I am gorging myself at the moment on spinach and rhubarb. The Eger Bros. farmstand at the corner of 9 and 23 and 31 always starts off the season with self-service spinach. It’s the honor system so bring singles and of course, honesty.
I haven’t felt the need to get particularly creative with the bags of spinach I’ve been buying each week. Nothing makes me happier than to saute a huge pile of spinach with a load of garlic and heap on top of creamy cheesy polenta (Wild Hive polenta, ideally). I’ve also made enchiladas with lots of cooked down spinach (if you try the enchiladas with raw spinach they will get very watery. Trust me.). I needed something different today and since I started my long weekend early (yea!), I had the time to cook lunch.
We had spinach and eggs and some random cheeses. Frittata! I dug around until I found this recipe for Spinach Frittata (for 1) by Martha Stewart. Unlike many of her baking recipes, it does not require an assistant. And, I love that the recipe is for one – it’s so difficult to find those and it’s easy enough to double if there are two of you. This recipe is easy and quick and it was delicious. A keeper.
*Remember to always clean your spinach in at least two changes of water (float the spinach in a huge bowl of water for 10-15 minutes, lift the spinach out and rest it in a colander, dump the water (and dirt), rinse the bowl and repeat).
The other vegetable I’ve been a bit obsessed with lately is rhubarb. Why? Because it makes some awesome desserts.
Every year I make a couple of jars of rhubarb compote. A large spoonful or so is great on vanilla ice cream or plain greek yogurt. A couple of weekends ago I was feeling rather British so I made a Rhubarb Fool. Whip up some cream into stiff peaks and add rhubarb compote to taste. It’s a fabulous excuse to eat a bowl of whipped cream (but call it a light, seasonal dessert).
Rhubarb Compote (I think this is from City Cook, several years ago…)
6 cups rhubarb cut into ½-inch slices
1 ½ cup sugar (I usually use less)
Optional: 1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
- In a non-reactive, large saucepan off the heat, combine the rhubarb pieces with the sugar and toss or stir to combine. While still off the heat, let the pan sit for about 15 minutes until the rhubarb begins to throw off liquid. Stir occasionally to help the rhubarb become wet.
- When the pan has developed some sugary rhubarb juice, place the pan on a medium-low heat and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the fruit becomes soft and falls apart, forming a jam-like consistency. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and transfer the compote to a bowl. Let cool.
The compote can be used either warm or cold. It can be made in advance and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days (note: I keep mine longer and it hasn’t killed me yet).
Tip: For a more complex flavor you can add a tablespoon or two of ruby port or two teaspoons of an orange-flavored liquor such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau. Use less liqueur than port because the flavors are more concentrated.
I also tried Rhubarb Sorbet this year – but the verdict is still out. The suggestion in the recipe is to add corn syrup to give a creamier texture, but it was a really odd texture. Try it with less or leave out the corn syrup altogether.
Finally, while I’m not the hugest coffee cake fan, I will eat this one any day of the week. The Rhubarb ‘Big Crumb’ Coffee Cake is just that good. Rhubarb + crumb = yum.
Spinach we’ll have for awhile but the Hudson Farmers’ market newsletter tells us that we won’t have rhubarb much longer. I may follow their suggestion and freeze some for later!