7:00 AM Nicole Moss 23 comments
Did you know that during the early 30's when Popeye was becoming popular, spinach consumption was up 33%? Just watching Popeye get his superhero strength from canned spinach made kids want to eat spinach themselves. Didn't you? It was pretty amazing what that spinach could do. I remember the first time I watched something with Popeye in it and wondering if I could get my mom to buy that stuff in a can that he's always eating. I'm sure I would have been pretty disappointed the first time I tried to squeeze the can and make the spinach pop out, not to mention that canned spinach is not what I would call spinach's finest form. Still, it's amazing that a TV show could make people eat a food that is so often on the "yuck" list. It makes me think that if Michelle Obama wants American youth to eat better, maybe she should have someone make a cartoon character that fights bad guys with foods high in fiber and antioxidants.
(I'm only partially kidding. E-mail me, Michelle, if you want some story ideas.)
Despite the fact that spinach can't make you dodge bullets and give you superhero strength, it still is pretty amazing stuff, and even though it is on a lot of people's "yuck" list, it really doesn't deserve to be there. There are so many ways to prepare it that I'm sure there has to be some way that is acceptable to pickier eaters. Even if you have to blend it into one of those green monster shakes. My favorite way to eat spinach is tied between eaten fresh in a salad with strawberries and poppyseed dressing and cooked down with butter and garlic. I had a lot of spinach salads this summer, and now that it's fall I'm leaning more toward the cooked option.
I love this dish because it turns that cooked spinach into a full meal and it takes little to no time to get together. The browned butter, garlic and Parmesan add great flavor and the pine nuts give the dish a nice crunch. If you are feeling ambitious and want to make your own gnocchi, feel free. Since this is usually a quick weeknight meal I tend to buy the packaged stuff that takes all of three minutes to cook. In all, it's a fast, easy, tasty meal that will get you out of the kitchen quickly and on your way to fighting bad guys, saving Olive Oyl, and using your superhero strength to make the world a better place.
7:00 AM Nicole Moss 46 comments
Have you ever made a sourdough starter? If you have, how long did you keep it going? Is is still alive? Do you feed it regularly?
I'm just judging if you are a better person than me. If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, it's likely that you are.
I love the taste of sourdough. I love making my own bread. I think it's pretty cool that starters can been passed along to different people and develop flavor based on age and origin. I'm just not patient enough to keep one going.
In fact, the only experience I've had with a sourdough starter in my house was when my roommate moved in with one, put it in a tall cupboard we never used, and forgot about it. A few months later as I was fumigating everything in the apartment trying to figure out what that horrendous smell was (apparantly I was the only one who could smell it.) I found the starter again. Let's just say it didn't die a pretty death.
This recipe is for people like me that like the tangy taste of sourdough but don't have a sourdough starter. It uses yogurt as a cheater method to get some of that same great tanginess into a regular yeast bread. It is fast (excluding the rising times) and makes a nice, chewy bread with a light sourdough-like flavor. The recipe suggests spritzing the loaf with water throughout baking to encourage a nice, crispy crust, but if you were lucky enough to have received a large cast iron pan for your wedding from a good friend, feel free to use that to cook your loaf. Directions for both methods are written in the recipe.
If you like sourdough, I highly encourage you to make this bread. It's one of my favorite things to come out of my kitchen for a long time. My husband ate it for lunch and dinner the first time I gave it a try. (Of course, that also might show you how bread-deprived the poor guy is.) And if you do make it, feel free to lie and tell people that it is real sourdough.
Unless, of course, you are a better person than me.