Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Veggie Venture!

Alanna over at A Veggie Venture (one of my favorite blogs!) is offering an opportunity to win free veggie cookbooks! One of the requirements is that you post a recipe on your blog (if you have one) and since I've already done that on my old blog, I'm going to do it again!

Alanna is the inspiration for what Beren and I are doing in our own kitchen: to assist his children in finding new veggies that they love and to eat more healthfully, we are working our way through the veggie alphabet, trying new recipes each weekend that they are here. The girls seem to be enjoying this little adventure; now when they arrive they ask us which "letter" we're up to this week! (We are on "F", by the way, and will be trying fennel next weekend)

One of the first recipes I tried was the Spinach & Artichoke Gratin (focusing on the Artichokes), thinking that the best way to get kids to eat vegetables was to add some cheese to them. This has been very effective so far and this recipe was definitely enjoyed by all.

SPINACH & ARTICHOKE GRATIN

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Oven time: 25 minutes - 45 minutes (see ALANNA's TIPS)
Makes 8 cups

16 ounces frozen chopped spinach, cooked in salted water and drained
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (reduced from 8 tablespoons)
1 large onion, diced
14 ounce can artichokes, drained, tough bits cut off, chopped
4 ounce jar pimento, drained (optional but provides nice color contrast)
1/2 cup sour cream (reduced from 2 cups/1 pint)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Cook the spinach. While it cooks, heat a large, deep skillet on MEDIUM, add the butter until it softens. Add the onion and saute until soft and golden. Add the artichokes and let cook together for a couple of minutes. Stir in the spinach and the remaining ingredients. Transfer to a lightly greased two-quart casserole dish. Transfer to oven for 25 minutes (so says the inspiring recipe). Otherwise, refrigerate, remove from frig about an hour before going into the oven and cook for about 45 minutes or until very hot and bubbly through the middle.

ALANNA's TIPS

* The recipe recommends 25 minutes in the oven if baked right away while the ingredients are still warm. I made it in advance, took it out of the frig for an hour before going into the oven, it was hot through the middle in 45 minutes.

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT'S DUE
Adapted from The Artist in the Kitchen (although out of print) from the St Louis Art Museum

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