Thursday, December 20, 2012

Eat Your Veggies: Spiced Spinach

 “Tomorrow, I’m going to eat more vegetables.”

“Eat Your Veggies” is a pseudo-weekly series featuring seasonal, delicious vegetable recipes.

Winter is upon us, which means I have to cheat a little with the “seasonal” aspect of eat your veggies.  In the Pacific Northwest, very little grows over winter. Our farmers markets close up, the CSAs either stop or switch to imported produce, and the little “Washington Grown” tags are scarce in the produce department. Our choices are to either spend the winter subsisting on local potatoes and apples, or switch to imported foods.  

Onions and garlic last all winter!
A few solutions:
  • Eat things you’d buy imported anyway, like tropical fruits.
  • Citrus and avocado are actually better in winter, and in the PNW, they’re always imported anyway.
  • What’s on sale at the supermarket? If its on sale, it is likely in season somewhere relatively nearby.  In the PNW, “relatively nearby” means California.
  • Things that are still relatively in season: cabbage, kale, root vegetables.
  • Buy frozen produce.  It’s usually packaged in season, when there’s a surplus.
  • Freeze or can your own local produce during the spring, summer and fall.  Most things can be frozen with the right preparation. This is the most desirable solution, but requires forethought.

I’ll try to focus on recipes that highlight some of these strategies in the future.  For this week, I bought some spinach that was on sale.  It had a code on the package that allowed me to use to see that it was grown in either Southern California or Arizona, and was harvested about 7 days prior to when I purchased it. Not too shabby, for winter!

I ate this with hot sauce and an egg fried in a tortilla.
Spiced Spinach

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
1 very small onion, finely chopped (about ⅓ cup chopped)
2 fat cloves of garlic, minced
⅛ tsp ground cumin
⅛ tsp powdered mustard
⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
3 cups loosely packed baby spinach

Melt coconut oil over medium heat in a saute pan.  Add onion and spices and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until onion is soft.  Add garlic, saute 1 minute more.  
Add spinach to pan.  Stir and cook for about 30 seconds, then cover the pan, remove from heat, and allow spinach to steam for about 3-4 minutes or until wilted.

Recipe Source: Inspired by the flavors in this recipe by Heidi at

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