Tag Archives: Spinach

Sausage and Spinach Frittata

New Year's Day BrunchHello, everyone! I hope that you are doing well. I have been busy moving so I have not had as much time as usual for cooking and writing. However, now we are settling into our new place and I am really enjoying our new kitchen! I think it will be a lot of fun to develop new foods over time.

A few months ago I prepared a brunch for SensitiveHusband and me. The brunch took place awhile ago, as you can probably tell from the winter-themed plates we used! However, the menu will work well during any season. In fact, this meal has become a ‘regular’ in our house because we always have these ingredients on hand and the meal can be made within 30 minutes. The main star is a Spinach and Sausage Frittata, which has the texture of a fluffy omelette.

New Year's Day Brunch 2I was inspired by a frittata recipe that I found online through MyRecipes. I decided to use fresh spinach rather than frozen, I reduced the amount of cheese and egg just a bit, and I found a wonderful sausage that is free of sugar, yeast, and onions while still full of flavor. Did I mention that the sausages are gluten free too? And they are fully cooked? Can you tell I like them?

I served the frittata with some pumpkin muffins, a simple salad, and a bunch of grapes. We really enjoyed this meal! I hope you do too.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 medium sweet sausages (about 10 oz.) (A great brand is Aidell’s – my favorite is Roasted Garlic & Gruyere Cheese)
1 (10 oz.) package fresh spinach, rinsed (frozen spinach can also be used)
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup shredded cheese (I like Asiago, Parmesan would also work well)

Preparation
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large nonstick, ovenproof skillet, warm olive oil over medium-high heat. (If skillet isn’t ovenproof, wrap handles in a double layer of foil.) Chop sausage into bite-sized pieces and add to skillet. Brown the sausages on all sides, about 7-10 minutes (or if using uncooked sausages, cook thoroughly).

Squeeze as much liquid as possible from spinach, then add to skillet. Cook, stirring well and scraping up any cooked bits on bottom of skillet.

Pour eggs into skillet and stir to mix with spinach/sausage mixture. Stop stirring and cook over medium heat, lifting edges of frittata with a spatula to let uncooked eggs flow underneath. Cook until almost set, about 3 minutes.

Sprinkle cheese on top and transfer skillet to oven. Bake, uncovered, until frittata is puffed and lightly browned on top, about 10-12 minutes. Lift frittata around edges of skillet and gently shake pan to loosen. Slide out of pan and onto a cutting board and cut into wedges. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes 4-6 servings.

Spinach Sausage Soup That is Full of Flavor and Free From Gluten, Sugar and Yeast!

SpinachSausageSoupI have been really pleased lately because the weather has been delightful. Not only have I been able to enjoy the outdoors, my CSA farm share extended its season for an additional five weeks! I am still receiving fresh produce that is inspiring me to try new recipes.

Last weekend I had a bounty of farm fresh carrots, garlic, parsley, thyme and spinach. I also had a nice chicken sausage sitting in the fridge that had not yet been spoken for. I decided to whip up a spinach and sausage soup, which seemed like a nice accompaniment to the cool temperatures in the evenings.

If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, the soup will do well with the dried versions – just use smaller quantities. All of the ingredients can be purchased either at the grocery store or farm stand. My sausage of choice is Aidell’s Roasted Garlic and Gruyere because it does not contain anything that I am sensitive to. Their web site has a useful list of their products with allergen information so you can choose a sausage that will work with your dietary needs. And if you need a yeast/gluten/sugar/onion free broth, Pacific Organic Mushroom Broth is a great option.

The soup is full of flavor and is great as an appetizer or entree. I hope that you find this soup to be delicious too.

Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
2-3 carrots, sliced
2-3 celery stalks, sliced
12 oz. smoked sausage (4 links), sliced
2 cups broth (mushroom, vegetable, or chicken)
4 cups water
1 tsp. pepper
2 Tbs. fresh parsley (or 1 Tbs. dried parsley)
1 Tbs. fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried thyme)
1-2 cups fresh spinach, washed and ripped/cut into bite-siced pieces

Preparation:
Heat a large saucepan on medium high. Add olive oil and garlic to pan, and allow the garlic to start sizzling. Add the carrots, celery, and sausage to the pan, and allow to brown, stirring occasionally, about 5-10 minutes. Add broth and water to the pan, turn up the heat to high, and bring to a boil. While heating up, add the pepper, parsley and thyme. Once the soup has reached a boil, add the spinach and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes; then your soup is ready to enjoy.

I am sharing my recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

An Abundance of Vegetables and an Afternoon Makes a Rustic Tart

spinach-bokchoy-collardsHappy Summer everyone! The days are long and the temperatures are heating up. Speaking of summer, have you participated in my latest two-click poll? I am interested in your opinions regarding your favorite summertime foods. I plan to create a new recipe based on the food that receives the most votes, so thank you for your participation! Just click this link or visit my home page.

My CSA farm share continues to surprise me. Last week my box was filled with an assortment of green leafy vegetables including bok choy (pictured in the front), collard greens (on the right), and spinach (on the left). The bok choy, also referred to as Chinese Cabbage, has thick, white, edible stems. Collard greens, like bok choy, are part of the cabbage family, with wide, green stems that resemble pretty fans. Native to central and southwestern Asia, spinach is an edible flowering plant in the amaranth family with leaves that are smaller than the others already mentioned. They are all delicious but I prefer to eat them cooked because they have a sweeter flavor and are easier to chew and digest. Since I had an abundance of leafy greens, I decided to try a vegetable tart. I was inspired by Leah Eskin’s recipe for Chard Tart that I found in a newspaper. I had never made a tart before, and I must warn you, the recipe is a bit more involved then one of my typical recipes. There are a number of steps and the total process takes awhile because you have to allow for chilling time (for your crust, as well as yourself).

veggietartThe recipe calls for rolling out the pastry dough, which I would rephrase to “pound with fists until the dough kind of resembles a lopsided circle.” However, the shape of your dough only lends itself to the rustic nature of this tart. The flavor is delicious, and the crust was quite crispy. I liked the comfortable look of the tart, which can be eaten as a vegetable alongside a main entree, or as the main highlight of a meal.

veggietartsliceThe tart can be easily frozen, although SensitiveHusband and I had no trouble polishing this off within a few days. If you find yourself with an afternoon without a set schedule and an abundance of green vegetables, give this recipe a try.

Rustic Green Vegetable Tart

Ingredients:
–2 bunches (about 1 ½ pounds) leafy green vegetables (such as swiss chard, spinach, kale, collard greens or bok choy)
–2 tablespoons olive oil
–kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
–1 clove garlic, finely chopped
–1 egg yolk
–2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
–2 teaspoons fresh herbs (such as parsley, basil or thyme)
–Pastry (recipe below)

Shred: Fold each washed leafy vegetable in half along its center rib. Trim away ribs. Roll up leaves and slice thinly crosswise.

Wilt: Heat olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until lightly colored, about 2 minutes. Toss in green vegetables. Cook, stirring, until wilted and liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in egg, cheese and herbs.

Roll: On a lightly floured work surface, roll out pastry to a 12-inch circle. Roll around the pin and unroll onto a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. (Alternatively, pound pastry with fists on a lightly floured work surface until pastry resembles an oddly-shaped circle. Transfer very carefully onto a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet.)

Fill:
Spread vegetables onto pastry in an 8-inch circle. Fold edges of pastry up and over, forming a casual tart.

Bake: Slide pan into a 400-degree oven, and bake until pastry turns golden, about 35 minutes. Serves 8.

Pastry: Mix well: 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup almond flour, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon fine salt and a few grinds of pepper. Drop in 9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into slices. Cut butter into flour mixture with two forks until lumps range in size from cornflakes to crumbs. Drizzle in up to 5 tablespoons cold water, folding with a flexible spatula or fork, until pastry comes together. Pat into a thick disk or ball. Wrap in waxed paper and chill at least 1 hour.

I am sharing my recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

Stirring and Statistics for Risotto with Sausage and Spinach

This past Friday night, I boldly stirred something I had never stirred before…risotto. Risotto is an Italian rice specialty made by stirring hot stock into a sautéed rice mixture (thanks, Epicurious, for the definition). The slow addition of hot stock allows the rice to release starch, which gives risotto a creamy consistency.

I had never before made risotto, although I found a recipe in the January 2012 edition of Cooking Light magazine that caught my eye. I made my substitutions (including adding garlic, eliminating the shallots, using homemade chicken stock, substituting the white wine with water, and finding a chicken sausage without yeast, sugar or onion) and followed the directions closely, which yielded a delightful result. However, I learned a few things about risotto that I want to share with you so you can learn from my novice mistakes:

(1) Prepare all of the ingredients ahead of time. This is because once you start stirring, you will find it hard to stop. Fortunately, I prepped fairly well ahead of time so my mushrooms were sliced, garlic was minced, sausage was diced, and other ingredients were accessible. The spinach however, remained in the bag, unwashed. As I stood stirring at the stovetop, watching with amazement as the rice slowly became a creamy risotto, it became clear that the leafy green vegetable was not going to wash itself. I felt relief when SensitiveHusband walked in the door, home from work. I was so happy that he was home so we could chat, enjoy a good meal, and he could wash the spinach.

(2) When the recipe calls for “constant stirring,” it is not kidding. Pull up a chair, hold a good book in one hand, and keep stirring with the other hand. I was able to take mini-breaks, but once you wipe the sweat from your brow, return to stirring.

I found a few other good tips from Susan Russo for NPR, but as long as you follow this recipe you should not have any trouble getting the correct result.

While I was stirring, I had some time to think, and my thoughts drifted to rice production. So after dinner I did some research. Most risottos are made with arborio rice, which is mostly cultivated in Italy. The U.S. is a net exporter of rice, growing mostly long- and short-grain varieties. About 99% of the total U.S. rice crop is produced in four regions:
1. Arkansas Grand Prairie (Arkansas is the largest single rice producing state with about 45% of rice producing acreage);
2. Mississippi Delta (includes Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Louisiana);
3. Gulf Coast (Texas and Southwest Louisiana); and
4. Sacramento Valley of California.

The USDA’s rice outlook from February 10, 2012 notes that the 2011-12 global rice production forecast was raised 1.3 million tons to 462.7 million tons, which is the largest crop on record. It looks like Italy’s arborio rice crop is expected to be a good one this year, so enjoy your risotto!

Ingredients
* 3 cups (homemade or) fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
* 1 1/3 cups water
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms
* 5 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed and diced (about 2 links)
* 5 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 cup uncooked arborio rice
* 1 (6-ounce) package baby spinach
* 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shaved fresh Romano or Parmesan cheese

Preparation
1. Bring broth and 1 cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil); keep warm over low heat.
2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add salt and mushrooms to pan; cook for 8 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove mushrooms from pan, and set aside.
3. Add sausage to pan, and cook for 3 minutes or until browned. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Add rice; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/3 cup water, and cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
4. Stir in 1 cup broth mixture; cook for 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 30 minutes total). Remove pan from heat. Add mushrooms and spinach; stir until spinach wilts. Top evenly with cheese. Serve and enjoy immediately.

I am sharing this recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, Food Trip Friday, Cybele Pascal Allergen-Free Cuisine and Simple Living with Diane Balch.

Spinach Gratin and Green Beans Almondine

And now…the remaining recipes from our holiday menu! These two dishes are great to bring to others’ houses. I know this first-hand because these vegetables were brought to our house and they worked so well with the rest of the meal. They are easy to prepare too!

The first is Spinach Gratin, which my sister-in-law brought. It is from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook.  She made a change to accommodate my food sensitivities (replacing the onions with garlic) and tweaked the recipe further for a little boost in nutrition (using whole wheat flour, lighter cream, and less salt). The ingredients and preparation follow.
 
1/2 stick unsalted butter
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup light cream
2 cups milk
5 10-ounce boxes of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
 
Preheat oven to 425.  Melt butter over medium heat – add garlic.  Add flour and nutmeg and stir for 2 minutes. Next add cream and milk – cook until thickened. After squeezing away liquid from defrosted spinach, add to pan.  Put in 1/2 parmesan cheese in the mix, and season with salt and pepper.
 
Put entire mixture into a baking dish, and add 1/2 cup parmesan and 1/2 cup Gruyere to top. Bake for 20 minutes. Delicious!

My mother-in-law also brought this dish of Green Beans Almondine. I just love green beans – especially in this classic dish. They make fabulous leftovers too. Here is the recipe:

1 lb green beans
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Cook green beans by either steaming or covered in a small amount of boiling salted water until crisp-tender. Drain. Cook almonds in butter over low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden. Remove from heat and add juice. Pour over beans.

Enjoy these great recipes; and here is to happy holiday meals together.

Aim sharing this recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Food Trip Friday.