bag-friendly lunch on the go.
Are you super carnivorous? Throw in meat. Sausage is cool.
How about super not-carnivorous? More veggies never hurt anyone. I like beets… beets would be tasty.
Toss in whatever you’re feeling.
Or not. Doesn’t make a whole lotta difference to me. Like I said, I already find sauteed kale+chickpeas+feta+rocking vinaigrette to be the equivalent of vegetable crack.
Thus is the power of the almighty all-purpose.
Sautéed Kale with Chickpeas, Feta, & Basil-Dijon Vinaigrette
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into thin strips
- 1 lb kale, washed, dried, and cut into strips
- 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained
- 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4-1/2 cup Basil-Dijon Vinaigrette (below)
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook until tender and fragrant, stirring occasionally (6-7 minutes). Add in the kale handfuls at a time and drizzle generously with the Basil-Dijon Vinaigrette. Stir until the kale begins to soften, then cover the pot for 3-4 minutes allowing the kale to reduce in size. Stir in the chickpeas, add salt, pepper, and additional vinaigrette to taste. Remove from heat.
Allow to cool slightly, toss in feta cheese and serve.
from A Love Affair with Southern Cooking, by Jean Anderson
*Note: this dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks and works wonderfully on a multitude of salads.
- 1 medium garlic clove, peeled
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 & 1/2 tbsp freshly chopped basil leaves
- 1 & 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 & 1/4 cup olive oil
Place all ingredients except the olive oil into a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil and process until a uniform consistency. Shake before using.