This is not a recipe; this is an invitation to a late winter, pawing towards spring, lunch. I made this simple little bowl the other day after re-reading a column I had written numbering the health benefits to coconut oil.
Lauric acid is what makes coconut oil a nutritional hero; according to multiple web sources including Dr. Oz, http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/surprising-health-benefits-coconut-oil.
lauric acid is a saturated fat made up of medium chain triglycerides – short-length hydrogen atoms that behave differently than the bad saturated fats. Lauric acid is said to lower the risk of heart disease, raise HDL levels, lower cholesterol, have a positive effect on thyroid function, and lower high blood pressure. Coconut oil is almost all lauric acid.
Dr. Oz and a bunch of sites on the web claim that just 2 tablespoons of coconut oil a day will make your hair shiny, your wrinkles disappear, your herpes go away along with the common cold and AIDS. It’s an antibacterial and an antiviral. It improves liver, kidney, and bladder function along with just about everything else.
If you’re still unconvinced about the whole saturated fat thing, know that the Sanskrit word for coconut palm is kalpa vriksha, “tree which gives all that is necessary for living.”
Back to lunch. Eat this alone because it’s embarrassing how simple it is, but it’s too edgy and bright to miss. One could file it under “simple and delicious,” “vegan,” even “gluten-free,” but I would file it under things to have for a solo lunch in late February. The lime is sharp as a pirate; the cumin is south of the border, and the coconut oil is plush. All of it is good for you.
The flowering quince branches are a delicate pennant of spring.
Lunch Alone: Coconut Lime Spinach
1 tablespoon coconut oil
two peppers sliced, either red, yellow, or orange
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 pound fresh baby spinach
juice from half a fresh lime
1 cup rice, preferably basmati
chopped salted peanuts or toasted sesame seeds
Prepare rice as usual.
Heat a large saute pan to medium high. Add coconut oil, and allow to melt. Add peppers, and saute until beginning to wilt and brown. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cumin. Toss in spinach. Stir and toss until spinach begins to wilt. Squeeze on lime, and cook a little longer.
Serve over rice. Garnish with peanuts or sesame seeds.