Friday, June 18, 2010

foodish friday: week 2

Two pounds of spinach.  Five pounds of red jacket potatoes.  One pound of asparagus.  Two heads of lettuce, one red, one green.  Two pounds of baby beets and greens, and a pot of rosemary.  (I may have purchased an additional flat of herbs, which may have included lavendar, oregano, and thyme.  And also more thyme and lavendar.  And also more tarragon.)

So what do you do when bags and bags of freshly washed greens come into your house?  You fluff them in a colander and wrap them gently in clean kitchen towels.  Then you softly and respectfully stuff them into a dry zippy bag, and get as much of the air out as possible.

Yes, I know that this process is sort of a pain, but it is WAY MORE PREFERABLE to stinkyrotten spinach.  Way. More.

Side note:  The only time I ever barfed when I was pregnant with Miss O was when I discovered a bag of stinkyrotten spinach hiding in the back of my fridge.  Because I'm ten kinds of clever, I ran out the front door and threw up in the shrubs.  You're welcome.

Dry greens do better in the fridge than wet ones.   And greens that haven't had the crap beaten out of them last longer than ones that have had their stems handed to them.  Do you like how I make the funny greens jokes?  Hmmm???

I'm not the kind of Nicey Mama who disguises vegetables by pureeing the vitamins out of them and cramming them into brownies.  Because really?  DO NOT SCREW AROUND WITH MY DESSERTS.  And also?  Learn to eat your freaking vegetables already.  I know there are real, live, actual fussy eaters out there, and I'm probably going to get yelled at by somebody, but I will suggest that a vast majority of those fussy eaters are fussy because fussy eating can be a learned behavior.   (I am not talking about you.)

You want your short people to eat vegetables?  Then start eating them yourself.   And contrary to what most people believe, vegetables are tasty enough to be a stand-alone food.  If it's a root vegetable? Roast it in the oven at 350 degrees with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, and thyme, until you can easily pierce it with a fork.  If it's green? Steam or blanche, and watch closely.  When it turns the brightest, most vibrant shade of green, it's done.   Don't like to cut winter squash before you boil the snot out of it?  Stab it with a fork or knife a few times, and bake it until it smells like pie.

You don't need to bathe it in cheese, or cover them with canned cream soup.  And please, please, please stop cooking them into mashed slop.  Veggies have character.  Put your big girl panties on and pretend you like it, and you'll probably surprise yourself by discovering that you actually do.

That said, here's my recipe for spinach lasagna.

Pour one gallon of milk in a big ol' pan and heat to 200 degrees.  The last 15 degrees go very quickly, so pay attention.  When milk comes to temperature, remove from heat and pour 1 cup of vinegar into the pot.  Give that milky mess a stir, and pour the whole business through a colander lined with cheesecloth.  Let this drip until it drips no more.

Voy-oh-lah, you have ricotta cheese.

While the ricotta is drying out, whisk together a 28 ounce can of plain tomato sauce and a can of tomato paste.  Add a little salt and pepper, and a teaspoon or so of either rosemary or thyme.  Next, chop a pound of fresh spinach, and a whole bunch of garlic cloves.  Do two if you're afraid of garlic, or four if you're not. 

When ricotta is cool enough to handle, transfer to a large bowl, and add spinach, garlic, 6 eggs, and a pound of shredded mozzarella cheese.  Mix with your hands.  Because it's easier, that's why.

In the lasagna-making pan of your choice (I prefer bread pans), layer 1/2 cup of sauce, a no-precooking-necessary lasagna noodle, a big handful or two of the ricotta-spinach mixture. Repeat until your pan is happily full.

Bake covered at 350 for about 45 minutes, then let it rest, uncovered for at least 15 minutes.  The resting part is important because spinach is very wet, and the liquid needs a minute to be absorbed.  In fact, make it a day ahead and you'll be quite pleased with yourself.

I'd have taken a picture of the beauty that is this pasta dish, but it disappeared too quickly.


  1. Based on your ingredient list, I'm assuming this recipe is the "Enough to feed a football team" version.

  2. It makes about a 9"x13" pan. My people finish a 9"x5" bread pan of lasagna easily, so I don't know if a football team would be quite satisfied.

  3. "Learn to eat your freakin' vegetables already."

    Would you come have a talk with my wife?

  4. Thanks for the recipe: I'm going to try it next week!!!

  5. Arby, I do not handle vegetable related marital interventions. I'm very sorry I can't help you.

    Shauna, I might try it again tomorrow!

  6. If I wasn't eating a big bowl of leftover spaghetti carbonara I'd probably be really hungry now. And is it ok to follow through with the "you're not eating anything until you finish that" threat?

  7. Yum! Sounds delish Pamela!


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