Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Notes from Nikki--what to do with all those greens
Wondering what to do with all those cooking greens? :-) Here are a few ideas that we have enjoyed this season. I hope you do too!
Perpetual Spinach Pie
1 bunch perpetual spinach, tough stems removed, finely chopped (kale or chard would also work)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 C whole milk
1 Tbsp dijon mustard (Optional... as it turned out, I didn't have this on hand. I include it here, because, in my mind, it would have been really good with a bit o' mustardy goodness)
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Approximately 1/2-3/4 C grated baby swiss (or more if you want it cheesier)
Couple shakes red pepper flakes (optional)
9" round pie crust, pre-made and ready to use
Preheat the oven to 375.
Combine the spinach, garlic, eggs, milk, mustard (if using), sea salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
Pour the mixture into the pie crust.
Top the pie with the cheese and a shake of red pepper flakes (if using).
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the center is set and the top has browned a bit (if the center is set and you still don't have a brown top, you can always turn on the broiler for a minute or two to finish it off).
Allow the pie to cool a bit once you remove it from the oven, then dig in!
Chard and Perpetual Spinach Casserole
Once again, Heidi provides the backdrop for this recipe. I use her basic casserole recipe, swapping ingredients for what I have on hand, regularly. You can find her original recipe here: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/mushroom-casserole-recipe.html . I almost always double (or triple) her list of ingredients to feed my hungry tribe, and have used an incredible variety veggies, meats, and herbs, in addition to the brown rice/cheese base. It's a great all-around recipe for that sort of thing. Below you'll find my latest go around with it. Feel free to double it if you have a lot of mouths to feed (I doubled it and just used a deeper baking dish). Azia snapped a super close-up shot of the finished casserole.
1 bunch chard, tough stems removed, finely chopped (feel free to use a food processor)
1 bunch perpetual spinach, tough stems removed, finely chopped
3 eggs, whisked
8 oz. cottage cheese (I always use the full fat variety for best flavor. Feel free to experiment with a lower fat version.)
8 oz. sour cream (Again, use the full fat variety for best flavor, or experiment with a lower fat version.)
1/2 C shredded parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves minced
2 Tbsp finely chopped chives (I use kitchen shears to snip them into little bits)
3 C cooked brown rice (I used Trader Joe's frozen brown rice, zapped in the microwave)
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375.
Combine the eggs, cottage cheese, and sour cream. Add in the rice, 1/3 of the cheese, garlic, chives, chard, perpetual spinach, sea salt and pepper.
Spread a little olive oil into a large baking dish.
Pour the mixture into the dish, top with the remainder of the cheese, and bake for 30-40 minutes or until hot, slightly puffed, and golden (if the top starts to get too brown, you can tent it with foil, removing for last 5-10 minutes).
Whole Wheat Rotelli with Perpetual Spinach Cream Sauce
1 lb whole wheat Rotelle (or other spiral pasta)
1-1.5 C half and half
1.5-2 lbs. chicken tenders (you could also substitute the chicken with chunks of cubed tofu or tempeh, or just leave it out altogether)
2 bunches perpetual spinach, tough stems removed, finely chopped (chard would work well here too, or a mixture of the two)
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3-1/2 C shredded parmesan cheese plus more for sprinkling at the table
Glug of extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground pepper
Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil the pasta in. (Once your pasta water is boiling, add in the pasta and some sea salt and cook until al dente. The timing can be tricky, however when I made this meal and started the water boiling first, the pasta finished just slightly before the sauce and it worked out perfectly.)
Cook the chicken tenders (if using) over medium heat in the olive oil in a large skillet, seasoning with sea salt and pepper and working in batches, until cooked through. As the chicken finishes, set aside on a plate.
Using the same skillet, add the garlic and saute over medium heat until fragrant (1-2 minutes).
Add in the perpetual spinach (and/or chard) and saute until bright green and softened.
Add in the lemon zest, stirring to combine.
Add in the half and half and simmer gently for a few minutes, stirring to prevent scorching.
Add in the parmesan, stirring until it melts into the sauce.
Break the chicken into bite sized pieces with your fingers and add into the sauce, along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate.
Add in sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta, toss to coat, and serve.