There it was starting at me from across Richard's folding table at Saturday's market - two ziplock bags of fresh, leafy spinach. Spinach? "Seriously, Richard, am I wrong or are we not supposed to be seeing spinach again until January?" Even Richard readily admitted he never thought the seeds would grow, let alone produce. Who knew? Without asking the price, I greedily swiped his last two bags. "I'll take them both."
Now I don't know where the idea for today's One Local Summer Challenge meal came from. I mean, I've never seen any kind of recipe for something like this. But when I saw that spinach at the farmers market again this past weekend, all I could think of was cooked spinach over local white rice. "What?" you say. Yeah, I know. Maybe my brain just misfired, but let's see if we can make Popeye proud...
Setting a handful of washed leaves aside for this week's sandwiches, I allowed the rest to drain in the colander while I chopped up 1/2 an onion and 3 large mushrooms. Into the pan you go! A little olive oil and some heat, and within a few minutes I was catching the first scents of sauteed veggies, soon to be followed by handfuls of that beautiful spinach and just a touch of salt. Mmm. Smell that!
Now how about that rice? Although I have some local brown and mixed rice in the cabinet, I was in the mood for some of the local white rice from DiIorio's market, south of town. You know, the kind that sticks in yummy clumps if you cook it just right. What can I say, I'm not a fluffy kinda girl. Another 15 minutes and I was ready to sit down to a very simple, extraordinarily delicious meal. That was way too easy!
Unfortunately, I don't have enough for everyone, so you'll have to forgive me while I stuff my face as we talk. "Popeye, honey, cover your ears just a sec..." Is spinach supposed to be delicious? I used to give my mom dirty looks when she served us spinach. "What's with the nasty green stuff. What are we cows?" Yeah, so she got sneaky with us. She finally learned to hide spinach in pasta shells covered in tomato sauce and mozzarella. I hate to say it, but it worked. We ate it - unknowingly or there'd have been a serious riot and four angry kids isn't something I'd want to risk. Brave woman. Years later (ok, many years later), here I am groaning with delight with every taste. I guess I was just a dumb kid 'cause this spinach is some seriously good stuff! (Shhh. Don't tell Mom).
Revealing My Sources
The spinach and onion (and the olive oil too, actually, though it was harvested in Italy) came from our local farmers market; the mushrooms came from the grocery, but they are local (from about 40 miles from here); and the rice came from DiIorio Farm and Market (also about 40 miles from here).
For More Information
For more recipes and ideas on local meals, check out the One Local Summer Challenge website (hosted by Farm to Philly) and see what others are eating (weekly OLS posts are made to the Farm to Philly website on Tuesdays of each week).
If you're in the BCS area and are looking for local suppliers here in town, visit my post here, where I list sources for all kinds of goodies.
Happy (and mindful) eating!