Happy Spring, and welcome to the start of our blog for 2020!
Like many farmers across the country, we’re excited to begin the new season. And with it comes new posts, recipes, and ideas for enjoying the best of what’s to come, or even what’s here now. To start us off gently, here are Deborah DeBord’s eloquent reflections on winter—and spinach, which is as sweet as candy at this time of year, thanks to all those converted sugars the plant makes to survive the cold.
Snow is falling in huge flakes outside the kitchen window, which means we will be getting clobbered soon by wet wads of snow from the lodgepole pines and blue spruce.
We are not concerned, as we have plenty of roasted high season veg sauces for pasta in the freezer. Lots of pesto and herb straws next to them. Not to mention some peppers stuffed with sausage, beans, and rice and cabbage rolls filled with lamb loaf. Boy, are we ever glad we made extra during the harvest.
But wait, oh gad, an e-mail alert arrives with the announcement of winter spinach at the farm stand…two days, for now. Yikes, boot up and suit up to drive the dozen miles to Aspen Moon Farm in Hygiene (yes, our Colorado village is indeed called Hygiene). Cars and trucks are parked willy-nilly in a frenzy to snag some green.
Inside the small structure, the smell is fresh and familiar. We still have roots and things stored in our mudroom, so we head straight for the spinach.
We want to simply put our faces into the bunches of sweet, green leaves. The scent is almost spiritual. Organic eggs from happy hens are also on offer, with their joyful colors of green, blue, yellow, and brown. And we cannot pass up a three-pound bag of cornmeal, grown, roasted, and ground onsite.
What a haul, so satisfying and unexpected.
Supper was nothing short of delicious. Simple, naked steamed spinach. Covered with a firm layer of yummy eggs, scrambled very low and slow in a smudge of butter, also otherwise nekkid. A sprinkling of just a bit of gomasio (toasted sesame seeds and salt, pounded in the mortar with a pestle) sets off the dish, ready in eight minutes. We thought to make a sliced polenta with the cornmeal, but it was so beautifully flaky and we were so impatient that we put together the few remaining ingredients needed for a pan of cornbread. A stellar idea came to us to use maple syrup for the small amount of sugar wanted and to add a few grinds of pepper.
We will now sit by the woodstove with its fire, watch the forever falling snow, and be grateful for the feeling of fed, fat, and happy.
Keep your eyes peeled for your own farm stand to go pop-up now and then. Or better yet, sign up for their newsletters and alerts. We hear Napa cabbage is coming soon. Say yea!
Enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of our labors from the last harvest while staying open to serendipity,
—Deborah DeBord, Ph.D.
author of Picked at the Peak
A note from Mi Ae: We bet you’re hungry now for spinach! Here are a few serving suggestions from our Bounty from the Box cookbook (and if you want more, buy the book!)
- Mix baby spinach with various lettuces, arugula, endive, dandelion greens, and fresh herbs for lush tossed salads bursting with different flavors and textures.
- Spinach combines wonderfully with pasta; toss it with cooked noodles, or use it in gnocchi or for ravioli fillings.
- Add a few spinach leaves in place of lettuce in your sandwiches, or add to tacos and burritos.
- Perk up your frittatas and crêpes with steamed spinach leaves.
- Middle Eastern and Greek cuisines make use of spinach in many forms. Try it in rice dishes, or combine it with feta cheese, pomegranate seeds, garlic, and preserved lemon.
- One of the classic spinach preparations is still the best: a wilted spinach salad made with hot bacon dressing, garnished with toasted almonds.
- Spinach is very popular in Indian dishes such as curries, as saags (Indian-style creamed spinach), and with paneer (cheese).