Posts Tagged spinach
The quiche is a dish that I always struggle with. Not because they’re difficult to make, but because I always want it to be something new and different and interesting. I’m happy to throw together a plain cheese quiche if I want to play with a good strong cheese, but since I have a bad habit of just snarfing down good strong cheeses with apple cider and maybe a few crackers, this is rarely an option.
Adding Indian spices and a great big heap of spinach, on the other hand, is always an option. As usual, I tailor the tart crust to the filling, so the dough is made with garam masala. Chile powder would be a nice addition as well.
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups flour
1 t salt
2 t garam masala
8 T (1 stick) cold butter
3 T ice water
For the filling:
1 large potato
2 cloves garlic
about 4 cups spinach leaves
3/4 cup milk
6 oz mozzarella cheese
1 T garam masala
2 t turmeric
1 t salt
1 T dried chiles (pequins, or chopped other peppers, optional)
For the crust:
Combine the flour, salt, and garam masala in the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse the dry ingredients briefly to combine. Add the butter in chunks.
Process the butter and flour mixture until it looks like damp sand. Add the water bit by bit and process just until the dough comes together in a ball.
Chill the dough for 30 minutes or so. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Roll out the dough and press it into a buttered tart pan.
Bake, lined with foil and pie weights, for 15 minutes. Set aside.
For the filling:
Chop the potato into bite-sized pieces and boil them for 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat a heavy skillet (I love cast iron) over medium heat and cook the garlic until it is aromatic and toasty.
Add the spinach and spices and cook 5-7 minutes.
You’ll know it’s ready when it has cooked down thoroughly.
Add the potatoes and toss to coat with spices and add just a touch of crispiness to the edges. Set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs and milk.
Whisk to combine, and stir in the cheese and salt.
Add the potato and spinach, and peppers if using.
Stir to combine.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust.
Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes.
I know it’s not traditional to any cuisine. It’s fun and delicious. Mr. B slathers his with Sriracha and has cold leftovers for breakfast. I can’t stand a cold quiche (or pizza or anything else meant to be served hot) but apparently this is just a guy thing that I have to get used to.
In any case, this was a fantastic experiment. I’ll be making it again soon.
I made these back in Texas. These are not po-boys (though I am discovering that the roast beef po-boy is a thing of beauty, truly). There is nothing N’awlins about these sandwiches.
Which is a shame, because they are so very good.
Also, I put french fries directly into my sandwiches. ‘Cause folks, I am classy. You know how I know it’s classy? When I was fourteen, I went to France. There was a lovely little sandwich shop in Nice where the incredibly snooty gentleman running this hole-in-the-wall made just such a sandwich, with roast beef and mustard and greens and fries all wrapped up in the bun. And clearly if it is done in France, even in a little backstreet dive, it is classy.
It is possible that I need to get out more.
This is one of my favorite sandwiches. It is in all ways superior to the hamburger, containing chopped beef instead of a ground beef patty, a good (though in this instance store-bought) roll instead of a too-soft hamburger bun, an abundance of spinach, and of course, the fries are inside the sandwich.
A fact which gives me no end of glee. Just go with it, okay?
Ingredients (makes 2 big sandwiches)
For the steak:
1/2 to 3/4 lb inexpensive steak
3-4 T red wine vinegar
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T mustard
salt, paprika, and white pepper to taste
For the sandwiches:
1/2 to 3/4 lb cooked and chopped steak
2 crusty sandwich rolls (or one baguette)
a big handful of spinach
1 large potato and cooking oil for french fries
mustard, to taste (my preference is for about 2 T/sandwich
hot sauce to taste
Make the steak. For me, the only way to do this is with my delightful mini-smoker. Seriously, that thing was hands down the best $30 I ever spent for the kitchen, and now it’s only $22. Combine all the marinade items in a zip-top bag and add the steak. Marinate at least an hour.
Smoke for 25 minutes or cook it another way if you aren’t into perfect smoked meat straight off the stove. While it’s smoking (or pan-searing or braising or however you cook your steak), heat a few inches of vegetable oil, slice a potato into 1/2 inch sticks, and fry.
Set the fries aside. When the steak is done, give it a couple of minutes to rest away from heat.
Now is a good time to grill up your bread. Not a required step, but oh so good. Just heat a bit of olive oil or margarine and maybe a smashed clove of garlic in a small skillet and grill.
Now chop your beef.
Spread mustard on the top half of your roll, and dot some hot sauce on the bottom. If that doesn’t look like much hot sauce, please bear in mind that it is Blair’s After Death sauce, which is pretty darn hot, and also I am a complete wimp when it comes to Scovilles.
Add spinach, meat, and some fries.
Devour. Crunch spinach, gnaw meat, make sad little whimpering noises because Blair’s hot sauce is really quite hot and there are about ten whole drops of it on this one little sandwich.
You can stop laughing anytime. I already admitted that I’m a capsaicin wuss.
I won’t call this my favorite sandwich. There’s a grilled cheese with that honor which I think will never be unseated. But it definitely makes the top three. It is delightful, contains only a smidgen of guilt, and is simple enough to make on a weeknight when you’d rather eat with your hands in front of the television than at the table like people.
I’m not even going to pretend this is traditional or proper or in any other sense real Indian food. You see, aside from store-bought naan, I had not tried or eaten anything even resembling Indian food before last month.
I’d considered it. Mr. Blackbird loves Indian buffets to an almost frightening extent, and asked me to join him more than a few times. But two things stopped me. First, I had a misconception that all Indian food was so agonizingly spicy that you couldn’t feel your mouth after eating it. I like mild-to-moderate spice, but I have no interest in ever consuming, for instance, the bhut jolokia that we just transplanted to the outdoor pots with the grown-up plants. Second, buffets carry an ever-present risk of accidental tomato consumption, and while I do carry a shot of epinephrine with me whenever eating out, I do not want to have to use it.
What convinced me was, as usual, the greens. Cooked greens feature in at least a dozen of my favorite recipes, and here I was being confronted with one made almost entirely of greens and cheese. Yes, please! This recipe is adapted heavily from Goat, though I didn’t use goat milk for the paneer or in the final sauce. Goat milk is delightful, light, just a touch sour, and doesn’t make me feel sick after drinking a glass. It also costs more than $4 for a quart compared to cow milk at $1.19/gallon. This makes goat milk a sometimes food.
Ingredients (serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side)
1 1/2 to 2 cups (1 batch) paneer
1 1/2 to 2 lbs collards, mustard greens, or spinach
4 T butter, divided use
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup milk, cream, or yogurt
2 t garam masala (I used store bought and I can only identify some of the components [cinnamon, cumin, anise]. It’s delicious, though; I’ve been adding it to my matzoh brei all week)
1 t red pepper flakes, or cayenne or paprika if you prefer
1-2 cloves garlic
salt, to taste
Melt 2 T of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. I prefer cast iron. If you are not lazy, skim the solids off to clarify the butter. Milk solids are tasty, and I am lazy, so they stayed. Browned butter is best, but not required.
Cut the central ribs out of the greens (unless you’re using spinach) and tear them into palm-sized pieces before adding to the skillet.
Toss the greens until they are thoroughly wilted and release much of their liquid. This is very brief (<5 minutes) for spinach, 10-12 minutes for collards. Tongs are useful for flipping the greens without making a huge mess.
Add the broth and cook until the liquid reduced by about 1/2, or 5 more minutes.
Put the greens and the remaining liquid into the bowl of a food processor and pat the skillet dry.
Pulse the greens to your desired consistency. I did not want a puree, due to my distrust of liquid foods, so I left off after a few brief pulses.
Leave the greens aside for a moment while you heat the remaining 2 T of butter. Cut the paneer into cubes and add it to the skillet to fry.
Clarifying the butter this time would have been wise; this is insanely tasty but looks kind of gross.
Mix the garam masala, chili flakes, minced garlic, and milk. Add the greens back into the skillet, toss briefly, and pour the milk-and-spice mixture over them.
Salt and stir briefly before serving with naan.
Considering all the cheese and milk in there, this is surprisingly light. The spices are mild–too mild for Mr. B, who added a hefty dose of hot sauce to his plate–but incredibly flavorful. Now that our cilantro is finally thriving, I plan to add a few leaves at the end next time we make this. On its own, it’s delicious. As a side for butter chicken, it’s a meal Mr. B asks me to make about every three days. So, though it’s likely nothing like actual Indian food, it’s still a winner around here!
I’m slowly cooking my way through all the delightful things we ate in Atlanta. I won’t lie; I ordered these for the name. (Okay, for the name and because there are rarely more than three items on an Italian restaurant’s menu that are tomato free.) Naked ravioli. Ravioli without, well, the ravioli. Without the pasta. Sounds crazy, I know, but it’s actually bloody brilliant.
We had these at Sotto Sotto in Atlanta, and despite a late (3PM) lunch at Flip Burger and a fairly hearty appetizer, when a plateful of about 30 of these appeared in front of me I ate them all. Slowly. Complaining of the pain in my stomach from eating so much. Then I got a bowl of chocolate soup for dessert. That is how good the food in Atlanta was.
The basic idea seemed pretty simple–just ricotta and spinach, well salted, rolled into balls and baked. It took a bit of experimenting to make the cheesy spinach balls not fall apart, and a bit more to bake them just right so that the center is meltingly hot before the outside burns. Once you’ve found the technique, though, these are unforgivably easy to make. Honestly, I can’t forgive myself these last 26 years of not eating these things. It’s shameful.
Ingredients (serves 4. We had half a batch for dinner and reheated leftovers a few days later for lunch.)
1 pound spinach*
1 1/4 cups ricotta
1 egg plus 1 yolk
1 cup grated Parmesan, divided use
Kosher salt, to taste
3 T butter
basil, for garnish
*Okay, for attempt number three, which otherwise is perfect, we had to use frozen spinach because the grocery store had exactly one bunch of yellow, wilted baby spinach in all of the land of produce. As soon as I opened the frozen bag, I was suspicious because the contents smelled distinctly sweet. Nevertheless, I pressed on. The end result tasted sweet. I don’t know what was up with the sweet spinach, but the flavor of fresh spinach in the other batches was far better.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the ricotta, egg, and yolk in a mixing bowl.
Mix well and add 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan and kosher salt to taste.
If you’re using frozen spinach, don’t do this. Thaw it, rinse it, and press all the water out first. A potato ricer, I discovered, is perfect for the pressing part.
Mix the spinach into the ricotta mixture.
Form the mixture into balls. This recipe yielded 25 spheres.
Bake the ravioli nudi at 350°F for about 20 minutes.
While they’re baking, melt about 3 T of butter in a small saucepan.
Remove the butter from heat and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan.
The cheese should melt if you leave it alone for a minute. Don’t try to stir it; that can make it clump up out of sheer rebelliousness.
This is just a nice Parmesan-butter here. Enjoy it.
Plop 6-8 ravioli on a plate and pour a bit of your magical butter over it. Add a hunk of bread, and enjoy.
The texture is surprisingly solid, yet it still tastes like it ought to be a ravioli filling. It’s almost too easy to make, yet could easily impress as a fancier dish for a dinner party. In other words, these little cheese balls may be among the world’s most perfect dishes. You should try them. They’re fantastic.
Pesto has been in short supply in our apartment this summer, since the heat has so thoroughly stunted the growth of basil that we haven’t been able to save up enough for a pesto. I kept looking back at the pea pesto posted on Smitten Kitchen back in June, but Mr. B hates peas. He hates them like a four-year-old boy, making faces and stomping his feet if I even talk about putting peas in something he has to eat, too.
We both love artichokes, though. And if pureed artichokes can be used to fill pierogis, I couldn’t see why they wouldn’t make a perfectly good pesto.
I was right. It’s creamy and rich, but still fresh and light as a pesto should be.
Ingredients (serves 2)
8 oz frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1/4 pound asparagus
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1-2 cloves garlic
2 T lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil, plus a few teaspoons for cooking the vegetables
salt and pepper to taste
6 oz. dry pasta
2 chicken breasts
a few basil leaves
2 T butter, oil, or schmaltz
Heat a splash of olive oil and the 2 T of lemon juice over high heat.
Add the artichokes.
Sauté the artichokes until they are well browned.
Set aside the artichokes and add the asparagus to the pan.
Sauté the asparagus as well. Also the garlic, if your garlic has not been stolen by a squirrel.
Put the artichokes, asparagus, and garlic into the bowl of a food processor. Add the olive oil.
Process until it forms a smooth paste.
Add the parmesan, salt, and pepper and process it again.
Set the pesto aside. Heat some oil or butter or schmaltz over medium-high heat in a grill pan.
Add the chicken and some basil leaves to the pan.
Cook the chicken 4-5 minutes a side until it’s fully cooked through.
Remove the chicken from the heat and chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta.
Drain the pasta and top it with the pesto.
Stir in the pesto.
Divide the pasta among your plates and top with the basil chicken.
Serve immediately. The pesto might be easier to stir into the pasta if you thin it out with a bit of pasta water, but I never remember to reserve any and it was delightful without alteration. We had a bit of pesto leftover and spread it over some toasted French bread for lunch the next day. If you like artichokes, this pesto is a must.