The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Mary Honrud
For the Courier 

Feeling Behind

 

Mary Honrud / For the Courier

The meal I made using the spinach and pine nut rice but substituting Swiss chard for the spinach.

First off, let me apologize for taking a week off from writing about gardening. We had a family gathering to celebrate a 90th birthday. It took a week to properly fete the birthday girl. There wasn't much gardening done during that week. Now I feel like I'm running way behind.

I do believe every single seed pod that fell from from the Chinese elm tree that overhangs the garden was viable. They've sprouted with abandon between the rows and also with precision alongside every wanted vegetable I'd carefully planted in neat rows. This precision requires me to crawl alongside each row, carefully plucking those miniature trees with care by hand. I can't wear gloves for this chore lest I also pluck the veggies I want left in place. Between the rows, however, I can rake with abandon.

During the two hot, sunny days we had, I've managed to clear those "weeds" from the corn, beans, onions, and carrot rows. Now it's raining again, and on the chilly side, and so those unwanted trees will continue to compete with the peas, tomatoes, beets, turnips, squash, and lettuces. I haven't even taken the time to check on the other rows, where the perennials (asparagus, rhubarb, raspberries) grow.

I have made the Polish honey/rhubarb drink a few times (our middle daughter approves of it) and had planned to make another batch today. Since I really don't want to get my gardening shoes muddy, even though they're hoseable, I'm putting that chore off for another day. Ditto on gathering fresh leaf lettuces for a salad.

I have enjoyed one cooking of fresh baby beets, with only a dab of butter and a shake of sea salt for seasoning. I saved the leaves to add to my salad. The tough stems and larger veins were discarded. I'll soon add turnips to my cooking. I did grate one into my salad. It added a nice peppery taste. (The radishes had all bolted immediately.)

I'm using Swiss chard in place of spinach in all my recipes that call for spinach. Chard is preferred (at least by me) because it's very slow to bolt, taking much more heat than spinach, so there isn't a gap left in the garden where spinach used to be. Today I'm going to use the chard I'd already harvested in the following recipe to go with my tri-tip steak/roast. There will also be air-fried potato slices, and fresh fruit for dessert.Buttered Spinach with Vinegar

4 bunches spinach, rinsed and still wet

6 Tbl butter (3/4 stick)

2 tsp red wine vinegar

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Gradually add spinach to a large, dry pot over medium heat allowing to wilt. Between additions, cook until tender, 5-8 minutes. Drain, pressing to remove liquid. Remove spinach to bowl, wipe out the pot. Melt butter in that same pot, over medium heat. Add the spinach and vinegar. Season. Add more vinegar if desired. Toss to coat.

I'm guessing at how much spinach is four bunches since I'm growing and using my own rather than buying it at the store. But it will be a lot since spinach cooks down to almost nothing. I'm thinking four large pansfull will suffice.

I've always liked spinach with vinegar. Shoot, I like vinegar itself. Maybe I watched too many Popeye cartoons as a youngster. [I'll bet those cartoons will go the way of the old Looney Tunes because of the violence, and for the way Brutus stalked Olive Oyl. Maybe they've already disappeared, but without any fanfare or outcry.]

Here's another spinach recipe I plan to make this week, again subbing Swiss chard for the spinach. I've just cooked the rice, and it's cooling as I write. I'll probably sub unsweetened dried cranberries for the raisins, which will raise the tartness level while lowering the sugar content. I'd guess you could sub in slivered almonds for the more expensive pine nuts.

Spinach and Pine Nut Rice

1 Tbl EVOO

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4-1/2 C pine nuts

4 green onions, sliced

1/3 C currants

1/3 C raisins

2 C cooked and cooled rice

1-2 tsp oregano

1 Tbl salt-free blend

Garlic salt to taste

4 C chopped spinach

Juice of 1/2 lemon

In a large skillet, heat oil and saute garlic, nuts, and green onions over high heat, until lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium and add the rest. Stir to combine, then reduce heat to low and steam until spinach wilts. Serve hot.

Now I'm off to spend the rest of this rainy, cool day sewing face masks for kids. They were requested via a fellow church member, to be used in a vacation bible school elsewhere. I'd donated some to my church a while back which is why I was asked to sew more. I'm also making a couple adult ones featuring flamingos to go to our Florida family.

 

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