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Posts Tagged ‘Spinach’

Sometimes you’re in the mood to impress everyone with a big show.  You’re willing to caramelize the onions, braise the roast, thinly slice the prosciutto, neatly fan the tomato slices, massage the chicken until it feels good and ready, sweet-talk the turnips until they’re almost there, and commit other forms of foodie foreplay, all in the name of a meal that makes a name for you.

But sometimes, you want to throw some stuff in a pot, heat it ’til it’s done, slosh it in a bowl, swig straight from the bottle, chuck a roll at your loved one’s face, and call it dinner.  You don’t care if it doesn’t make a name for you.  Hell, it could give you a reputation for all you care.

This recipe falls into that second category, and it deserves to be posted here because it will, despite your lack of emotional attachment and the damage inflicted by a day-old roll, earn you praise and adulation.  Or something.

Which naturally makes me think about the concept of “good enough.”  Naturally.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.”  Something about that phrase always bothered Bad Mama Genny, even when she was WBMG (Wee Bad Mama Genny).  There I sat with my BMGC’s (Bad Mama Genny Crayons) wondering if the BMGF (Bad Mama Genny Flower) I had drawn was “well” enough to please the proverbial taskmasters.

Oh, how many pursuits I would have dropped, how much fun I would have lost out on, if I’d waited alongside the well-behaved girls for everything to be perfect (risotto, for one).

The Boy and I ate this soup, enjoyed it thoroughly, and then, because we weren’t trying to be all exact about things, ended up with an extra hour to sit on the couch and cuddle while I massaged the dent that roll made in his head.  I wouldn’t have traded that extra hour for anything–not even a soup that would make my good name.

An interesting reputation is good enough for me.

Spinach Lentil Soup
Makes 4 main-dish servings

Go Get:
16 oz. package frozen, chopped spinach
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 cups broth or stock (any kind)
2 1/2 cups cooked lentils (Trader Joe’s has a great vacuum-sealed lentils pack that provides just that amount; canned beans will work, too)
2 generous pinches nutmeg
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil

Go Do:
In a Dutch Oven, heat the stock over medium-high heat until it’s about to boil. Add in all the other ingredients and stir well to incorporate. Turn the heat to medium-low and cover the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is cooked through and translucent. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
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There is a specific grief that afflicts your Bad Mama Genny…namely, that which occurs when a foodie learns that he or she may no longer be compatible with a favorite nommable.  When I started to suspect that the lactose molecule (it is a molecule, no?  someone enlighten me) was not as Gen-appropriate as formerly thought, I…well, I went through some shit.

First came denial (“Oh, that no dairy thing is such fluffernutter, see, look, I can eat a whole pint of ice cream and I’m just fi—OH GOD SOMEBODY STAB ME IN THE CHEST RIGHT NOW”).

Then came sadness (“This is the end of my life as a foodie. I’ll never cook again. Why bother going out to eat? Well, there goes my social life. I might as well end it all right now. Anybody have a citrus zester I can fall on?”).

Overreaction was common (“No, The Boy, I do NOT think my Cashew Cheddar ‘Cheeze’ turned out well, I think it sucks, it does not remind me of cheddar, it reminds me of rotten hummus, and I’ll thank YOU to stay out of it! Stop eating that this instant! It’s terrible and I forbid you to like it!”).

Anger was a part of everyday life (“How could cream do this to me? ME?!  Bad Mama Genny loved it, cared for it, played with it all the time, put it in a bonnet and took it for walks around the neighborhood…sure, the other mothers stared, but cream was always the most beautiful baby to me—they didn’t understand our love!”).

But soon (okay, maybe not so soon, but for the sake of flow, let’s say soon), SOON, I reached the magical land of acceptance. Acceptance is not something that comes to those who wait. It is something that comes to those who bitch and moan and then refuse to live a life without spinach artichoke dip.

But allow me to depart for a moment from this me, me, me thing, and mention that I did not bring on this enlightened thinking all on my own. Rice milk, almond milk, nutritional yeast (or “nooch”), and tomes of online recipes were my friends as I slowly started to put my life back together.

Mostly, though, I’m brilliant. And that is how this recipe for Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip was born.  Out of my brilliance.  You’re welcome.

Lactose-Free Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Go Get:

8 oz. package Non-Dairy Cream Cheese (i.e. Tofutti or Soya-Kaas–I find mine at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods)

1 11 oz. (approximately) jar marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped

10 oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed as dry as you can get it

1/2 cup mayonnaise (REAL mayonnaise–nothing low-fat, as they’re just so processed and frequently have lactose added for stability)

1/4 cup parmesan or vegan parmesan (most cheeses, especially aged ones, have little to no lactose remaining, but use soy if you’re having fear feelings)

2 large garlic cloves

2 teaspoons dried basil (or 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil)

1/2 tsp. salt

approx. 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella OR soy mozzarella

Go Do:

Preheat oven to 375, and lightly oil a baking dish.  Combine all the ingredients except for the mozzarella in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until combined and creamy.  Spoon it into the prepared baking dish and top it with the shredded “mozzarella.”  Bake it until it’s bubbling and the cheese on top is golden–maybe 20, 25 minutes.  Serve with diced tomatoes and tortilla chips, pita chips, sliced veggies, crackers, or wedges of toasted rustic bread.  (Note—it’s also possible to skip baking this dip and just mix all the ingredients in a crockpot set on high until the dip is hot, and then lowered to the warm/lowest setting.  Voila—now it’s ready to party, just like your BMG!  Invite me, bitches.)

     

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