Posts tagged ‘spinach’
This is the kind of Saturday I live for all year long. The sun is shining and it was 20C by 9am this morning when we pulled up to the West End Farmer’s Market. Cherries, raspberries, blueberries, spinach, kale, carrots and soft ripe apricots all followed us home, along with a wedge of cheese flecked with carraway seeds and the salmon and halibut we picked up from our share in Skipper Otto’s community supported fishery.
It’s all a bit predictable, finding bliss in the Saturday market and all of its bounty, but it never seems to get old.
Way back in January I showed you the first flower blooming in my little garden: a humble snowdrop. Now, several months later, we are finally enjoying the first food from the patio garden. Arugula is thriving in this wooden wine crate. I am a more complete person when I can walk outside to my own garden and gather a small plate of greens to eat. Really. It makes that much difference.
But why? Taste, yes, of course. And I am infinitely satisfied when seeds I plant start growing from the ground, especially if they become food. Healthy, leafy greens, organically grown zero-miles away, and available when I want them in whatever quantity I need, whether a few leaves for a sandwich or a bowlful for a salad. The ease and simplicity is such a relief compared to the steep challenge of so many other aspects of my life.
Other edibles are coming along nicely as well. Baby salad greens and spinach are ready to pick along with chives, mint, oregano and thyme. Peas and swiss chard are showing progress and I’ve finally moved my tomato plants outside, which put an end to the jungle-like grow operation inside our house. It’s so nice to be foraging and cultivating food outdoors again.
I love gnocchi as an alternative to pasta. Like pasta it will happily swim in an endless variety of sauces and flavours and I also like that it feels a bit fancy even though it is actually easier to make than pasta. The dish pictured here is a spinach and sun-dried tomato cream sauce with fresh tomatoes on top; a spicy tomato sauce swirled with fresh herbs and a bit of goat cheese is also delicious.
Tackling homemade gnocchi is on my list of cooking adventures to try someday, but for now I just use the packaged variety from the pasta aisle at the grocery store.
Gnocchi with spinach and sun-dried tomato cream sauce
Serves 2 for dinner
1 package of gnocchi
1 tablespoon of olive or canola oil
1/2 of a medium sized onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine (or vegetable stock if you’d rather drink the wine)
1 cup of cream (if you’re calorie-minded you can also use non-fat evaporated milk)***
1 tablespoon of basil pesto
2-3 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
1-2 chopped fresh tomatoes
parmesan cheese & fresh ground pepper
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the gnocchi. Add onions and oil to another pan and cook on medium until the onions soften and start to brown. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and add the wine (or stock) to deglaze the pan. Cook for a few minutes until the wine has reduced a bit and stir in the cream, pesto and spinach. Turn down the heat to low and allow the sauce to warm for a few minutes while you’re cooking the gnocchi.
Drop the gnocchi in the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes – just until the gnocchi are bobbing at the surface of the water. Drain well and return to the pot.
Pour the sauce over the drained gnocchi and then dish it into plates. Top with fresh tomatoes, grated parmesan cheese and fresh pepper. Serve with a salad and whatever is left of the wine you used for cooking.
*** I am cooking with cream these days. Life is short.
I love fruit in salads. The combination of blueberries and mangoes get a bit of a kick from hot pepper flakes and cilantro. This salad is fresh and summery and tastes great with grilled fish and boiled new potatoes.
Blueberry Mango Spinach Salad
1 ripe mango, cut into small chunks
1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 red pepper, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
Juice from 1/2 a lime
6-8 cups fresh spinach
Mix together mango, blueberries, red pepper, cilantro, shallots, hot pepper flakes and lime juice in a small bowl and let the mixture rest for at least a few minutes to allow the flavours to combine. Place spinach in a large salad bowl or on individual plates and sprinkle with the mango-blueberry mixture. Drizzle your favourite salad dressing on top and serve.
A quick post to point you in the direction of my strawberry salad recipe. It’s strawberry season again and enjoying the ripe red fruit in a delicious salad is a rite of summer for me. I found beautiful BC-grown organic strawberries for sale at the corner store on our street this week and I’ve been blissfully eating my way through a big basket for the past two days.
I’ve updated the original recipe to include mint and chopped green onions along with the salad greens, strawberries and goat cheese. Those herbs combined with the creamy cheese and the juicy sweetness of the strawberries is a magical pairing.
Happy strawberry finding and salad eating!