First, let me just say I am working from home today to watch the inauguration. All I can say is Wow. Today is a great day.
And now, on to the spinach. Spinach has had the benefit of at least one free schill, but let's face it, Popeye is a little out of date. I know this because I made a Popeye reference a few days ago to someone about 10 years younger than me, and they thought I was talking about the fast food chain. Yup, I'm looking for gray hairs in the mirror right now.
Now, I know I've made the case for unpopular veggies before, but few actually face the negative press of spinach. Take steakhouses, for example. Apparently, spinach is so unpalatable it needs to be literally drowned in butter and cream to make it tolerable. And I respectfully submit that canned spinach is the ultimate way for parents to guarantee their children will never want to touch a green veggie again.
But last night I was out with the SO and we had a spinach salad that was, in his words, perfection. Delicate baby spinach with goat cheese, slivered almonds, macintosh apple slices and cranberries with a cranberry beer vinaigrette. The fresh bright flavour and delicate chew of the spinach was a great contrast to the crisp apple, soft cranberries, and creamy cheese. And baby spinach is still tough enough to stand up to a heavier dressing.
In fact, baby spinach is an excellent salad green with an assertive, but not aggressive taste and a beautiful rich green colour. But why stop at fresh? After all, anyone who has tried to cook with fresh spinach knows of it's disconcerting habit of shrinking to 1/20 of its original volume in precisely two seconds flat, leaving one cursing the day she didn't listen to her mother and buy four bags instead of two while she serves her spinach dish in miniscule portions to her ten guests. Ok, maybe that's just me. In any case, frozen spinach is a fabulous alternative that has the advantage of already being (ahem) volume reduced. It is the base of one of my favourite quick soups (full disclosure, I stole this from Mary's CRON Diary blog)--pop about 150g of frozen spinach in a microwave for two minutes until nice and hot. Dump it in a blender with some hot chicken broth and 15g feta. Blend (with the lid off and a towel thrown over the top, unless you really like playing hide and seek with little chunks of spinach for months after) until smooth, and enjoy. I usually have to throw the soup back in the microwave for 30 seconds, taking the total production time to about 7 minutes. But you can also throw it in an omelette or toss it with seasonings and stuff a chicken breast or a pork chop with it.
Did I mention frozen spinach is cheap, tastes good, and keeps forever? And I mean seriously, forever. I discovered a bag in my freezer I haven't touched in a year, tried it yesterday, and yup, still good. Oh yeah, and I heard somewhere it had TONS of nutrients in it? For anyone on a budget, monetary OR caloric, spinach is a great deal. Just try it. Grab a bag. It'll be around $1 and I promise you you won't be disappointed.