Tuesday, 10 September 2013

SPINACH

Hi peeps!

Its September 10 and we all know what that means... Sons Of Anarchy S6 starts today. Can I get a WOOP WOOP!! Even if it might be the second to last season of one of my favourite series; I'm still has happy as a pig in shit!

On a different subject: as promised; this week we are doing some lekker recipes. I've chosen it to be Green Veg Week; where we take a look at Spinach; Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts. Why are they good for you, fascinating facts and how to make them so tasty that even your kids will be begging for more!

We start off with spinach for today; so let's get our aprons on and get busy. I found these cool facts about spinach on Mobile Cuisine:
-Spinach is a native plant of Persia (modern day Iran). It was introduced to China in the 7th century. It was most probably brought to Europe in about the 12th century and to the US in 1806.
-Reflecting its origin, spinach is still widely known in China as “the Persian Green”.
-March 26th is National Spinach Day.
-Spinach is best eaten fresh. It loses nutritional properties with each passing day. Although refrigeration slows the deterioration, half of the major nutrients are lost by the eighth day after harvest. (For long term storage, freeze while fresh.) When fresh, it has crisp leaves. As they deteriorate, the leaves turn limp.
-There are many varieties of spinach, though they mostly fall into three distinct groups: Savoy (Dark green, crinkly and curly leaves. Commonly found in supermarkets.), Flat/smooth leaf spinach (Most commonly used for canned and processed spinach products, though “baby spinach” also fits in this group. Easier to wash and clean than Savoy.), and Semi-savoy (Hybrid variety with slightly crinkled leaves. It has the same texture as savoy, but it is not as difficult to clean.)
-“Florentine” is a common part of names of recipes where spinach is a significant ingredient. Florence in Italy was the home town of Catherine de Medici, a lover of spinach, who married the King of France in the 16th century.
-In the 1930′s U.S. spinach growers credited Popeye with a 33% increase in domestic spinach consumption – a welcome boost to an industry during the depression era.
-The spinach growing town of Crystal City, Texas, erected a statue of Popeye in 1937.
-‘Birds Eye’ was the first company to advertise frozen spinach. It did so in “Life” magazine in 1949.
-California is today the US’s #1 grower/supplier of spinach, accounting for almost three quarters (3/4) of national production. Other spinach-growing states include Arizona, New Jersey, Texas, Colorado, Maryland and Arkansas.
-Alma, Arkansas (population approx. 4,700), holds an annual spinach festival each April, organized by the Alma Chamber of Commerce. Alma proclaims itself to be the “spinach capital of the world”, a title also claimed by Crystal City, Texas. Alma is the home of “Allen Canning Company” which cans and ships spinach.
-In 2005, the national yield of commercial spinach was approximately 350,000 tons and is growing annually.
-In March 2005, Bon Appetit magazine’s annual survey showed that 56% of respondents said that spinach was their favorite vegetable.
-The U.S. is only the world’s second largest producer of spinach, producing a mere 3% of global production. China is the world’s largest spinach producer with 85% of global production.
-Spinach grows best in cool (not freezing) moist conditions, such as spring and autumn, and grows well in sandy soils.
-Spinach leaves are a mild diuretic and mild laxative.
-Medieval artists extracted green pigment from spinach to use as an ink or paint.

Let's take a look at FOUR gorgeous spinach recipes4living that both the kids and Popeye will love:

SPINACH AND CHEESE BARS:
Ingredients
3 Tbs. butter
3 eggs
1 C. milk
1 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 C. chopped fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Melt butter in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish while the oven preheats. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, salt, pepper, baking powder and garlic until well blended. Add the mushrooms, spinach and cheese, and stir to blend evenly. Tip the baking dish to coat with melted butter, then pour the spinach mixture into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm and golden. Cut into bars, and serve warm. Yield: 12 Servings.

SPINACH FOR THE SPINACH HATER:
Ingredients
1 lb. fresh or frozen leaf spinach
2 chopped hard boiled eggs
1/2 lb. cooked and crumbled bacon
1/2 stick butter
2 cloves fresh garlic finely chopped

Directions
In pan sauté spinach, butter, and garlic on med heat. Sauté for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn heat down to low, add eggs and bacon, cover and simmer for 10 more minutes. Stir and serve. - Sandra Deabenderfer, Cape May, NJ

TREMENDOUS SPINACH BALLS:
Ingredients
2 10-oz. pkgs. frozen chopped spinach
6 eggs
1 grated onion
1 1/2 C. grated parmesan cheese
2 sticks melted butter
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme

Directions
Cook spinach according to directions. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Beat eggs slightly in large bowl. Add spinach and remaining ingredients. Mix well. Shape a teaspoon of the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls and arrange on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve hot.

POPEYE'S SIMPLE SPINACH DIP:
Ingredients
2 pkg. Knorr Vegetable Recipe Mix
2 pkgs. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
16 oz. low fat sour cream
3/4 - 1 C. low fat mayonnaise
1/4 C. shredded carrots
1 tsp. onion powder
1 sm. can sliced water chestnuts, largely dice
1 French bread, sliced, and/or crackers

Directions
Combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Bring to room temperature and serve with bread and crackers.

Now what could be more simpler than that? Enjoy SOA tonight and see you guys tomorrow.

*tasty spinachy hugs*
Chef Shants xxxxx

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