Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm strong to the finish, because I totally love spinach!

However, I am not Popeye the sailor man. But, I do love the cartoon :)

This week's installment of the Geeky Gourmet was about a leafy green that most kids grow up hating- spinach. Yes, it's green and it's good for you. It's enough to send my boyfriend running for the hills. Well, really he just makes these hilarious faces and says ewww!

Me? I love spinach! Howie really likes it too, so I think we both really had a lot of fun with this show. Howie even contributed a recipe of his grandmother's. We found some pretty interesting things about the nutritional value along with all the other research. Did you know spinach contains tryptophan? Yeah, I didn't either. And while it's true that a serving of spinach has a good portion of your daily iron intake in it, vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, and folate are much more prominent nutrients.

I find that spinach is fairly easy to grow, if that's something you're interested in. The key to growing spinach is loose, nutrient rich soil and a good balance of sun light. Too much direct light will damage the leaves. Bright morning sun and afternoon shade are ideal, along with plenty of water.

There are a lot of uses for spinach in either of it's forms. I use the frozen stuff when making dips, stuffings, or casseroles. I like the fresh leaves when making salads, sandwiches, and when sauteing or creaming it as a side dish. And speaking of lots of uses, here are a few recipes as promised:

Howie's Grandmother's Borekas

2 bunches of spinach (2 boxes of frozen spinach, thawed and drained or 2 regular bags of fresh spinach should work)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1 box of phyllo dough, thawed
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, well beaten plus 1 Tbsp cold water (egg wash)

Mix all ingredients (except phyllo and butter) together well in a bowl. Set aside. Layer 2 sheets of phyllo together, brushing melted butter between each layer. Using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter, cut the phyllo into approximately 2-inch wide strips, length wise. Place a small amount of the spinach mixture at the top of each column of phyllo. Fold the phyllo into triangles like you would a paper football or a flag. Brush the tops with egg wash. Place on a sheet pan. Bake all the Borekas on a greased or lined sheet pan at 350 degrees F for about 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown on top; "Bake until done", according to the original recipe. Just be mindful of when you put these in the oven. Phyllo can over-bake or burn really easily.

Here's a "weird" one. It is a little different, but tasty and refreshing:

Watermelon and Spinach Salad

1 bag of baby spinach
3 C. watermelon (seeded or seedless), diced
6-8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 C. red onion, VERY thinly sliced
Your favorite vinaigrette, sweet and sour or poppy seed dressing

Top a bed of fresh, baby spinach with the red onion, feta and watermelon. Finish with the dressing of your choice. Simple, right? And it's tasty, too :)

And finally, something that's making a come back on Steakhouse menu's across the U.S., Creamed Spinach

1 bag of baby spinach
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 C. heavy cream
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat olive oil and garlic together in a pan until the garlic is fragrant, then add all the spinach. Allow the spinach to wilt for 3-4 minutes before adding the cream. Add the cream to the wilted spinach and continue cooking for 5 minutes to reduce the cream. Add the nutmeg and season the, now, creamed spinach with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve hot and enjoy! Adding a little grated parmesan never hurt, either ;)

I hope y'all have enjoyed the show and will try the recipes. If you've got questions or comments, just let us know! Find us on Facebook, Twitter or e-mail us at


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