Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hi again. Well, we are up to our eyeballs in spinach. So this post is all about spinach. Spinach is a versatile green that can be eaten raw or cooked and everywhere in between. Spinach is extremely nutrient dense and has twice as much iron as other greens. Plus it is an excellent source of vitamin K, carotenes, vitamin C, folic acid, magnesium, cancer fighting flavonoids, and more. It is an excellent addition to quiches, pasta dishes, salads, and as a pizza topping. That being said, below I’ve listed two great recipes that showcase the spinach. One is a warm salad and the other is a lighter version of southern style creamed spinach. So enjoy – and eat your greens!

Warm Spinach Salad with Reduced Balsamic, Baked Goat Cheese, Toasted Pine Nuts, and Sweet Cran
Recipe by Julie, serves 4

½ cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tb goat cheese
½ pound fresh spinach (1 Synergy bag)
1 clove Synergy garlic or 2-3 medium, minced
~ ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup sweet dried cranberries
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

  2. Combine the balsamic vinegar and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Maintain a boil and reduce the vinegar for 5 minutes.

  3. Pile the goat cheese on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until soft and bubbly.

  4. Cut the spinach into 1-inch strips by making stacks of leaves and slicing through crosswise.

  5. Place all of the spinach in a bowl. Pour olive oil onto the spinach and toss gently with your fingers to coat all of the pieces with the oil.

  6. Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet until fragrant and golden brown. Stir constantly when the pan gets hot.

  7. Pour the reduced but still hot balsamic over the spinach and toss with your fingers. If the spinach is not wilted put the spinach in a skillet on medium heat and toss constantly with tongs to warm through and wilt for just a couple minutes. Return the spinach to the large bowl.

  8. Toss the spinach with the pine nuts and cranberries and then pile the ooey-gooey goat cheese on top. Season with a little salt and pepper directly onto the salad. Yummy!

Creamed Spinach with Yogurt and Dijon
Courtesy of “The Grit Cookbook” (My favorite vegetarian restaurant ever.) Serves 4

1 Tb plus 1 tsp butter
½ medium yellow onion, finely minced
1 pounds fresh spinach (2 bags of Synergy spinach)
3/4 cup plain (whole fat) yogurt
¼ tsp Dijon or coarse-grained mustard
Generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Very small pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (vegan if you got it on hand)

Melt butter in a medium saucepan and add onion. Saute over medium-high heat until caramelized, approximately 5 minutes. Add spinach and cover, stirring frequently over medium-high heat until fully softened and thoroughly warmed through.

Stir in yogurt and spices. Add Worcestershire sauce and continue cooking and stirring over medium heat until spinach is satisfactorily tender.