A white sailor suite, hugely disproportioned forearm muscles with anchor tattoos, one squinty eye and a pipe that both toots and steams. Forever willing to fight for his girl’s love, and always reaching for his magic weapon: a can of spinach. No last name needed, just Popeye. Akak akak akak akak akak akak akak!
How many of you think of Popeye when you see spinach? I haven’t thought about Popeye in a very long time. Then, suddenly, yesterday I couldn’t get him out of my mind. Maybe it was my body’s way of telling me, I needed to eats me spinach.
Popeye was a cartoon I really loved to watch when I was a kid. (It’s actually playing in the background right now.) I never minded that this cartoon didn’t look like the other modern ones of my childhood. Popeye was retro-cool.
Long and lanky, dark haired, a long sleeved red shirt and long black skirt, small breasted and big-footed. When I sat in front of the television I couldn’t wait for Popeye’s love interest, Olive Oyl, to appear. I am short, thin, dark haired, small footed, hourglass shaped yet small breasted, but I always felt that I could relate to her. Olive Oyl taught me that I could be a bit awkward and that I didn’t need to be blond nor big breasted to make it in the world. She was the opposite of the stereotype beauty and she always received plenty of attention.
I used to love to watch Popeye do everything in his power to win back and save Olive Oyl. It always involved that can of spinach giving him superhuman powers, which made it possible to defeat his nemesis Bluto. The cartoon made me curious about spinach, I too wanted superhuman powers. Apparently I was not alone in my curiosity. Time and time again studies have revealed that the Popeye cartoon has aided the sales of spinach. But it doesn’t end there, experts have found that children who regularly watch this cartoon double their vegetable intake. Parents remember that next time your child won’t eat their veggies.
Spinach is one of my favourite vegetables. It is so versatile and I love it in just about any form. Garlicky and creamy is pretty high on my list of favourite ways to cook and eat spinach. In this form it can be served over rice and polenta, or on the side of any type of meat and fish entree. You can use fresh or any type of frozen spinach to create this creamy vegetable. Today I want to share with you my basic recipe for garlic-creamed spinach using frozen chopped spinach cubes. Please check the “Notes” section in the recipe for instructions using fresh leaves and other frozen spinach options. It doesn’t matter what type of spinach you are using because they all work well and taste great too.
(Please make sure to read through the whole recipe and notes section before beginning.)
- 325 grams or 11.4 oz frozen chopped spinach*, thawed out and all liquid squeezed out
- 1-2 tbsp unsalted butter or olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- half to 1 tsp of fine sea salt, adjust to taste
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, adjust to taste
- ⅓ cup or 80 ml cream (a high-fat cream), to start with and may need less or more
- Thaw out the frozen spinach completely. Drain and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. Heat a small pan and melt the butter, next add the minced garlic and sauté for 2 minute or until soft. It is very important not to burn the garlic because, if burned, it will give off a bitter taste. Next add the thawed and drained spinach to the pan, sprinkle in the sea salt and ground black pepper. Give the ingredients a good stir. Allow to cook for about 4 minutes or until any extra liquid has cooked off. Next pour in the cream, stir to well combine, allow to simmer for a few minutes, anywhere from 4-8. Now comes the part where you need to make it your own. You need to decide how liquidy, or creamy, you want the spinach to be and for what you will use it for. If this amount of cream is too wet for you then simmer until enough liquid has evaporated to reach your desired consistency, or use less cream. If you would like the spinach to be more liquidy, then little by little pour in more of the cream until you reached the desired consistency. If I’m serving the spinach over rice then I’ll leave it more liquidy, for polenta I tend to use much less cream for a drier spinach. If I’m serving it alongside steak then I’ll cook off or use less cream.
— Another trick you can use to make thicker creamed spinach is to use flour as a thickener. One tablespoon of flour is added to melted butter and cooked garlic, then stir half of the cream until a smooth sauce is formed. Next add the spinach and cook for about a few minutes. Lastly, add the remaining (or little by little) cream until you have the desired consistency.
— Some people also like to add a pinch of ground nutmeg to the spinach, this yields a slightly different tasting dish. Another ingredient that can be added is onion, just sauté it in the butter before adding in the garlic and rest of ingredients.
I know adding cream makes the dish higher in calories, but it’s okay to be bad sometimes. Besides we’re still ingesting spinach, which is really good for our bodies.
Have a great weekend everyone, who knows you might actually be able to squeeze in some Popeye cartoons.