This year for the first time, I grew spinach. I bought five little baby spinach plants last spring (I knew they were spinach because the label on them said “spinach”) and planted them in front of the house. It was a nice not-too-hot summer and they thrived. The spinach and I developed a nice working relationship: several mornings a week I would pick half a dozen leaves and throw them into my breakfast smoothie; they would grow. Popeye would be proud.
With the cooler weather and the rains (did I mention the monsoons?) they have grown by leaves and bounds. Also I somehow got out of the pattern of smoothies and therefore out of the practice of picking spinach leaves. All of which meant that the spinach was, um, well, anyhow there was a lot of it.
Dad and I decided to harvest some for dinner last night. I grabbed the clippers and set about unwinding our vine-y spinach from the hose, the tomato cages, neighboring bushes, and the occasional small animal. Did I mention the rains, o best beloved? Because all the water turned the whole spinach area into a mud field. Result? Mud all over my shoes. My shoes! Not my feet, my actual pedal attire. We were not off to a good start.
Dad carried the spinach inside and dumped it all in the sink. I cleaned my poor shoes and went to consult my friend the internet for a spinach recipe. Pi is not a fan of spinach (yet) so I was looking for a recipe that she might like and that was dairy-free. Not so easy.
The first thing I learned was that we are not growing spinach. We are growing another type of green veggie called Malabar spinach or possibly New Zealand spinach (I haven’t figured out the difference). Now we know why we have never heard of vine-y spinach before–because real spinach isn’t vine-y. But whatever it is we’re growing, it’s healthy and chock full of vitamins and hard to kill. Just my kind of plant.
I finally found a recipe and started washing spinach. And washing. Did I mention the mud? Do you know how much spinach is in a sinkFULL? About 100,000,000 leaves. All covered in mud. Joy.
Turns out only half a sinkfull of spinach will fit in my spinach cooking pot, so I cooked two batches. (Never heard of a spinach cooking pot? It’s the pot you use to cook spinach—regardless of what you cooked in it yesterday.)
The recipe I found wasn’t difficult exactly. It was just time consuming and it left out several steps. The most important step it left out was: Don’t do what’s written in the previous line of directions.
It also left out the part that says, “No, seriously.” As in:
Recipe: Cook for 2 minutes then add spinach.
My interpretation: Oh, just dump it in, it’s all going to be together in 2 minutes anyway.
Recipe: No, seriously. Cook for 2 minutes FIRST.
The third thing wrong with the recipe was it left out the Ta-Da at the end. As in:
You thought you were going to have a LOT of spinach seeing as how you started with a sinkFULL, but Ta-Da! this is the amazing magical disappearing spinach recipe. All that work for one tablespoon of cooked greens.
Normal dinner time: between 6 and 6:30pm.
Dinner last night: sometime before midnight.
I have to say the whole thing turned out to be delicious. No idea if Pi liked it because she ate at a friend’s house and wasn’t hungry when she got home.
And I didn’t burn any pots, so that’s a plus.
Eat your spinach, kiddo. It will help you stay big and strong.