Musing, discoveries, thoughts and opinions about family life and the lady who coordinates the calendar.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Spinach, I love you!

Mmmmm, spinach. I just never expected to fall in love with spinach. Most of my childhood was spent thinking canned French-cut green beans, was spinach. Sad? Maybe. But true.

My brother loved Popeye so my mom told him that's what the green stuff on his plate was.  My overall vegetable knowledge and exposure was rather non-existent until I got to college. We ate ice berg lettuce, those green beans, sweetened carrots and peas and the occasional broccoli.  Oh, and corn if you count that. It is just how my parents rolled.

Flash forward... in our house, we eat quite a variety of other veggies as well as an extensive amount of spinach.  You'll find it in almost any dish. Is there a recipe spinach cannot go in you ask? I've used spinach puree in smoothies and in baked goods. Makes awesome green cookies. Our latest fave has been spinach dip which is just a great excuse to eat mayonnaise in large quantities.

Today amongst the Sunday Pokemon gaming event, a hot family game of DC Monopoly and reading, I made Spinach Cheese Pastry.  I made it up and I'll write out what I did along with some ideas to improve it.

Spinach Cheese Pastry
8 Tb unsalted, butter, softened
3/4 container of sour cream
2 T grated cheese (parmesan type cheese, I used romano pecorino )
1.5 C (plus extra) Spelt Flour
1/2 t coarse salt

In mixer, I whipped the butter and added the sour cream until blended well.  Add the flour and salt until it is combined but not over worked yet holds together in a ball. Add more flour if needed. Divide into 4 balls, wrap in plastic and put in fridge for 30 minutes. Then take out for about 10-15 minutes before rolling it again.

Flour your surface and your rolling pin well -- you'll use lots of flour. One ball at a time roll it out, flipping and adding more flour as you roll, to create a rounded blob. If you don't add enough flour, then it will stick. Somewhere around 6-8 inches diameter stop. You could cut out a circle with a big enough bowl as your guide.

Add what you want to the center so you have plenty of blob to wrap still, much like a stramboli. We put chopped spinach, chopped basil, ham, salami, and diced tomatoes ~ topped with grated white cheddar and just enough tomato sauce to cover the top. Slowly flip the two shortest edges onto your pile of yumminess bring each of the larger sides flipped over -- looks like a burrito or an envelope. You could work it all to look like a crescent folding over the edge to seal the sides or pinching closed. Poke the dough to make a vent hole -- with a fork.

Preheat oven to 375 and place on a butter or lined baking sheet, as I used a pizza stone and it made the bottom to0 soft.  Bake 20-25 minutes.

Tips: Spelt is tricky and needs extra time to bake so check frequently after 20 minutes. Let it sit for 5 minutes before you eat. I found that oiled baking sheet worked best when I used the dough to make dessert pockets later. Also if you leave the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes and just roll it out, it worked really well for me, again with the dessert.

Dessert Pockets: As noted above, rolled out the dough, cut with 5 inch circular cookie cutter, and put one teaspoon of Fig Preserve made early this week, into the center. In some I added whole almonds or chopped walnuts too. In some I put just chocolate chips or sugar-free Hershey's bars cut up with above nuts or cashews. I also took a small bit of dough and rolled it with chopped walnuts and in the center I put some Fig Preserve with Sartori BellaVitano Merlot.

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