Monday, January 28, 2013

Creamed Green Things - A BBC Original



Your momma always told you to eat your greens.


Remember when you thought December was crazy?

January is crazy. 

It’s nuts. It’s December’s creepy uncle that comes out of nowhere and starts breakdancing at your wedding. You can’t fight it. You just have to watch it happen.

I’m pretty sure in 1987/1988, there were a lot of parents getting busy in June, because this month is JAMMED with birthdays. I’ve been trying to have a sober weekend for a while now, but there’s just so much to celebrate. 

It’s not alcoholism if you’re wearing a party hat, right? right?

I was extremely blessed this year to have my celebrations spread over almost two weeks. I’m pretty sure to an uninformed observer I looked like a birthday-zilla, but I promise, I was just going with the flow. Spending the beginning of 24 with the most amazing people in the world really kicked it off right. 

One of my favourite celebration nights for the combination Smitty and Amanda bithday bonanza started off quiet and wonderful and ended with a danceoff (the way all good nights should end, really). But, although the danceoff was pretty amazing, I’m going to focus on the beginning of the evening. 

The Boy took me out for a lovely and romantic dinner to a restaurant I have been coveting for ages. And when I say coveting, I mean, reading the menu, drooling while I eat my vegan quinoa salad at my desk, and maybe crying just a little (just a bit though). 

We had cheeses (hello, burrata), bone marrow, carpaccio, steak and the most magical creamed spinach I have ever had in my life. It made all other creamed spinaches seem pale and sad by comparison. I almost didn’t need the steak. almost.

So! the next evening (because I’m a fiend), I attempted to recreate the spinach in my own kitchen to pair with a roast chicken. I’m pretty sure I got as close as possible without adding a whole pound of butter and a container of mascarpone cheese (which I’m 100% certain is what they did at Enoteca Sociale).

Let me know what you think!

mmm green.


Creamed Green Things - Serves 4 as a side, but it’s addictive!
The world’s best creamed Spinach (a copy from Enoteca Sociale)

Ingredients

  • 4 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 clove
  • nutmeg (a few pinches)
  • 1.5 cups of milk (I used 2% but whole milk would be creamier)
  • Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup grated)
  • 1-2 tbs of mascarpone cheese ** this is a welcome addition but not necessary

  • 1 bag of fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 head of broccoli chopped fine (or another bag of spinach if you’re not a broccoli fan, although, who likes spinach and not broccoli).

  • 2 handfuls of pecans, chopped fine (or pine nuts!)
  • 1 handful of raisins (yes. I said raisins. trust.)

  • Salt and pepper.


Instructions:

Start by scalding your milk. Add the milk, bay leave, clove and nutmeg to a pot and heat it over a medium flame until the milk releases a pouf of steam when gently shaken (not quite to a boil). Set it aside to steep.

Steam your broccoli and spinach in a stovetop steamer or in the microwave and squish all of the water out with a paper towel. 

Take the bits out of your milk (the leaves etc) after about 20 minutes - the longer you leave it, the more flavour they will impart.

Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and add the flour, stirring continuously (you’re making a roux!). When the flour starts to turn golden brown, slowly pour in the milk as you mix (I promise, it’s not hard); bring the mixture up to a simmer and continue to stir.  You just made a bechamel sauce!

Once this is all thick and bubbly, take it off of the heat and add the raisins, salt, pepper and cheese(s). Taste it. Die of happiness. 

Add the veggies and nuts, then stir. Serve hot. 

This can also be made in advance and heated up or put in the oven with breadcrumbs and served family-style. 

Happy Monday, y’all.

Much love,

-BBC

So. Much. Birthday. Love. How lucky am I?




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