Friday, March 11, 2011

spinach for the win

I'm Popeye the sailor man!
I'm Popeye the sailor man!
I'm strong to the finish,
'Cause I eats me spinach.
I'm Popeye the sailor man.

 Sometimes I can't believe there was a time I didn't know how awesome spinach is.  Fortunately, and I'm not quite sure how, spinach was one of the first veggies I became fond of upon giving up animals for dinner.  I remember my early days of being a vegetarian and taking my lunch to work.  Before I really learned how to cook, I more or less made three things in rotation:
veggie lo mein
rice with sauteed veggies
veggie burgers and fries (frozen, both)
I guess I also made pasta with red sauce pretty frequently, too.  Regardless, I'm not sure I even had real tupperware because I didn't cook enough to have leftovers.  As a result, I usually packed a sandwich for lunch at work.  It was normally the same, since I clearly didn't learn my lesson in elementary school when I ate a cheez whiz sandwich every single day of my 4th grade year.  I haven't been able to look at the stuff since.  Anyway, I made a bagel sandwich because bagels are awesome.  A Thomas bagel with a slice of soy cheese, a healthy lump of raw baby spinach, alfalfa sprouts, and another slice of cheese.  Actually, I could go for one of those again... it's been about 5-6 years since I had one.

As you can gather from the blog title, Angst also loves his spinach, and Mister, too.  I'm pretty sure it was Mister who turned me on to spinach...since Mister was the one who got me thinking about not eating animals and then introduced me to a world of vegetables prepared in tasty and unusual ways (you know, with spices other than salt and pepper).  I'm pretty sure the Raw Spinach E.Coli Scare was one of the most miserable experiences of my veggie adolescence.  I used to make spinach 2-3 times a week, but as I broadened my culinary horizons, I met so many other fascinating greens with such different character: kale, chard, lacinto kale, rainbow chard for heaven's sake!  Arugula was another great awakening and if Whole Foods still has mache this weekend, it will be mine.

However, spinach was my first and will be an enduring veggie-love.  So, tonight's dinner, a special (time-consuming) treat for Mister: Potato-Spinach Curry from Appetite for Reduction.

Mister actually cheered when I told him what dinner was.  Like I've mentioned before, you really can't go wrong feeding my husband a curry, but when you involve spinach and potatoes in that curry?  Well, let's just say my marriage is secure ;)

I continue to be amazed at the higher quality of organic spinach, even when frozen.  It's incredibly green and maintains a texture notably absent from non-organic varieties.  Whole Foods sells one-pound bags of frozen spinach, instead of 10 oz blocks of ice and green stuff, and I got such a kick out of adding the little green nuggets to the simmering ochre curry.  It didn't take long after stirring them in for the ice to melt away and reveal the verdant color hidden beneath.

I think once we get settled and our financial situation settles down, I'll have to look into getting a bigger saute pan.  I'm really starting to push the limits of this one, but it's so much more convenient than a big pot sometimes.

After adding the 2 lbs of chopped potato and 2 cups of broth, I wasn't sure there would even be room for the spinach.  When I poured the spinach in, it just kind of sat on top of the potatoes like a heaping frozen mountain, so I was really relieved when everything fit together nicely enough for me to replace the cover for a couple of minutes.  I really had forgotten how much almost all of Isa's recipes make.  I guess I thought these would make less since it's a diet cookbook, but you know what they say: you can take a girl out of the punk scene, but you can't take the punk scene (and large pots of food) out of the girl.

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