Spinach Patties

The thing about spinach is that when I buy it from our local Persian market, the bags are just huge! I steam and sautée it here and there and add to other entrees, but I usually end up wasting some. So my objective in this endeavor was to really make spinach the mainstay of the meal and not just an accompaniment. I found this recipe for Sephardic Spinach Patties on Epicurious and decided to give it a go.

First I cooked the spinach and squeezed it dry. Then I sautéed up the onions and garlic. I added the onion mixture to the spinach and mixed in the matza meal and spices (salt, pepper & nutmeg). I mixed in the egg along with 1/4 c. of freshly grated parmesan and made sure it was the right consistency for patty making. When the consistency seemed right, I heated the oil in a large skillet and dropped the spinach by 1/4 cupfuls into the oil.

I fried the patties for about 4 minutes per side.  They really held together well and browned quite nicely. This can be a problem sometimes with vegetable patties of other sorts, and in my opinion, consistency is king when it comes to any kind of patty making.

I served them up with some sweet potato fries which I love to accompany with a chipotle mayo sauce. I just buy the canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and transfer the whole can to a Tupperware. Then, whenever I want chipotle sauce as an accompaniment, I chop up one pepper with a little of its sauce and add it to the mayo just until I get the desired color and spice level.  I also served some cherry tomatoes and vinaigrette along with this meal.  The colors were delightful and it was tasty and well-balanced too.

Sorry I don’t have a full plate photo to share with you, but I think I had a 20 month old hanging on my pant leg when we sat down together to eat.

This recipe adapted from http://www.epicurious.com/

Leek, Red Pepper & Gruyere Tart

So what do you do when you open the fridge and see two leeks staring back at you? Make a tart, of course.  I usually have at least some basis that I work from as far as recipes are concerned, but this time sous chef number 2 and I flew completely solo.  She got pretty excited about that. She even wondered if it turned out good, if we could “sell” the recipe to the Internet. How about we just post it?

1 pre-made pie shell (I usually get the whole wheat, good stuff ones at Sprouts

4 Tbsp. butter

2 leeks, chopped in rounds up to light green part

1 onion, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

Chopped fresh basil

1/2 c. Milk

1/2 c. Half and Half

1c. Grated gruyere

2 eggs

1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

If the pie shell is frozen, let it defrost about 15 minutes or until the bottom is soft enough to pierce with a fork. Pierce the bottom 3-4 times with said fork.

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet.  Toss in the leeks and sautée until they are soft, about 20 minutes over medium heat. Transfer leeks to large bowl.

Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp. better in same skillet and sautée onion and red pepper until soft.  Add onion mixture to leeks in bowl.

Add in milk, half and half, eggs, and gruyere and mix well. Add in basil and salt and mix to blend.

Transfer mixture to pie shell. Bake 30-35 minutes until center is set and top is golden brown.

I served this with roasted butternut squash and thee whole fam agreed that it was a keeper!

Roasted Carrots

I’ve roasted my share of veggies, cauliflower, green beans, brussels sprouts, and the list goes on and on, but for some reason, it never occurred to me to roast carrots! Boy, have we been missing out. These little gems are so easy and just fabulous. And this coming from me who really is not the carrot’s greatest fan.  I mean I eat the occasional carrot stick and all, but I can’t say I’ve ever loved them.  Roasting, however was a total game changer.

First I cut them into sticks. Then I toss them in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. I then GENEROUSLY sprinkle with some creole seasoning. I guess you could use any seasoning that you are particularly fond of.

I line them up on a parchment lined cookie sheet and roast at around 400 degrees for 25 or so minutes.

On this night I also roasted asparagus and cauliflower (which I mixed with some sautéed onion and black beans) and served it all on a bed of arugula.

Oh, and here’s one more picture of the three year old’s plate, just because she wanted me to take one of her plate too. Notice the conspicuous absence of arugula and rice replacement. Hey, she’s three, right?

This recipe adapted from: http://voraciousvander.com

Cauliflower Hash with Poached Eggs

Amazing, but true, this has become kind of a “go to” for us.  The kids love it, especially dipping pieces of a crusty baguette into the poached eggs.  The veggies are plentiful, and the chopping can be a tad of a pain, but I usually get one or two small people to sous-chef for me.  They hate when I call them Sue when that’s their job.

So we start with the beautiful cauliflower.

We start by sautéing a little onion and celery and then we add the cauliflower.  Adding a bit of water and covering assures that the cauliflower gets soft, but not too mushy. We also throw in some spices around this time.

After the cauliflower starts to soften it’s time for some red potatoes (wouldn’t be hash without those, now would it?)

And then we finish it off with some baby spinach leaves, just until they are wilted, of course. Once that whole conglomeration is basically done, we poach the eggs and then I plate everything.  Plating, you say? With this one, yes.  I plate and my sous chefs pass them out.  I actually love serving dinner this way because it cuts down on serving dishes which means fewer things to rinse and load in the dishwasher.

This recipe adapted from http://www.thecurvycarrot.com

Kale & Cannellini Ragout

So they say, that among the best veggies to eat are “leaves”. (http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/unhappy-meals/ for a good read on this and lots of other thought provoking food points) This can be tricky if you don’t venture  beyond your standard salad fare. Two of our favorite leaves are chard and kale. We make kale chips from time to time and love putting together different salads with it, but this little ragout changed things up a bit and EVERYONE liked it – including somewhat persnickety three year old.

Start by sautéeing a little onion and garlic.  Then add a can of diced tomatoes.  Add a little veggie broth and your chopped up kale and simmer until the greens are soft. At the very end, add a can of drained and rinsed Cannellini beans. Top the whole deal with some freshly grated Parmesan and you’ve got a healthy and delish dish. Sorry about the lack of step by step photos on this one – sometimes it’s all I can do to just get the FOOD on the table and take a pic of the final product. And yes, this photo does include Mama’s well deserved glass of Sauvignon blanc.

I served this one accompanied by roasted green beans (notice the bacon mixed in with those little beans- thus the “using meat for flavor and accent” stance we have taken – plus, bacon makes anything  so much tastier) and a grated carrot salad with raisins and a fig walnut vinaigrette.

Adapted from http://www.epicurious.com/

So Here We Go . . .

Kind of like that itch that won’t go away no matter what you do, this blog has been brewing for a while now. I’ve tried to ignore it, but the itching just won’t stop. So, I guess this is my official introduction- the point in time where I concede, take my sock off and scratch the itch. It’s been a progressive journey to get here.  We used to eat like “normal” people. Then hubby decided red meat wasn’t his thing.  No problem, we dialed things back to pork, fish, and chicken. Ever so slowly, he started boycotting chicken and the pig. Ok, that was a little tougher.  It took me about 5 months to wrap my little culinary head around exactly what one might put on the table it not a hunk o’ meat accompanied by a starch and a veggie. Finally I made the break through and had a ball going all out veg. We were still eating the usual snacks, pre-prepared entrees from time to time, and other “stuff”. Then I happened upon Jen Hatmaker’s book Seven. The whole food chapter upped the ante a notch, and that book, of course, led me to Michale Pollan’s book, Food Rules (among other things). So here we are. We’re just a regular old family, but for about 3 months now, we’ve been eating in a really different way.  If you know Pollan let’s just say we have given up “edible food like substances” in favor of FOOD. I find the challenge fun and like to observe my family’s reaction to this new and evolving approach to nourishment. So join me as I share the REAL FOOD ON OUR TABLE every night.