Saturday, January 15, 2011

Spinach Tart

Today I am giving you a recipe for something I didn't cook, but it was so good that I had to get the recipe from my friend Janneke in Den Haag and pass it on to you. I went to do some consultations in the Netherlands and although I love to cook almost all the time, I was having one of those nights where I was even too tired to go out to eat. So, Janneke made me one of her special dishes. It was like a quiche, but not as rich and the wonderful spinach filling and the pine nut garnish was so nourishing that my tired body felt instantly better. The frozen puff pastry dough and frozen chopped spinach made it a really fast meal too!

It was only lightly seasoned and delicious that way, although it could very easily be adapted to Indian flavors if you added spices like turmeric, cumin, ginger, garlic and chilis. Or, you could add feta cheese, leeks, mint and dill and it would become a Spanakopita Pie. Or you could use lots of garlic and olive oil and red pepper with Parmesan Cheese to give it a Mediterranean taste. My imagination keeps going off in rifts thinking about making it taste more like creamed spinach with a Bechamel Sauce, Gruyere Cheese and nutmeg. Or, any number of cheeses could be added like Blue Cheese or even Soy Cheese instead of the Goat Milk and Goat Cheese that Janneke used. I even had an idea about adding mushrooms and using sunflower seeds on top. I think it would make a fabulous buffet or potluck food as it is just as good cold as it is hot. In fact, I loved it so much that I had it the next morning for breakfast! You have to try it if you like spinach....

Spinach Tart

1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 packages of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 onion, finely minced
2 Tablespoons butter
3 eggs
1 cup of milk - Goat Milk, Regular Milk or unflavored Soy Milk
1 cup of grated cheese of your choice - Goat Cheddar in this case
1/2 cup or more Pine Nuts or other nut of your choice
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take puff pastry and line the inside of a 7 x 11 inch rectangular pan or a 9 x 9 inch square pan. Press seams together and trim any pastry that overhangs the side but keep it high on the sides.

In a frying pan on medium heat, melt butter and add onions. Cook until soft and translucent. Add spinach and season with salt and pepper to taste - it needs more than you think! Cook until spinach is just heated through. Put aside and let cool slightly

In a separate bowl, beat eggs and milk together. Then place spinach on top of the puff pastry, smoothing it on top. Pour over milk and egg mixture. Top with grated cheese and sprinkle with Pine Nuts. Turn over Puff Pastry above the filling and crimp slightly for a more decorative look. Bake until Puff Pastry is golden brown - about 25 - 35 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

Five Element Analysis

Anything green belongs to the Wood Element and the Spinach in this dish brings in lots of the Wood Element as does the wheat flour in the puff pastry. The eggs and Pine Nuts add the Water Element and the milk and cheese contribute the Metal Element. Fire is missing so adding some chilis would help or serving it with something spicy or with a Fiery drink like a cup of tea or a glass of wine would work too. Earth is also missing so a lovely fruit dessert would balance out the meal.

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