In church last Sunday, it was announced that a couple will renew their wedding vows during this Sunday's services, and that there would be an Italian themed potluck after church.
Spinach was the first thing that popped into my mind. I could make a cheese and spinach ravioli, or manicotti or... All kinds of things were running through my mind. I went to my computer cookbook and looked up some spinach recipes I have saved from the net. I decided that I wanted to make creamed spinach and put some Parmesan cheese in it.
I followed a basic creamed spinach recipe and added the cheese and some nutmeg to the white sauce.
First I gathered the ingredients.
The nutmeg was to late for the photo shoot.
Here's what I did.
First I diced the onion. After I cut the top off the onion and cut the onion in half from pole to pole, I made vertical cuts toward the stem being sure that the root end of the onion stays intact. Mother Nature is very good and put handy little guide lines on the onion. Then I made three horizontal cuts toward the stem, then I sliced down from the top of the onion and got a nifty little dice. Depending on how close you make the final slices will determine how fine the dice is.
You should be left holding the root with about a fourth of an inch of onion left.
Then I whacked a clove of garlic, three actually, by placing a clove of garlic under the side of the knife and giving the knife a whack. The skin just slid off the clove and I gave it a rough chop. I like to sprinkle the garlic with some sea salt and then finish mincing. The salt helps make the job go smoother.
I started the spinach before I made the white sauce. I cooked some onion until translucent and added the galic.
Once the onion and garlic were ready I folded in the spinach. This was all the further I wanted the spinach to go because I knew it would wilt a little more in the white sauce.
I added the flour to the melted butter in a 12" skillet. Whisk, whisk, and cook, cook, you want to make a light roux here.
Whisking like mad I added the milk to the roux. Stirring constantly over a med low heat until the sauce thickened, now is when a little fresh nutmeg is grated in. But instead drop it into the sauce. grrrrrr After fishing the nutmeg out is when the grated Parmesan cheese is added and stirred in to make a rich creamy sauce.
Now I folded the wilted spinach and onion mix into the sauce.
I had to make myself stop eating this, I needed it for church.
I made two batches of this. One I made Sat night and the other Sun morning. It only takes half an hour to make.I added Sat night's batch little by little to the batch I made Sun morning, this gently re-heated it. I was afraid of breaking the sauce and this worked perfectly.
While I was making the spinach Sun morning, I had the crockpot I was using heating up with some water in it. Once the spinach was finished I dumped the water out of the crockpot, don't think I wasn't worried about forgetting there was water in it, and put the creamed spinach in.
I was concerned about condensation building up in the crockpot and diluting the creamed spinach, we weren't going to eat until after church and I didn't want a soupy mess. Then I remembered reading on the cooking newsgroup about placing a kitchen towel over the crockpot to prevent this. Thankfully I had a pristeenly clean new kitchen towel and used it. I did put the lid on top of that, don't know why, I guess I thought it would help keep the towel in place.
I kept the crockpot on low and about half way through services I snuck back into the kitchen and turned it off. It was bubbling just a teeny bit along the sides and not diluted at all TaaaaDaaaa!!!! A quick stir with the spoon and all is well.
The potluck was great, and the happy couple with their beautiful children had a special day.