Category Archives: Vegetable Side

Baked Beans

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Very few things complete a hot dog and hamburger cook out like baked beans.  Which, to me, is odd.  I mean, it’s clearly hot outside.  Nearly all the other sides are cold, like coleslaw, potato salad, lettuce based salads, sliced fruit, etc.  Drinks like beer, soda, margaritas, and mojitos are cold.  And inevitably there will be baked beans somewhere on the table spread.  The beans are baked in a supremely sugary and molasses infused sauce for a fairly long time, given their small size. How does that fit with coleslaw and potato salad?  It’s like “which of these things do not belong here”.  Yet, it does.  And great beans can be sublime.  Sweet, smokey, salty all in one bite. Try to top that potato salad!!

Boston Baked Beans are the quintessential historical bean dish.  The beans used for this dish were indigenous to the North American and transported to the “old world” in the 16th century. French Cassoulet was developed quickly there after.   In the colonies, the beans were cooked with salt pork, molasses, sugar and water.  The beans were baked for many hours in an earthen pot. “Beantown” (aka Boston) was aptly named due to the popularity of “Boston Baked Beans”.

Now?  Pop open a can and warm it up in a sauce pan.  Done.  “Baked beans”.    And why not?  Who wants to have a hot oven going for hours during the summer?   Who wants to soak beans for hours on end (if you can remember to, I forget that step and have to do the “quick soak”)? I care!!

There are many variations of doctored canned baked beans.  But, no matter how much you doctor a recipe for baked beans, the earthiness seems to get lost to a wan can taste.  I think it has something to do with the sauce in the beans.  It lacks spice.  Oomph.  Body.  My mom has a recipe that she got from somewhere called “Braggin’ Baked Beans”.  This recipe is the best of the doctored bean recipes I have tasted. I’ve tried making traditional baked beans. No one really likes those anymore. I’ve tried and tried. So, I decided to do a hybrid. My recipe combines historical ingredients with decidedly newer ingredients.  I wanted to add spice to the sweetness.  I wanted bold flavors in what could otherwise be a blandish dish. Also, I try to avoid BPA and bean cans and baked bean cans can contain a lining that uses BPA. BPA is a chemical that is suspected of causing hormone disruption in humans. I have two small humans and don’t want their hormones disrupted at all. By substituting plain beans for baked beans, I can use beans from manufacturers that avoid BPA.

Baked Beans

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound chorizo sausage, removed from its casing (or any other hot pork sausage)
1 large Vidalia Onion, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
2 cans of navy beans, rinsed and drained (about 15-16 ounces, can sizes tend to vary)
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained (about 15-16 ounces, can sizes can vary)
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup course grained mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Salt and pepper
4 thick slab slices of bacon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Heat the oil in a dutch oven (I used my handy 5 quart) over medium heat. Cook the sausage, onion, and jalapeño pepper, until the sausage is cooked through. If there is a lot of liquid, drain. If not, add the beans, ketchup, molasses, mustard, chili powder, and brown sugar. Stir until well combined. Adjust seasonings, as needed, with salt and pepper. Place bacon on top. Bake covered for 30 minutes and uncovered until desired thickness (30 minutes or so). As you can see above, I like a really thick sauce, you can certainly leave it thinner with no loss of taste.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Broccoli Au Gratin

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I started this blog, I had no idea there was food that was nearly impossible to photograph looking good. Coq au vin, Creamed Spinach and Ropa Vieja quickly taught me this lesson. The photos aren’t great. They don’t make it on Foodgawker or Tastespotting. They just aren’t pretty. They are fantastic to eat. Amazing, really. But, comparing a picture of Ropa Vieja and, say, a beautiful chocolate chip cookie, I can tell you which one will look better.

I’ve read where other bloggers have promised not to make food that is hard to photograph. I have no such rules. My goal is good food that is easily made. The photos will try to capture my enthusiasm for the subject. I’m no photographer. If you’ve seen my photos at all, you’ve seen that. The best I can say is that I try. Really, really hard.

Broccoli Au Gratin. Broccoli baked in a creamy sauce with cheese. Admit it, it’s not going to look good. It will taste great, however.

My husband and I went on an awesome date night and chose to patronize a famous steakhouse restaurant. We had the creamed spinach and the broccoli au gratin for sides with our steak.   Why Broccoli Au Gratin?  Well, really, is there a bad “au gratin”? Something cooked in a creamy sauce topped with a cheese topping? Very few things wouldn’t improve under such conditions!!

So, I wanted to try to make the dish when I got home because it was really good!  Plus, we eat broccoli three to four times a week. Steamed, with some butter, salt and pepper. Three.  Times.  A.  Week.  This would certainly shake that routine up!!

Au Gratin is a French term that translates into the words “to scrape or grate”, likely a reference to the cheese or bread use as a topping for the dish. I believe the New Orleans chefs like Emeril have elevated these creamy dishes with the addition of heat. Cream and cayenne are just made for each other. The heaviness seems to abate a touch when you add unexpected flavors.

This dish is derived in part from Emeril Lagasse’s Broccoli and Cauliflower Au Gratin’s Recipe ( http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/broccoli-and-cauliflower-au-gratin-recipe/index.html)

Broccoli Au Gratin
Serves 6-8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50-60 minutes

1 cup water
2 16 ounce bags of broccoli florets
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt (may need more based on tasting and preference)
4 cups of whole milk (may need more, depending on thickness of sauce)
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese (or a cheddar cheese/monterey jack mixture), divided

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Boil water in medium sauce pan. Add broccoli. Cook until just thawed. You may need to stir several times.  Remove from heat, drain well and set aside. Place in a baking dish (at least 3 quarts).

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add flour to the melted butter and whisk until the raw flour taste is cooked out, about 4 minutes.  The mixture will be a blonde roux. Do not let the mixture brown or the creamy mixture will be the “wrong” color. Whisk in paprika, mustard, peppers and salt. Add milk and stir with a wooden spoon. As the mixture heats and the flour and butter mixture is incorporated with the milk, the milk will thicken. The mixture should be fairly thick, but not too tight. You should be able to stir it.  If the mixture is just too thick, slowly add milk, stir and heat for a bit and repeat that until you get the mixture to the right consistency. Add three quarters of the cheese and stir until melted.

Poor the milk mixture over the broccoli and fold the cream sauce into the broccoli so that the mixture is completely incorporated throughout the baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese, adding more if necessary. Bake until the top is browned and the sides bubble, about 30 minutes.  Let sit for about 15 minutes before serving.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Blonde Roux

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thick, but not too thick….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cuban Black Beans and “Rice”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The three things I miss the most on a low carb diet are bread, pasta and rice. And sugar. And ice cream. Ok, I miss a lot. But when serving the Ropa Vieja, I knew I had to come up with a “rice” like dish. Ropa Vieja with a side of asparagus just, well, sounded so unappealing. So, I researched “rice” dishes.

Cauliflower seems the go to vegetable for starch substitutes. And why not? It’s white, low glycemic, low carb and high fiber. It’s fairly neutral tasting, has some texture, and takes well to other flavors. But when I saw recipes with directions that began with “grate the cauliflower”, I’m out.

Just no.

I’ll grate nutmeg and that’s about it. I have better things to do with my time than to grate a head of cauliflower. But the interesting part to me was that these recipes steamed the bits of cauliflower. Why is that interesting? Well, there were lots of tips included in these recipes to dry the cauliflower bits out. So, the steaming made the vegetable to wet. Go figure.

So, I roasted it. Why? Because if moisture is a problem, that’s a problem oven heat can fix. Two, there’s something very appealing about the slightly charred, nutty, roasted taste of vegetables. Three. You stick it in the oven, jostle the pan a bit during the cooking time, and the veggies are cooked. Just chop finely and you have “rice”. I’m all about simple and easy cooking methods.

My daughter came home from school one day with a recipe for pinto beans. She copied it down from her workbook over the course of a few days to “sneak” it home because she thought it sounded good. How cute is that?!? I told her I was making this dish and she ran and brought me her purloined recipe. So, I used parts of that recipe to make the dish. She was so thrilled she actually ate it! As an extra bonus, I told my husband I was making a black bean and rice dish and asked if he would sample it. He grabbed the offered spoon, ate it and said it was great! I replied, “Really? You were tricked by the cauliflower?” His eyes flew open and he went to the dish and shrugged and said, “I guess so!”

Put this dish in the rotation!!

So, here you go. A lower carb version of Cuban Black Beans and Rice.

Cuban Black Beans and Rice
Serves 4-5

“Rice”
1 head of cauliflower
1/4 olive oil (or any neutral oil)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of pepper

Black Beans

1/4 cup of olive oil
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 jalapeño pepper, minced
1 medium onion, small dice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil (as needed)
Salt and Pepper

“Rice”

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

Separate the florets from the stalk of the cauliflower. Place florets on a baking sheet and coat with oil, salt and pepper. Place sheet in oven. During roasting, flip florets occasionally to prevent over browning. Roast until florets are tender and slightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and when you can handle them, chop finely until the pieces are about the size of rice. Set aside.

Black beans

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When heated, add the peppers and onion. When the onion is translucent, add the garlic. As the garlic softens, add the cumin and the paprika, stir well. Add the black beans and the “rice”. Mix thoroughly. Taste the mixture, if the mixture is too dry, add the olive oil until the texture is appropriate. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

DIY- Coleslaw

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Coleslaw, as we know it in all of its creamy goodness is a mid 18th century invention, as this is when mayonnaise was invented.  Fannie Farmer recommends coleslaw in her cookbook Food and Cookery for the Sick and Convalescent (1904).  The recipe was simple:  select a heavy cabbage, remove the tough outer leaves, quarter the cabbage, slice thinly, soak in cold water, drain, dry and mix with cream salad dressing.  James Beard devotes nearly 4 whole pages to various coleslaw recipes in his American Cookery.  Now?  Coleslaw is relegated to a plastic container on a shelf surrounded by other picnic salads.  So, so sad.

What barbecue feast would be complete without this accompaniment? It’s simultaneously cool, crunchy, creamy, sweet and sour. It hits all the high notes of summer outdoor eating fare. Most people just pick up a tub from the deli or supermarket. But why? Why?!?!

Walk away from the deli counter. Go over to the vegetable section of the store. I believe it’s called the “produce” section. I have always wondered why. Anyway, grab a nice looking head of cabbage. Splurge on a carrot or two. Want more crunch? Add celery. Want more color? Add red cabbage (I didn’t in the recipe below, but you totally could). You are now three ingredients away from coleslaw and you likely have the other three ingredients at home: Italian Dressing, mayonnaise, and sugar. Slice the cabbage and celery, peel the carrots and mix. Done. Coleslaw.

It’s that easy. And, I firmly believe what you make will taste better and be cheaper per pound than what you would buy at the deli counter! Again, it’s completely customizable. Want onion? Add it. Want less mayo more vinegar? Add more dressing, less mayo. Like less dressing? Cut it down. Coleslaw, your way!!! No more buyer’s remorse on coleslaw. And the veggies will be crisp!! Not limp and, well, awful.

Coleslaw
Serves 4-6 people

1 head of cabbage
2 carrots, peeled into ribbons or strands
2 stalks of celery, sliced thin (optional)
1/2 cup of your favorite mayonnaise
1/4 cup of your favorite Italian dressing
1-2 tablespoons sugar (to taste)
Cracked pepper (optional)

Remove the tough outer leaves of the cabbage.  Quarter and slice thin.  If you would like really crisp cabbage, place in cold water and soak for 30 minutes or until crisp.

Put the cabbage, carrots and celery in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the mayonnaise and Italian dressing. Add one tablespoon of the sugar to the mayonnaise mix. Taste and adjust the ratio of mayonnaise to dressing as needed. Add the remaining sugar if needed. Pour the mayonnaise mixture into the cabbage mixture and combine. Add pepper, if desired. Refrigerate until needed. Take care not to refrigerate too long, as the cabbage will go limp.

One caveat, if you decide to use purple cabbage, mixing ahead will lead to a purple colored dressing. Leave it out of the mix until closer to serving time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Coq Au Vin

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One of my earliest cooking memories revolves around a very old set of cookbooks.  I want to say they were Time Life’s World Cookbooks or something like that.  These cookbooks seemed so much fancier than our trusty red and white checkered Better Homes and Gardens’ New Cookbook.  So, of course I poured over them more.  The red checked book seemed so, well, American.

The cookbooks were divided by country and there was an entire cookbook dedicated to French Cooking.  As a child who’s most exotic meals were tacos or spaghetti, these cookbooks seemed other worldly.    So, one night I asked my mom if we could make something out of the French cookbook… and I kept asking for a while until she finally relented.  The most exotic recipe to me (I was probably all of 8 or 9 years old) was Coq Au Vin.  Chicken in Red Wine.  To go with it, Chocolate Mousse.  I’d never had chocolate mousse, but had heard of it.  I had chocolate pudding, but was pretty sure mousse was somehow better. My parents were beer drinkers, so we got cooking wine for the red wine…  I know, stop laughing.  But this was the 70s and, well, we didn’t know.  Why would they sell it if it wasn’t good?

So, that was my first foray into French cooking:  making a recipe from Time Life with supermarket cooking wine.   We weren’t exactly well to do, and, at the time it was a fairly expensive meal.  So, my parents were very kind to indulge me.   For the record, the chocolate mousse was amazing.  To this day I remember that meal.  I was so proud to make it.  I felt truly grown up.

In the many years since then, cooking Coq Au Vin, made famous in the States by Julia Child, seems odd and quant.  Like a 70s fondue party.   I’m almost sheepish about telling people I eat this dish, much less make it.   This is another recipe like my 40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken that really should be in the rotation.  It deserves a spot in your repertoire!  While it is an old dish, and old dishes are not fussy.  There’s no crazy ingredient you’ll only use one and rue the rest of the time it’s in your pantry (looking at you walnut oil!).  The ingredients are fairly cheap and easy to come by, depending, of course, on the type of wine you use.

Coq Au Vin is normally made with a tough, old bird.  It’s rare to come across those nowadays, although my farmer’s market does have a great guy that sells “stewing hens”.  So, I use chicken thighs.  Today’s chicken breasts get woefully overcooked in this dish and can’t really stand up to the red wine.  You also don’t have to simmer the chicken as long, because the chicken isn’t really “old” anymore and becomes tender rather quickly.

I will admit to a cheat. Julia Childs starts this recipe off by rendering the fat off of carefully sliced lardons. As someone who is always looking to maximize my food use, I fastidiously save the bacon fat every time I cook bacon. So, I can skip the rendering step and shave about 20 minutes off the cook time.  If you don’t have bacon drippings, please render away!
Coq Au Vin
Serves 6

1/4 cup rendered bacon fat (may substitute any vegetable oil that can handle high heat, like canola)
6 chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, small dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups of red wine
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup of water or chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat bacon fat in an enameled dutch oven over medium high heat. Sprinkle chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place in the pan skin side down when fat sizzles on contact with chicken. Cook chicken until the skin is a golden brown and flip over. Cook the other side until golden as well. Remove the chicken to a platter and set aside.

Saute celery, carrots and onions until the celery is soft. Reduce heat to medium. Add the garlic, stirring to prevent it from burning. When the garlic becomes fragrant, add the red wine, bay leaves and dried thyme and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pan. If the wine does not almost cover the chicken, add the water or chicken stock. Otherwise, you can omit. Cover and place in the oven to finish cooking the chicken through, about 40 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pot, cover and set aside.  Combine flour and butter together.  Whisk into the red wine sauce and cook until slightly thickened and glossy.  Serve chicken with sauce.

Julia Child’s recommends serving this dish with braised mushrooms and brown braised onions. I made those by sautéing the onions in butter and adding quartered mushrooms and cooking them over medium heat for about 20 minutes. In the pictures, the vegetables in the back are roasted carrots and parsnips. I just heated the oven to 375, roughly chopped the vegetables, covered with oil olive and salt and pepper, and roasted for 20 minutes until browned. I shook the pan occasionally. All told, the dinner took about 90 minutes, but most of that was the chicken cooking in the oven, not active prep time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Onion and Wine Braised Chuck Roast

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ah, pot roast.  Few thinks provoke a rash of tears like me telling my kids we are having pot roast for dinner.  Actual tears.  “No, no pot roast!! Sob!”  My husband and I are completely stumped.  We eat it, it tastes really, really good.  They won’t touch it.

When I was a child, I remember the tears that pot roast bought to me, but my tears were different (GET OFF MY LAWN!!  Sorry, I feel compelled to say that when I sound like a old coot).  My mother made “pot roast”.  The roast went in a lovely shade of red and came out gray with a nice black bark on top.  She served it with gravy.  The gravy made is edible and helped the tough swallow factor.  That was pot roast.  Who wouldn’t cry?

One night, when I was in high school, I went to my friend’s house for dinner.  When Mrs. Gordon brought out her pot roast, it was moist and glistening with a wonderful pink center.  It was beefy tasting and really good.  You didn’t need gravy.  When I asked her what it was, she laughed and said “pot roast”.  No, it wasn’t.  Not the kind I knew.  I came home and told my mom that one could make pot roast that wasn’t gray.  I’m sure she appreciated that.  Anyway, she now does a much better pot roast.  The key is not only the “pot”, but the lid.

I’ve tried pot roast in a slow cooker and, while it’s close to being good, that’s about all I can say.  When you make it with a dutch oven, it’s just better.  Tough pieces of meat like chuck roast need long, moist cooking time.  When they get it, the results are silky, tender, and sublime.

Also, and I can’t really emphasize this enough, when you order your cow by the “half side”, you get lots of roasts.  Lots of them.  Sure you tell them “maximum ground beef”.  Doesn’t matter.  Roasts are plentiful.   Necessity is the mother of invention.  I couldn’t have a roast with potatoes, carrots and onions again.  Seriously, couldn’t.  So tired of it.  As I have to kid friendly a bunch of my meals, since they won’t eat the pot roast anyway, I went all out adult on this recipe.  Every non-kid friendly ingredient I used it.  Wine?  Check?  Lots and lots of onions?  Check.  Rosemary?  Check.  Hitting all the high marks!

Pot roast isn’t about measurements.  I’ll try my best, but if I say a 4 lb chuck roast and you have a 3 pound one, don’t sweat it.  This is definitely a “close enough” recipe.

Onion and Wine Braised Chuck Roast

2-3 tablespoons of high temperature cooking fat (lard, bacon drippings, vegetable oil, etc.)
1 chuck roast (3-4 pounds)
Salt and Pepper
4-5 medium onions, sliced in half rings
2 tablespoons garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups red wine (I used a cabernet sauvignon)
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a dutch oven (I used my trusty 5 quart), heat cooking fat over medium high heat until hot. Salt and pepper the roast and sear on both sides in the dutch oven until each side is browned. Remove and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium low. Place the onions in the dutch oven and stir. Salt and pepper the onions (I used around a teaspoon of each). Try to use the liquid of the onions to draw the lovely bits of brown seared roast off the bottom of the pan. Caramelize the onions, or wilt them until they turn a light brown. This will take a long time and require patience and semi-regular stirring. You may need to add more fat if you find that the onions are sticking. You also may need to turn down the heat if they are burning. Just as the onions are reaching the light brown stage, add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Cook for 2 minutes more. Add the tomato paste and cook until you can smell a slightly tomato-y smell (about a minute or so).

Add the red wine and stir well, and add the water. Simmer for a bit to get the ingredients married.  Return the roast to the pan. Cover and cook in the oven for 1 1/2-2 hours, or until the roast is tender.

I served this with sautéed brussels sprouts. I halved the brussels sprouts and sautéed in bacon grease until caramelized. Finished with salt and pepper. Awesomely good.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Creamed Spinach

Just writing the title made me shudder.  Gloppy creamed spinach, who wants that?  Well, to quote Alton Brown, it’s Good Eats.  Really.  If you make it yourself.  If you buy it out of a can or the freezer section, well, I can’t guarantee it so much.

Anytime I saw creamed spinach as a child, I refused to try it.  It sat on my plate all gloppy and greenish.  Hardly the stuff a kid wants to eat.  If I was made to eat it, it was just slime.   Now, I liked regular cooked spinach.  To this day love it.  Just the creamed part seemed to be the problem.  Then, my husband took me on a date to Morton’s.  He ordered creamed spinach as a side dish.   I tried it and it was divine.  Not gloppy or slimy.  But rather thick with a creamy, yet substantial mouthfeel.    I make this stuff at home and my 10 year old LOVES it.  Tells me he could “seriously eat this every day”.  My daughter, not so much.   This is a staple on our Christmas Eve dinner menu when the theme is “Steakhouse”.

I could tell you to buy pounds of fresh spinach and wilt it.  But I won’t.  That’s crazy.  Frozen chopped spinach is made for this recipe.  Buy an organic version if you are unhappy with the little retro frozen bricks in your grocery basket.

Creamed Spinach

2 10 ounce packages frozen, chopped spinach
water

4 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup of heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste

Put enough water to cover the bottom of a 4 quart sauce pan, place spinach in the pan and cover. Over medium heat, thaw the spinach. Once there are no frozen parts left to the spinach (the spinach will be hot in parts, so be careful), drain well. I use the pan lid to drain most of the water and then a bunch of paper towels to soak up the rest. Honestly, cleaning bits of spinach out of my strainer is just a no. Not gonna happen again. Strain if you want, but I warned you. Set aside.

In a second sauce pan, melt the butter. Sauté the onion, then the garlic. Once the onion and garlic are softened, add the flour. You want a nice, blonde roux. Sauté flour until the flour taste is gone. Don’t let the flour brown. Once the flour is sufficiently done, add the cream slowly. As the cream and flour meet over the heat, the mixture will thicken. Add the cream until you have a consistency that is slightly thicker than how you want the creamed spinach. You may need slightly more than 1 cup of cream to achieve this consistency. Let simmer for a minute or so and then add to the drained spinach. Stir until well incorporated. Add nutmeg and salt and pepper.

For big dinners, I make this a day ahead, keep in the fridge, reheat when needed. It’s actually better with a little wait time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Butter, onions and garlic sautéing. The smell is amazing!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Creamed spinach with roasted chicken.