Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Spinach Lady Cometh

...and cometh and cometh, ever since I encouraged her, a couple of months ago, by purchasing five 1 lb bags of fresh, chopped spinach. What was a I thinking? Well, I was thinking that I appreciated having fresh, chopped spinach delivered to my kitchen door and for a better price than I could find in the market. Since she made her first sale The Spinach Lady, as she has come to be known ("Mom, The Spinach Lady is at the door."), has returned a couple of times a week, always with kind but convincing words as to why I need to buy more spinach. I've been able to refuse a couple of times but for the most part, well, lets just say we've been eating lots of spinach. That is a good thing. Besides dusting off old recipes which call for spinach and searching for new ones, I've also added spinach to a favorite recipe which previously didn't call for spinach. We've had several batches of cream of spinach soup (very good and even the kids like this), spinach/beef/cheese/potato casserole (a favorite), and spinach quiche (another favorite, thankfully).

The past several Christmases I have given Herb Cheese Bread to friends and this year I added--you guessed it!--spinach to the recipe. I checked with Dear Husband before trying this as I realized it might seem like a wacky and unwelcome addition. He approved, I added, and the result was Spinach Herb Cheese Bread, which everyone loved.

Spinach Cheese Herb Bread
(and if you don't like spinach the recipe with out it is just as grand; a true family and friend favorite)

I always triple this recipe. No sense just making 1 loaf of bread when you can just as easily make three and if you can't eat it all, freeze it or give it away. It is not too hard to find someone who will appreciate a fresh baked loaf of bread!

1 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast (I reduce this to 2 1/2 T for a triple recipe)
1 Tablespoon grated onion
2-3 teaspoons herbs (I like thyme and or dill)
1 cup grated cheese (I like strong cheddar)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
approximately 4 cups flour (I use half whole wheat and half white)
**spinach** I use 1 pound of fresh, chopped spinach steamed and drained/squeezed for a triple recipe.

Dissolve yeast in warm water (w/a pinch of sugar). Mix milk, sugar, salt, onion, herbs, cheeses, half of flour and bubbling yeast. Add spinach and the rest of the flour/enough so that the dough is the right consistency and knead until elastic. About five minutes in my Bosch, but longer by hand. Let rest for about 10-15 minutes, form into a round loaf (loaves) and let rise on a greased baking sheet for about an hour. Bake at 350 degrees about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack and baste with butter if you'd like a softer crust.

And if anyone has a great recipe that uses spinach, I'd love to have it--I still have two pounds of spinach in the fridge and The Spinach Lady will be coming soon...


Carolyn said...

Is that fresh or dried herbs in the 2-3 teaspoons?

I suppose you've already got a recipe for a favorite spinach salad. We like wilted spinach salad with bacon dressing, and a spinach salad with mandarin oranges.

I've been a fan of crockpot recipes lately, and has several with spinach. Really!

desert mom said...

Dried herbs, and my measurements are approximate. I just sort of dump a that-looks-about-right amount. So, you could decrease that a little if it seems better to you.

I love spinach salad too but this spinach is chopped semi-finely with a few stem pieces besides so it is more suitable for cooking.

Thank you for the crockpot blog! I've already found a spinach recipe to try, though I am going to substitute chicken for the tofu. We love Indian food and this looks really good--and easy. Always a bonus!