13 November 2008

Creamed Spinach, Garlic Kale, White Beans, and Creamy Polenta

Oy, two months already since I last wrote? Okay, I’m a lousy blogger. But then, I’m not writing to be a blogger; I’m writing to share my thoughts, recipes, and life with whoever’s out there reading. (Hello? Anybody there?)

Garden update: Except for micro-slug damage, the winter veggies are doing well. The garlic has sent up its leaves, and the greens are beginning to show up at the dinner table. I’ve harvested the first round of spinach, plucking the largest leaves from the outer edges of each plant. Made an amazingly delicious creamed spinach by wilting the spinach, then covering it with a bechamel sauce (make a roux from 2 tablespoons each of melted butter and flour, then add about a cup of milk and stir it in until thickened) seasoned with a packet of Simply Organic’s onion soup mix.

I’ve also made one meal from the kale – sautéing it with garlic and serving it with white beans and creamy polenta. To make the white beans, soak 1 cup of them overnight, then:

Sauté one chopped onion
Add the beans
Add sprigs of thyme, rosemary, and sage
Add whole, peeled garlic (an entire head)
Add just enough water to cover the beans

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for a couple of hours, or until the beans have softened.

If you’d like, add two Aidel’s chicken apple sausages, sliced into ½ inch pieces, about ½ hour before the beans are done.

Serve the beans with the garlic kale over creamy polenta:

Bring 4 cups of liquid to a boil. I use 3 cups of chicken broth and one cup of milk or cream.
Add 1 cup of polenta
Reduce heat to medium and stir constantly for five minutes, then reduce heat further, to a simmer, and continue stirring regularly for 10 to 15 minutes, until the liquid is asbsorbed and the polenta has thickened.
Stir in ½ cup of mild grated cheese – I like fontina or jack
Add one small diced red bellpepper
Remove from heat and serve

Reheated polenta for lunch:
A client of mine turned me on to this. She takes a slice of leftover polenta and heats it briefly in the microwave. (Not owning – or wanting – a microwave, I use the toaster oven.) Then she drizzles olive oil on it and sprinkles it with pepper, toasted sunflower seeds, and a bit of grated parmesan cheese. Yum!

Farmer’s market only has two more Saturdays before it closes for the winter. Luckily, the garden is like a mini farmer’s market. Waiting patiently for me to choose them are beets, chard, kale, and spinach. And I saw the beginnings of a broccoli.

Also, the apples are ready to harvest. I’ll probably wind up drying them or making applesauce. They’re Fujis, and don’t taste very good. No doubt some of them will wind up in the Thanksgiving stuffing, and possibly in a pie. I’m thinking about taking some pears a friend canned that are too sweet for my taste and making a pie with them, apples, figs, cranberries, brandy, cinnamon and cloves, and I’m not sure what else.

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