As a child I hated spinach. My mom prepared that god awful frozen spinach that was a bunch of muck. I never even realized how delicious spinach was until baby spinach was the 'cool' thing to do. Yes, certain vegetables are cooler than others, ('90210' just made kale cool, @ 4:30).
I decided to make ieatfood.net's Chinese New Year celebration meal, consisting of vegetable TVP postickers and a Tofu and Spinach soup. As a child, one thing I did love was potstickers. Well, I didn't just love them, they were the only food I'd eat at any chinese restaurant. You can imagine when I went vegetarian I began to miss my favorite little treat. I thought it would be fun to recreate the buggers. I had a bit of a problem reconstituting my TVP, it was the first time I had ever cooked with it and did not really realize how much it would expand. The TVP bubbled over the bowl in the microwave and I had a gigantic mess to clean. The TVP that stayed in the bowl was used for the mixture of veggies for the potsticker filling. I didn't have most of the vegetables that were used so I made my own mixture of onion, carrot, and kale. The dough was so easy to make and really quick, I was surprised and happy. I have a feeling the wrappers would have cost a TON more pre-made. After the filling had set-up a bit in the fridge, I started to package my potstickers. Since I used chopped up kale, I had a lot of moisture to deal with. I had a hard time getting my dough to stick. I ended up having to first put some filling on the dough, fold it over and let it dry out a bit before I could pinch the edges shut. No matter how ugly some of the postickers were, they cooked beautifully. While the potstickers were browning, I started on making the soup. I just used frozen spinach, tofu, scallions, broth, sriracha, and soy sauce. It was perfectly seasoned with just enough crunch from the scallions to add some nice texture. I also prepared a little dipping sauce of soy, sriracha, and crushed red pepper. This was the most fun meal I had created in awhile and I enjoyed every bite of it. The potstickers brought me back to my childhood and really reflected closlely on what I remembered and enjoyed. The addition of the kale to the filling really was perfect. I had so much filling left-over that I browned it the next day and created a filling for some sort of a burrito. I cannot wait to make these again.
I had only used half of the package of frozen spinach with the first soup so I had to find some recipe to use up the last bit. Using my lovely, google reader I searched 'frozen spinach' and viola Recipe Garden had a lovely, quick, and easy recipe using frozen spinach. I had a big exam two days later so I needed a meal that would be done in seconds. And with a name like 'Easy Noodle Bowl,' it couldn't be beat. The recipe called for rice noodles, frozen spinach, a carrot, and peas. I had all of the ingredients on hand, but instead of peas I used edamame and I added tofu. The soup was ready in minutes (literally) and was absolutely delicious with the warmth of red crushed pepers, veggie broth, and a little tamari. I ate up a huge portion in one of my favorite bowls.
It is a bowl that I created at one of those painting shops. I had visited the shop while I was in Palm Desert in the moutains of Idlewild. The sad thing was I had been there a few years earlier and my guaranteed shipment of an over-sized mug (which I might add was GORGEOUS) broke... The shop keeper was hesitant to believe me, but he ended up letting me get my bowl for free and pick any premium paints. I didn't want to be greedy, so I picked only one premium. And that is what I used to paint the interior. The paint has speckled rocks that when in the kiln popped open to create those awesome patterns. The outside is a pale green.
I adored the soup and had the leftover portion the next night. I ate almost two cups worth when I noticed something floating in my soup. Turns out it was a worm. Yes...a worm. I freaked. I think it was a spinach worm, as it was tinted green. I know edamame would not have that sort of worm, and it is more likely to be from the darn package of frozen spinach. I was too freaked out to eat any more of the soup and think I will stay away from frozen spinach for a long long time.
That being said, I know that there will be tons of bugs and 'defects' in my food. Just read the FDAs laws on defects and you will never want to eat again. I tried to share with my mom a few of the examples and was stopped immediately. She said "I know, but I want to pretend I don't know...' This lovely guide will tell you the max level of 'defects' allowed in processed foods. Insects, rodent droppings/hairs, maggots, are all among the deliciousness allowed in our food. Another reason why one should WANT to eat whole, unprocessed foods. bluergh