Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cooking class

I'm not the grand cook in my house. That would be Lyle. Lyle who can make his own foie gras. Lyle who can make tiramisu better than most restaurants. Lyle who instinctively knows which spices and how much to add to just about everything.

Nope. That's not me. I follow recipes. I rarely go with the flow in the kitchen. I find my best dishes and repeat them without straying.

Don't get me wrong. My food taste great. If I was with a truly awful cook I'd probably be knows as "the good cook". Thank god that didn't happen, because I don't actually love to cook. I cook, so I can eat.

All that being said here are three recipes I happen to know that work.

I have fallen in love with Paula Dean. She has a cooking show on the Food Network. I saw her on Oprah and she was so funny, I had to follow her to her own TV show. She is from Savannah, GA. I love her accent. Only a Southern lady can take a three letter one-syllable word like "dip" and change it to w two syllable word "di-yup" and make me still love her.

Now I don't want to get into any trouble with other websites, so I am not including the recipes here. Just follow the links in the highlighted colors and you will be taken to them to print them out for yourselves.

Here is an impossibly easy, fun and TASTY recipe for asparagus wrapped in filo pastry. My tip, have a little patience for the filo dough. Its very thin (on purpose) and make a slight mess on your counter. Easy clean up.

When your asparagus is done, Paula suggested presenting it as in the photo at the beginning of the blog. She used swiss chard I believe. I used beet greens as we had some on hand from making borscht (Lyle's specialty).

Another thing I am not the best at is gardening. I am just a newbie at getting things to grow. Too much faith in Mother Nature, not enough faith in adding fertilizer. But this year we are having a bumper crop. Almost everything I've put in the ground has made astounding progress.

So can someone tell me why I planted spinach?

I recently learned that cooked spinach is better for you than raw spinach. Since I don't love spinach either way (I grudgingly eat spinach. I don't hate it. I don't love it. But it's good for me, so I try. Children, are you listening? I sure didn't.)

Holistic health expert Dr. Andrew Well explains, "Raw spinach, chard and beet greens contain oxalic acid a dicarboxylic acid occurring in various fruits and vegetables and as a metabolic product of glyoxylic or ascorbic acid; it is not metabolized but is excreted in the urine. Excess may lead to formation of calcium oxalate calculi in the kidney., which robs your body of calcium and iron. In general, these natural toxins are destroyed by cooking, especially cooking in water."
Spinach is America's most popular dark leafy green, and is very high in calcium and iron, though these nutrients are best absorbed by the human body when the leaves are cooked.
So here I was with a BOUNTIFUL HARVEST of Spinach in my front yard garden. Where the hell am I going to hide all that cooked spinach?


My first harvest of spinach from the front yard garden.

Not even half of it fit into the pan at first. Apparently five cups of raw spinach cooks down to 1 cup cooked.

Et, Voilá, Quiche!

My first recipe for spinach quiche is from Epicurious, it's called "speedy spinach quiche" and it is. You don't have to pre-bake the crust. (If you know anything about cooking, you will go to the store and buy the Pillsbury pre-made pie crusts in the refrigerator section.) The speedy spinach quiche is a delight. I also grate my cheese int eh food processor (or you could buy pre-grated!). I cut every corner I can.

My second quiche recipe is Madame Quiche's Quiche au Fromage. Slightly more involved (only slightly). This one you do have to pre-bake the crust. I do find this recipe about 5% better than the speedy spinach recipe. But for 5%, do you want to devote that much more effort?

After all my talk about not modifying recipes I will now confess that the Speedy Spinach recipe doesn't call for bacon but I add it in with the egg mixture. And Madame Quiche's recipe doesn't call for spinach, but I add it in just before the egg mixture.

Bon Appetitte!


Rachel said...

Oh and let's not forget CREAMED SPINACH! Yum! Which would also taste better with bacon!

Jim said...

Ugh, remember I don't actually LIKE spinach. I think creamed spinach would a whole lot of... well, SPINACH.

Rachel said...

Yes, but it also has a lot of CREAM and you have it with STEAK and POTATOES and YORKSHIRE PUDDING and - and - and....

I am my father's daughter.

Jim said...

Well at least I didn't have to point that out...