Thursday, September 2, 2010

Baked Spinach and Swiss Chard Casserole?

I may need to come up with a more appetizing name for this…

Hi Chickens!

What a crazy busy morning! I had hoped to get this posted by this morning, but here it is almost noon and I am just starting it! We are continuing in the food thread today, I don’t always cook like this and am not going to post photos of me making Ramen Noodles (though they did constitute about 1/3 of my diet in college) so you’ll know when I don’t cook. Last night I made a sort of baked Spinach/ Swiss Chard. Don’t run away! I was amazed by how good it was! It was remarkably easy and helped to use up some excess veggies from the fridge (the swiss chard is from last weeks pick-up, not this weeks).

Now, I started this when I got home from work, and then put it on pause when Kyle arrived and we went for a run. By the time we got back, finished preparing it and threw it in the oven (1 hour cook time!), we probably would have eaten our shoes and devoured over half of it at 9 PM when it finished cooking. That being said, though Kyle was very skeptical (truth be told, so was I) we were thrilled by how good this was.

• Bunch of Spinach and half swiss chard washed, chopped/ripped(you can see the bundles in my photo, I am really not sure how much it was but ripped and washed it filled my salad spinner to the brim)
• 1/3 cup all purpose wheat flour
• 3 scrambled eggs
• ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
• ½ cup roughly chopped block cheese (we had cheddar so I used that)
• ½ cup breadcrumbs (in case you wondered, these are my absolute favorites for basically everything)
• Garlic powder and red pepper (I just shook it on evenly over everything; add as much as you like!)
• A handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped.
• ¼ stick melted butter
• ½ cup milk
• Salt and pepper

The steps to follow:
Preheat oven to 375 F. Cover the bottom of an oiled roast pan/Pyrex with a layer of spinach, layer of flour, etc until both are gone. (I am a TERRIBLE judge of space and size so I had to switch my pan halfway through this. It just needs to be big enough to get all the spinach/ chard in, it’s OK if it seems too full, it will bake down almost flat). Pour eggs over top, evenly and then do the same with the cheeses, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, red pepper and parsley. Finally, whisk together the milk and butter and evenly coat the whole thing, top with salt and pepper and throw it in the oven!

Keep an eye on it after about 40 minutes, the spinach will really bake down, it should look dark green and the cheese will bake nicely on top.

We had it with an Italian sausage, I know it looks obscene, but, there you have it. We are eating through odds and ends in our freezer. I think this would be good with a heftier main dish, for some reason I am envisioning it with roast beef, but it was good as an almost stand-alone meal too and I will definitely make it again!

Let me know if you try it, and really, it tastes much better than it looks!

con amore,

PS- I also made dehydrated squash and zucchini chips with a little salt and pepper, delicious!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just Because..

Still messing around with this, trying to get the size right for everything. Let's look at those veggies again!

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Hi Chickadees!

As I am not really sure what format or purpose this blog is going to serve, I am going to be trying a few different things out and see what I like the best. As that little blurb above suggests, I love to cook and am slowly getting better and a little more confident. One of the blogs I follow religiously is Smitten Kitchen, she has such great ideas/ recipes and has a passion for local and in season fruits/ veggies that is similar to mine. She posted this recipe the other day, and it happened that last night was our CSA pick-up, complete with three pounds of tomatoes! This is the whole haul:

(left to right; summer savory, opal basil, summer spinach, eggplant, tomatoes (unwashed, that’s why they look strange), 1 lb summer squash, and in front row; 1 basket cherry tomatoes, onions, peppers and Serrano peppers!) I LOVE our CSA, everything is grown at Stoneledge Farm.

On to the cooking! I washed the tomatoes, made x’s, blanched them and threw them in ice. The skin really did come right off afterwards! (note of caution: do not try to remove them from boiling water with grilling tongs, the slippery skin comes right off and when they plummet back into the pot the tidal wave of boiling water WILL go all over you). They look so pretty without skin!

Then I chopped and squeezed, reserving juices and started my other veggies cooking in olive oil. I didn’t have any celery so I just left it out entirely and used more carrots:

All together now! And simmer:

I did use my potato masher but there were some stubborn chunks so I used my immersion blender. I have texture issues and didn’t want lumps of tomatoes left. Don’t ask.

Finally, about 45 minutes later, I decided it was done, put it on some pasta (topped with basil from the herb garden Kyle got me for Christmas!), Kyle made a salad and… Mangia!

So, I am aware my photos need work, Smitten Kitchen’s look much better. But- this was delicious and I froze the leftover sauce so this winter when we are sick of cabbage and potatoes we can have a taste of summer!

Written with love and slightly scalded hands,