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“I have no regular spinach this morning,” said the young man at the Purple Sage Farms produce stand at the Boise Farmer’s Market. “But, I do have Malabar spinach, if you’re interested,” he added quickly, directing my gaze to plastic bags, each filled with a stack of enormous green leaves.IMG_1139I was fascinated. They looked like some overgrown tropical thing, not like something that could thrive in this hot, dry climate. “Oh, they’re going nuts in my greenhouse,” he assured me. “They grow right up the wall supports!” he exclaimed, raising his arms in a mock gesture to grasp Jack’s beanstalk.

I’m a sucker for new things, so I bought a bag and placed it on the bottom shelf of my fridge where it intimidated me for a few days. He’d said I could cut it up into a salad or steam it like chard or spinach. He also recommended using it as a wrap. A little Malabar goes a long way in salad. It’s a substantial green with a fairly strong flavor. I worried that I’d never get through an 8 ounce bag of this stuff. Then I remembered the delicious ginger-lemongrass meatballs I’d made a few nights earlier and corralled in a Ziplog bag in the freezer. Then I looked at the chili-garlic sauce in the door of the fridge. Hmmm.IMG_0083I am now hooked! Malabar spinach makes wraps totally guilt-free!

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This is a full-sized dinner plate, by the way.

The meatballs were made with lamb from my lamb lady, Janie Burns at Meadowlark Farms, mixed with pork from Homestead meats, and a little magic from my kitchen.

IMG_1133https://rangewriter.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/img_1133.jpg