Posts Tagged ‘spinach’

Since we are on a chickpea kick, we decided that this recipe from Smitten Kitchen would suit us just fine on a Monday evening.  It is pretty simple, no real technique needed, except washing, draining, heating and stirring.  It is a hearty meal, and it looks like it should be spicier than it really is, so next time I would add more cumin and perhaps a touch of cayenne pepper to fulfill the look.  I purchased two bunches of fresh spinach leaves, which is probably over a pound, but I might suggest to you to add maybe a half bunch more.  The leaves reduce drastically.  Also I increased the amount of tomato sauce, just because I love tomatoes, but I did not increase the spices to meet this increase (which may account for the lack of spiciness).  I have adjusted for extra tomato sauce below. 

Speaking of spices, when you add the cumin to the bread crumbs, garlic and olive oil, a delicious scent will arise from the pan.  If you have additional time, you can cook dried chickpeas for this recipe, but I opted for the canned variety.  Once the chickpeas and spinach are hot, and you have swirled the spinach leaves through the mixture a few times,  heat some olive oil in a small fry pan, and place pita bread in, flipping it to slightly coat both sides in oil, and heat on a low to medium heat on both sides until slightly browned and crispy.  Cut pita bread into quarters, and scoop spinach and chickpeas.

Spinach and Chickpeas (adapted and revised from Smitten Kitchen)

2 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound spinach, washed
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs

2 cups tomato sauce

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash spinach and cut off stems.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, add the spinach leaves.  Stir well and remove when leaves are tender.  Drain in a colander and set aside.
Heat 3 more tablespoons olive oil in the same pan, and add the bread crumbs, garlic, cumin, and pepper.  Cook until garlic begins to brown (5-6 minutes).  Then transfer to a food processor.  Add vinegar and process until smooth, like a paste. 
Return the paste to the pan, add the chickpeas and tomato sauce, and cook until hot.  Then add the spinach, salt, pepper and paprika, and cook until hot.  Serve with pita bread that has been fried in olive oil.

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After Easter, we had so much food left over that I did not need to cook for the next few days.  When deciding on what to make for dinner last night, I decided I wanted something a little lighter than all the heavy foods we had been eating from the holidays, and I wanted to use my leftovers as much as I could.  We had plenty of eggs left over from Easter since I bought 4 or 5 dozen, due in part to dying eggs as well as the unsuccessful 15 egg Easter bread.  We also had olives and feta cheese left over as well.

Frittatas seem to be popular these days.  Lately, whenever we go to breakfast/brunch on weekends, there always seems to be a “frittata of the day”.  I do not typically order frittatas in restaurants though because I find them to be too heavy.  However, upon browsing through several cookbooks the other night, I came upon two recipes for frittatas from Weight Watchers, and I decided to sort of meld the two together.

The two recipes both called for a combination of whole eggs and egg whites.  I decided to substitute mozzarella for feta cheese, and I added spinach, chopped kalamata olives and oregano.

What you need:

 3 whole eggs

4 egg whites

10 ounces frozen spinach thawed and drained

5 kalamata olives

1 Tbsp oregano

1/3 cup low fat milk

1/8 tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1/3 cup feta cheese crumbled.

 First, gather your eggs together.  Crack three eggs into your medium sized mixing bowl. Then, add the four egg whites.  To separate the egg whites, I typically use the shell of the egg and move the yolk back and forth, while letting the whites slip out into the bowl.  I recently learned a trick during a cooking demonstration to use your hands.  Crack the egg open, and allow the whites to slip through your fingers while the yolk remains in your hands.  At first, I did not enjoy the messiness of this, but now I find it to be a much easier way to separate egg whites.

 Add the milk and the spinach (thawed and drained) to the eggs, and whisk together.  Chop up the olives, and stir in the olives, oregano, salt and pepper to the egg/spinach mixture. 

Spray an omelet pan (or small-medium frying pan) with some cooking spray so the eggs won’t stick, and heat the pan on a medium heat.  Once the pan is warm, pour the egg mixture into the pan.  Now, add the feta cheese.  The feta will give the frittata a saltier taste, so if you prefer something less salty, go with the mozzarella.  When the eggs firm up around the edges, start trying to lift the sides of the frittata with a spatula, just so you can get it ready to be flipped. 

When the mixture appears to be firm in the middle (no runny egg), then flip the frittata.   This frittata is pretty hefty because of the amount of spinach, so I suggest using two spatulas to flip it.  Place both spatulas under the frittata, be brave, and flip it. When I flipped mine, a little piece in the middle came apart, but once it cooks on the other side it will meld together again. Cook for a few more minutes, and then you are done.  I like to cut the frittata up like a pizza to serve.

The result:  A lighter-kind of frittata.  What made this frittata the best was the oregano.  Using good oregano is a must.  Fortunately, we were lucky enough to have oregano direct from Greece (via my aunt), and it had a strong and distinct flavor.  Typically, oregano from the spice jar in the grocery store lacks flavor and when added to recipes, gets lost among the other flavors.  However, the oregano we used in this frittata was definitely noticeable.  One bite and we were both reminded of the eggs my aunt made us for breakfast when we visited Greece two summers ago.

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