Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Moss

A few weeks ago our neighbor helped our youngest daughter made a rock garden with chunks of moss, granite and twigs.  It has been sitting as a centerpiece on our table for Lent and also lent (no pun intended) some inspiration to this dish.   
What is more vernal than green eggs on the first day of spring?  The first time I made green eggs it was a recipe from the Good Housekeeping cookbook for a spinach roulade.  It is delicious but has a mushroom filling that only works for mushroom lovers.  The thing I gleaned from that recipe is that you can puree your eggs, milk and spinach so that there is no picking out of the green stuff because it is all green stuff and it is delicious!  One night I made steamed asparagus and only some of the kids ate it.  The next night I sautéed spinach and garlic and again only a few of the kids ate it.  Later that week I made a quiche with the leftover asparagus and spinach but they were completely pulverized!  Everyone ate it and asked for seconds.  I will be eternally thankful that my neighbor in Philadelphia gave me her Kitchen Aid immersion blender.  Once I realized the joy of pulverizing I borrowed it so many times that she finally said I could keep it.   (Thanks, Roxanna.  It has served us well and is still going strong about 4 years later.)
My recipe for green eggs is also inspired by coucou, a Persian dish that is a lot like a frittata that my friend Nacim taught me to make in college.  Persians celebrate Naw Ruz, the new year on the first day of spring.  I have fond memories of her family welcoming me into those celebrations and I still want to celebrate when spring arrives.   The way her family makes coucou you need a lot of fresh parsley and zero dairy.  You also cook it on the stove over very low heat and have to watch it carefully—not what this busy, milk loving mom is going for.
So, with gratitude to God for giving us friends and neighbors old and new and to the bright green moss and bursting forth of spring here is my recipe for

Spring Moss    
This recipe takes about 30-40 minutes total
Preheat oven to  400
Defrost one box of frozen chopped spinach ( It will defrost pretty quickly if you put it in a plastic bag and soak it in a bowl of hot water)
Crack seven eggs in a big bowl with the spinach (if you don’t have an immersion blender than do all of this in a blender or food processor)
Add a cup of milk
Put in a nice hearty pinch of dry dill (maybe a tablespoon?)
Add 2 heaping tablespoons of sour cream (maybe a ¼-1/3 cup?)
About a Tablespoon of finely chopped garlic
½ teaspoon of salt
Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth
Put a nice glug of olive oil on the bottom of a cast iron skillet enough to coat the bottom and sides nicely.  Heat the pan and pour the blended mixture in immediately after blending.
Then pop it in the oven until it gets puffy on top
( I made sweet potato and white potato fries as a side dish.  Chop those up and toss with oil and salt and rosemary and put in the oven before you make the egg dish)
When it gets puffy take it out of the oven and loosen the sides all around.  Now, here comes the trickery:  (You can skip all of this and just bake it in the pan until it is done.)  Or you can put a plate over it, flip it put it back in the pan upside down, return it to the oven for a few minutes to finish baking and then flip it back on to the plate to have that mossy look on the plate.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t come out in one perfect piece.  Have you ever looked at a clump of earth lately?  It is pretty lopsided.  But, if that feels like too much fuss you can just serve it from the pan. 
Enjoy!  (And pass the ketchup for your picky eaters, it worked for us!)