I wrote a Curious Capitalist post about spinach last week. I didn’t have anything major to say, but I’d come across a cool blog post on the subject of the current spinach problems, and I wanted to write something that wasn’t about corporate governance. Plus, I really like spinach.

In the post I mentioned my favorite way of preparing the greatest of the leafy vegetables. So I was thinking that, in these spinach-deprived times, it might be nice to share the details. The recipe is originally from Cucina Fresca, by Viana la Place and Evan Kleiman, which I’m pretty sure is the first cookbook I ever owned. But I’ve made some elaborations and alterations.

You start with a nice dirty bunch of spinach (that is, not one of those precut, prewashed bags that carry E. Coli and don’t taste as good anyway). You wash it and wash it and wash it, remove the stems, then let it dry for a while. There’s no need to chop it up unless the leaves are really huge.

Then, in a nice big frying pan, you start cooking up some anchovy fillets in olive oil. The easiest way to do this is with anchovies in a tin–use an entire tin. But the best-tasting anchovies I’ve had come in Agostino Recca brand jars. Half a jar is about right for one spinach bunch.

Cook the anchovies over a pretty low flame with a few tablespoons of olive oil. As the filets start to disintegrate, add a couple of cloves of garlic. You can either chop them up or put them through a garlic press, I think this is one case where pressed garlic is actually better. Let this mixture simmer until the anchovies have disintegrated completely. Add more olive oil if the mixture starts looking a little crusty.

Now it’s time to put in the spinach. Turn the burner up to medium, then throw the spinach in. Keep flipping it and stirring it so it cooks evenly. Once it’s all wilted, you’re done. No need to cook it any longer. You can eat it right out of the pan, or at room temperature.

Meanwhile, until spinach is in back in stores, try swiss chard.

Curious capitalist 2

My blog on fortune.com is now live, with a post on the thrilling subject of where corporate boards come from.

Anyway, I thought this might be a good time to share some of the blog names not chosen (I had a team of four experts working on the project):

Mas Kapital (a favorite, but already taken)
We’re All Dead
Der Kapitalismusbeschreibungsblog
Capitalists Do the Darnedest Things
Captain Capitalism
Permanently High Plateau
Permanently High
Der Kapitalist
Der Kommisar
Capital Offense
😀 ismal
Fox and Friends
Office Pirates

UPDATE: Forgot one (see comment):
Truth universally acknowledged

Oh, and I probably should mention this …

I turned in the first truly complete draft of the book two weeks ago. Almost 120,000 words of efficient markets fun. And we now have a publication date that seems achievable: September 2007.

That said, there’s still a lot of work to do. Much of it is cutting, which I’m good at. But, especially in the latter half, there’s lots of refining, pulling together of story strands, even a bit of new reporting still to do. At least, that’s what I think. I’m having lunch with my editor next Monday, at which point I will learn what my opinions count for.

Eric Beinhocker, author of the massive and (judging from the two-thirds of a chapter that I’ve read) spectacularly good The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics, stopped by the office today for a chat. As he was leaving, he mentioned that it was only after finishing his first draft that he figured out what his book was about. I know the feeling now, too.

One other factor in figuring out what my book is about, though, is what’s in other new books like Beinhocker’s. He does a far more exhaustive and convincing job than I ever could of explaining the roots of equilibrium economics and its flaws. So now that’s one more thing I can breeze through in my book. There are lots of other recent books that have chipped away at the edges of my territory, and in the process made it much clearer what exactly I was writing about. Perry Mehrling’s biography of Fischer Black convinced me that I didn’t need to do a bunch of original research on Black, and William Poundstone’s Fortune’s Formula contains so much great biographical detail on the amazing Ed Thorp that I no longer felt the urge to devote half my book to the smartest man in Newport Beach. I have yet to read much of Donald MacKenzie’s An Engine Not a Camera, but I’m assuming it will absolve me from giving a lengthy explanation of options-pricing theory. I’m still a little worried about Peter Bernstein’s planned update of Capital Ideas, which could conceivably render my book entirely superfluous. But Peter has assured me we’re going after different readers. And of course he’s right. Right?

Curious capitalist

My long-awaited (by me at least) conversion of my occasional fortune.com contributions into a regular blog is set to begin on Wednesday. It’s going to be called “The Curious Capitalist,” a name coined by Brian O’Keefe. It had been threatened that if I didn’t come up with something better, it would be called “The Justin Fox Files.” So thanks, Brian.

I’m not entirely sure where that leaves this blog. Posts about the book belong here, of course, but I have to figure out what else. More news soon on this same channel.