The first of our recipes is a favorite of my daughter. This is probably not what mom had in mind when she said to eat your vegetables but it is so good. Bon Appetit!
I historically never write down recipes so when I create a wonderful dish, rarely does it ever taste the same again. Enter my daughter. Having requested some of her favorite dishes only to have me give her a shrug, she has taken the initiative to document my kitchen endeavors to capture those dishes that are worthy of a repeat performance. The first of the series is the rich life cream spinach recipe. Born of a love for macaroni and cheese and traditional cream spinach and a kitchen mishap, this rich flavorful take on a family favorite is slightly outside the bounds of a healthy side. But it is soooo good. Enjoy!
2 pounds fresh leaf spinach
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup red or yellow onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic finely chopped or pressed
4 teaspoons sea salt (split)*
1 teaspoon black pepper*
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg*
1/2 teaspoon cayenne*
1/4 cup all-purpose flour*
4 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 ounces Trader Joe's Fromage Pave Soft Ripened (if you don't have a Trader Joes use Philadelphia cream cheese)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese*
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese*
Finely chop onion and garlic and set aside.
Put 2 teaspoons of sea salt into a small bowl.
Combine 2 teaspoons of sea salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, and 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour in a small bowl.
Combine 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese in a bowl.
Add 2 teaspoons of your sea salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add your fresh spinach and continuously stir for about a minute until leaves are well wilted. Dump spinach into a large colander and rinse with cold water. Grab about half the spinach in your clean bare hands and squeeze out the water to form a ball. Do the same for the remaining spinach. Cut each of the balls into 1-inch strips, rotate 90 degrees, and repeat. You should have 1-inch x 1-inch cubes of spinach. Set these aside.
Melt your butter in a large pan and add the finely chopped garlic and onions. Cook on medium-low until onions and garlic are aromatic, soft, and translucent. This should take about 10 minutes. Try not to burn.
Add the combined 2 teaspoons of sea salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, and 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour to your garlic and onions. Thoroughly combine ingredients and simmer for about 3 minutes. Add half-and-half and again thoroughly combine ingredients, a whisk works great here. Bring mixture to a boil.
Add in the 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 4 ounces of Fromage Pave (or cream cheese) and allow cheeses to combine with other ingredients. Cook approximately 8 to 10 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.
Add your chopped spinach and the combined 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese. You got it, mix thoroughly.
Serve hot with your favorite steak.