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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Eat Fresh: Cream Your Greens

John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist
Hobby Farms Contributors

Use up an abundant greens harvest with our recipe for Creamed Spinach Greens. Photo by John Ivanko (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by John Ivanko
If like us, you're looking for a way to use up all those greens, try making our recipe for Creamed Spinach Greens.

Building on the “eat fresh” theme of our Spring Peapod Stirfry recipe, we turn this week to spinach. Before Lisa morphs into the Garden Processing Queen and blanches and freezes all of our greens, we think about how we can honor our summer goal of making sure we get our fill of fresh produce.

Our Wisconsin dairyland roots begin to show when we say, “Add some cream and cheese.” While you can readily make decent creamed spinach with frozen greens, there’s something about using fresh greens that makes this recipe particularly addictive.

The Midwest mercury has been rising this week, and we’re all for keeping the heat out of the kitchen and making meals as simple as possible. That’s how we discovered this creamed spinach works great as a sandwich spread. Hot or cold, spread it on thinly cut bread slices for an easy meal. We’ve also used it as a sauce over new potatoes. We’re partial to the flavor and soft texture of spinach, but you could experiment with using other greens, such as Swiss chard.

With Wisconsin new tendancy toward longer and warmer growing seasons, we’ve had good results growing Perpetual Spinach, also sometimes called Leaf Beet. It’s in the chard family and is different than traditional spinach in that it isn’t as prone to bolt in the heat. For us, it can last through summer into fall. When harvesting, we usually just clip the super-tender leaves and leave the stems on the plant, eliminating the need to trim the stems in the kitchen.
 
Recipe: Creamed Spinach Greens

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
2 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic scape, finely chopped (or 2 cloves garlic, minced)
2 large bunches spinach, stems trimmed and chopped (about 2 pounds)
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
dash pepper
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (You can also use half-and-half, but it will be less thick.)
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes (1/2 of a standard 8 ounce package)
2 T. fresh dill or 2 tsp. dried dill (optional)

Preparation
In a large sauté pan over low heat, melt butter and add olive oil. Add onion and garlic, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent.

Add chopped spinach and stir until cooked through and wilted. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and heavy cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until liquid reduces by about half.

Add cream cheese and cook until melted.

Savoring the good life,

John and Lisa's Signatures

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