My dad insists the person who was the inspiration for Popeye was a distant cousin of ours. Yep, my mom's side is related to a Mayflower passenger and Revolutionary leaders and my dad's side is related to Popeye.
I haven't researched my dad's claim, but my husband believes him and frequently complains about how “freakishly strong” I am. I think my husband's inner “shining knight” wishes that I had an inner “damsel in distress” that I could tap in to. I don't. Which is a good thing because usually when I think I need my husband's help, he is too busy saving the world to lend a hand.
My husband also describes me as “deceptively strong” because I look like a round farm-wife who will wrap you up in a hug and force feed you homemade cake. And I do those things, but I also think nothing of unloading and stacking several tons of hay.
Parents often try to get their children to eat spinach by telling them it will make them strong like Popeye, but it did not work for my parents. My strength had to come from my genes, because it certainly didn't come from spinach. I hated canned spinach growing up and am thankful my mother used paper napkins because most of my spinach found its way to the trash via a napkin.
The first time I tried fresh, raw spinach was a life altering experience. I fell in love with raw spinach and began adding it to all of my salads. Then I started adding it to soups and learned to enjoy it slightly wilted, but I still avoided it as a side dish. When I was researching techniques for cooking spinach to fill my Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms, I was turned off by the recipes I saw because they used frozen spinach which can go from wilted to slimy in mere seconds. So I decided to work with fresh spinach, which was also a very frugal decision as I have it growing in my garden. I liked the way the cooked spinach turned out so much that I had to show restraint when sampling it to make sure I had enough to stuff the mushrooms.
The next day I decided to tackle my childhood fears and make Creamed Spinach using fresh spinach. Since my oldest son cannot eat dairy, I made a dairy-free version. I thought it was wonderful and made a meal of it. Just a warning, creamed spinach isn't exactly a “stick to your ribs” meal. It should probably be served as a side dish or you can do like I did and put some on top of a piece of bread, top with cheese and place it in the toaster oven until the cheese melts:
- 2 tablespoons dairy-free margarine
- 1 cup diced onion
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pounds spinach, shredded
- ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup vegetable broth (how to make vegetable broth)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Place margarine, onions, and garlic in a large frying pan. Saute until the onions are translucent.
- In a small bowl, combine vegetable broth and corn starch.
- Add spinach, spices, and vegetable broth. cook over medium flame until the broth thickens and spinach is wilted. Approximately 3 - 4 minutes.
More Recipes Using Spinach:
This recipe has been shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.