Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hooray for Spinach!

I love spinach! I love it almost enough to eat it every night with my dinner. The only problem is that I don't know enough different ways to cook it, but I'm working on that. I did come up with a pretty quick and easy fix that I have been using quite a bit lately. it all begins with a little bit of chopped garlic (1-2 garlic cloves) quickly sauteed in approximately 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Add enough spinach to feed however many you want to feed. I usually plan on a 9-ounce bag feeding two people. When the spinach is wilted, add toasted pine nuts (1 teaspoon per serving) and approximately 1/4 cup of dried cranberries. The result is somewhat like a cold spinach salad, but it's even better because it's warm (and wilty)! I recently heard somewhere that studies have shown that cooked spinach actually is better for you than raw spinach. Yay! That suits me because like I said, I love it warm! I haven't found the need to add any seasonings other than the usual nutmeg and coarsely ground black pepper. I'm on a no-salt kick right now and I find with this method of cooking spinach, salt definitely is not an enhancer.
I apologize for the lack of picture defining my dish, but I haven't any batteries for my little camera at the moment. So you will just have to imagine how good and yummy it looks and tastes until you try it for yourself!
I promise to have pictures on my next post which will be very soon!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Dad - Now there was a Man

It's time to write about my dad again. My dad, who recently passed away, was a pretty awesome fellow. I think it was my husband that said, "when they made Bud they broke the mold." Too bad, world. There won't be any more Buds any time soon.
Back in the early 1960s, there was this sitcom on television called "The Donna Reed Show." It was cute, wholesome, you know - the usual 1960s sitcom fare. But it had Donna Reed and Shelly Fabares and they were so gorgeous to look at and even to listen to. Then there was Paul Petersen, the son/brother. He wasn't much, but he recorded a song that was played on pop radio stations over and over. It was "My Dad," and it was rather insipid as I recall. However, lately, since my dad's passing, I keep finding myself singing the refrain to that song, which was "My dad, now here is a man," except I change it to the past tense since my dad is gone now.
I'm glad I got to spend a lot of time with my dad before he passed on, but I still miss him every day. Today, I was at his house; I was sitting on the back porch looking into the back yard at the shed he built for all of his yard tools. That house and that shed are truly his places. I always feel like he's there, with me. It makes me sad that we have to sell that house, because when the house is gone, there won't be many sites left that I can go to and conjure him up like that. There are a few items of furniture in the house that I always go to when I am at the house. Like his dresser - I always open a couple of drawers in the dresser. His clothes are still in there. I look at them and I can feel his spirit or something. Today I stumbled onto his wheelchair and walker. I guess my brother had brought them back from the nursing center that he had been living at up until his death. I saw them and I whispered, "Dad." I also saw his telephone that had been brought from the nursing center and again I whispered, "Dad." I miss you, old man. RIP.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

something new this way may come

Tonight I decided to try and do something semi-original; that is, instead of using and following a recipe that someone else came up with, I decided to make my own special recipe. And this is what I made! I know, it's hard to tell what it is, but it's a spinach and mashed potato patty that I cooked on the stove top in a little bit of olive oil. There are also some green beans and at the bottom of the picture is some chicken (that's not potato oozing out of the patty). I had some mashed potatoes left over from the other night - they were the mushy, store-bought variety that come in a package and they are already mashed. I decided to saute a little bit of onions and garlic along with the spinach, and then I mixed that together with the mashed potatoes and a small amount of Parmesan cheese (sorry, not vegan, but you could probably do without the cheese - it might actually be better that way). I cooked three patties on the stove top in a little bit of olive oil until nice and crispy brown. This is where I think the store-bought potatoes are worse than using your own mashed potatoes - the patties got really gooey while cooking; they were almost liquidy inside. But the end result was pretty tasty and it was a good way to use up some leftover mashed potatoes. If I ever make this again, I might use kale and do without the cheese. I'll also probably mash my own potatoes because I like homemade mashed potatoes way better than the stuff I used.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


My dad passed away a little over a month ago. He passed away on April 2, 2009, to be exact. Even though he was 84 years old and deteriorating fairly rapidly in his last few weeks, I still miss him keenly. Even though he had a good, long, and rich life (rich in terms of people who loved him and considered him to be an awesome enough dude), I still wish he could have lived forever and would never have left. Of course, this has nothing to do with food, but no doubt I will get around to food later in this post.
Nevertheless, I find I spend my days reminiscing about my dad and remembering all the good times we had. Lots of long-buried memories have been flooding back to me. Today, for instance, I remembered how my dad used to always give blood. He was pretty religious about it, too. I guess once every 6 months or so his office arranged with the Red Cross for employees to give blood and he was always there, giving his own. I've never given blood once in my life, but I think that the next time I see an ad for a blood drive, I'm going to go register and do it. It's about time and I'm going to do it for Bud.
I could go on indefinitely about my dad, but I guess I should narrow my memorial tribute to him down to the point of this blogspot, which is food. My dad was from Philadelphia, and that might account for a lot of his taste in foods. The most striking thing that I remember was that he loved rhubarb. Not just rhubarb pie, but rhubarb anything. He had fond memories of his mother fixing stewed rhubarb for dinner. I never had that, so I don't know how that would taste. But yeah, rhubarb pie was a hit for him. He also loved cream soda. Remember cream soda? I don't even know if they make that flavor anymore - but it was pretty popular back in the day. I think every now and then I see a random can or bottle somewhere of cream soda. Then there was the pretzels and ice cream combo. I don't know if that's a Philadelphia thing or not, but my grandfather (my dad's dad) turned me on to that one, and I have to say, it's awesome! Pretzels are even better with vanilla Soy Delicious, which by the way apparently has changed it's name to "So Delicious"! And being from Pennsylvania and being the grandson of a Mennonite woman as well, it's only logical that shoo fly pie would be another of his favorites. I used to try and make shoo fly pie when I was an adolescent but I never really appreciated molasses all that much, and that pie contains a good amount of molasses. But that pie was another of my dad's favorites.
When I reread this, I see that I have only really touched on his favorite desserts, but I might begin searching for something interesting to do with rhubarb that is not a dessert. This will be my next challenge. And hopefully I will take some pictures of it too. Stay tuned for further developments in the world of rhubarb!