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Archive for the ‘spinach’ Category

Beautiful Bowls

Last week tax day was made so much happier for me when I learned I had won a bonus prize from Polly’s Path at Blogspot.  I featured Polly’s Path and especially her animals earlier last week.  When I got home from my off-homestead job on Monday, I found a box with two carefully wrapped bowls.  My husband was eyeing the box suspiciously, wondering what I had ordered.  I told him that I’d won what was in the box.  He wanted details.  I told him that a goat drew my name out of a hat.  I didn’t tell him that a human was involved too.

The bowls are the lovely creations of Tom Seelos, a Georgia potter.  I knew I had to use them right away.  I was making spinach soup, and it was perfect for these bowls, with their detailed white-glazed rims.  Yes, I said white-glazed rims; the coloration in this photo is dominated by our poor lighting, not the color of the bowls (or soup). This photograph doesn’t do the bowls justice, but you can at least get an impression of their beauty.  Thank you again, Polly!

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Spring is spinach season, so today I offer you spinach lasagna.  Chances are if you grow or if you buy veggies through Community Supported Agriculture, you’ll have spinach soon, if you don’t already.  We’re going to just barely wilt the spinach before we bake the lasagna, so it will remain as green as Spring, with no bitterness!

Some people think they can’t get their kids to eat spinach, but with no bitterness in this recipe, you may find it’s easier than you think.  If they’re still not believers, tell them that you’re serving “Great Green Globs of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts,” and teach them the song!  (Yes, there really is a song.  Just Google it.) Given kids’ desire to gross out other people, you’ve just made spinach lasagna a hit.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 whole-grain lasagna noodles  (you may need to trim them to fit the pan measurements)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • several leek leaves (green part):  about two loose cups–If you don’t have leek tops, use 1/2 sweet yellow onion, finely chopped.
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup (or a little less or more) milk–start with about 1/4 cup and go up to 1/2 cup
  • about 8 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
  • 1-2 ounces parmesan cheese (I use real Italian parmesan cheese.  Even though it’s not local, it’s so special that nothing else compares.)
  • optional:  select fresh oregano (about two teaspoons-1 teaspoon dried) or basil (2 tablespoons fresh, thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Remember:  try to buy organic and local if you can.

Prepare whole-wheat lasagna noodles according to package directions. (I used 5 noodles for this recipe, prepared in a 6-cup Pyrex dish, about 6 inches by 8 inches.)

Slice the leeks very thinly across the grain and saute in the olive oil.  Crush the garlic and add it too.  Let the leeks and garlic sweat but not caramelize for about 5 minutes.  Now add 1/4 cup milk and heat gently.  Add in about half of the spinach and start to wilt it.  Add the rest of the spinach.  Cut the parmesan into small pieces.  Using a food processor, process everything you’ve prepped up to this point, pulsing to chop the spinach.  Add a bit more milk if you need it.

Lightly grease a baking dish.  Spoon some of the most liquid of the spinach mixture into the bottom of the pan to cover it.  Now put down layer one of lasagna noodles.  Spoon on spinach mixture and spread out.  Dab on ricotta cheese.  Sprinkle on grated mozzarella.  Repeat twice more, so that you have three layers. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 15-20 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.  Let sit for a few minutes before you slice and serve.  Enjoy–and be sure to sing the song!

Do you want to make lasagna while camping?  You can do it!

Do you have a favorite variation on lasagna you’d like to share with readers?  How about a special way to prepare spinach?  Share in the comments section.

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Tweets and short excerpts are welcome, as long as you include the full URL and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader.  Please contact me for permission to use photographs.

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If you’re like me, winter starts to wear you down after a while.  One of the best winter boosts for me is bright green, fresh tasting spinach soup. Wait!  Don’t turn up your nose at this soup just because the star of the show is spinach.  My father had always hated “cooked spinach,” until he had this soup.  Since the spinach is just wilted, not cooked into bitterness, it retains wonderful flavor.

If you have spinach in your garden, you can use it in this recipe.  We’re between spinach harvests here, so I am using good organic baby spinach from the store.

  • 1 pat butter (about 1/3 tablespoon) with enough oil oil to lightly coat the bottom of your pan (or all olive oil)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced (Use less if the onion is strong.)
  • 1 tablespoon potato flour (wheat flour okay if you do not have potato flour)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (vegetarian option:  use vegetable stock)
  • 5 ounces baby spinach, washed and dried (Yes, this is how much spinach is in your average store box of organic baby spinach)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon thyme–fresh use a little more
  • salt, pepper, other herbs to taste
  • optional garnish:  parmesan or other sweet sheep’s milk cheese or nutty-sweet swiss cheese
  • optional garnish:  sliced boiled eggs

Begin by dicing your onion and sauteing the onion in the butter and oil until the onion is light caramel color.  Contrary to my usual cast iron obsession, I like to use a tall, heavy-bottomed stainless steel pitcher for this soup.  The shape will make it easier to use a stick blender.  Now stir in the potato flour, coating the onions in the flour.  Cook for a minute or two.  Slowly add the chicken broth, stirring as you go and keeping the burner set to simmer.  If you stirred the flour well with the onions, it should disappear as you add the broth.  Now add your spinach, stir, cover, and simmer for a minute or two, stir, and keep wilting the spinach.

Going . . . Going . . .

Once all of the spinach is wilted (this will not take long!), turn off the heat. You want to keep the bright color.  Add the milk and get out your emersion blender and blend away.  Don’t have an immersion blender?  Use your regular blender, but be really careful not to blow the lid off!  What if you don’t have either an immersion blender or regular blender?  Chop the spinach before you wilt it. Reheat the soup and serve in bowls.  Add the optional cheese garnish, grated, or the optional boiled egg slices.  Dip in your spoon.  Savor the fresh flavor.  Feel the snows of winter melting off you as the green of spring enters you and nourishes you.  Dip some crusty bread in the soup.  Mmmmmmm.

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