I still remember the last crop of spinach from my mom and dad’s backyard garden. It was fall, my dad was upstairs, in the final stages of terminal cancer. I carefully harvested this spinach knowing that there would be not be another vegetable garden from my dad. I still remember the soil, lighter and much sandier than the NY dirt that my hands now spend time in. I rinsed and spun the sand out of that spinach with a salad spinner, cooked it up with garlic and some olive oil and savored every bite.
Funny thing was, I didn’t like spinach as a kid. My mom would cook up frozen BirdsEye spinach and mix it with mashed potatoes. Yecch. I’d try to feed it to my dog under the table, he would use his paws to separate it out, eat only the potatoes and leave the spinach on the floor.
Somewhere along the way, my parents started growing spinach. And I started eating it. Today both my parents are no longer with me, and I am now the gardener in the family. I am a picky eater turned vegetable evangelist.
Spinach is crazy easy to grow. After all, its just leaves! It prefers cooler temps so it’s great to grow in spring and fall. It will even tolerate winter cold, I’ve overwintered spinach more than once.
Sneaking spinach into smoothies or brownies is a disservice to spinach. These pureed tactics do not cultivate an appreciation for green leafy veggies, if anything they feed the sweet tooth that too many of us have. Trust me, you want your kids to speak fondly of spinach.
Spinach cooks up super quickly. It is delicious with a little garlic and olive oil. You can put rich dark green spinach leaves on sandwiches instead of paler green lettuce. Spinach salad is delicious. If you’re not a salad person, add a hard boiled egg, some croutons and bacon to that spinach salad, and its almost not a salad!
At Mount Kisco Child Care Center, the kids adore this recipe with Spinach and Israeli cous cous. They love it so much, one year the big kids wrote a letter to the kitchen asking for it to be on the menu more often.
I made this dish for grown ups this year at Passover. It was a huge hit, there were no leftovers.
Spinach with Israeli Cous Cous
1 large bunch of spinach- 3 cups or more
2 cups cooked Israeli cous cous
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup cream
sprigs of fresh dill and chives
pinches of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Chop garlic finely. Add garlic to pan and lightly sauté in some olive oil.
Prepare spinach by removing tough stalks, leaving tender ones behind, tear spinach into medium sized pieces.
Add prepared spinach to warm oil.
Measure and add couscous and cream.
Harvest, tear and add herbs, continue to warm in pan.
Squeeze the juice out of that orange.
Add the orange juice along with pinches of salt and pepper.